Saturday, May 02, 2015

WGC Match-play breakdown: Who plays whom in round of the last 16

SAN FRANCISCO – Here’s a look at how the Round of 16 matches of the Cadillac World Match-play championship might go Saturday morning (all times local) at TPC Hard Park. (Official World Ranking in parenthesis)
Match 1, 9:50 a.m.: Marc Leishman (60) vs. Gary Woodland (52)
Prediction: Woodland, 3 and 1. He advanced through what arguably was the toughest group (Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson, Ian Poulter) and is putting well to go along with the advantage he has in distance.
Match 2, 10:02 a.m.: John Senden (65) vs. Hunter Mahan (32)
Prediction: Mahan, 3 and 2. Mahan is on a nice roll, is making birdies and has been a real force at this event through the years.
Match 3, 10:14 a.m.: Branden Grace (39) vs. Tommy Fleetwood (57)
Prediction: Grace, 19 holes. Both players rose from opening-day defeats to make it to the weekend, but the edge goes to Grace, who has a little bit more experience.
Match 4, 10:26 a.m.: Lee Westwood (27) vs. Danny Willett (49)
Prediction: Willett, 3 and 2. Loved Westwood’s fire in taking down young Jordan Spieth, but he’ll have his hands full with Willett, who, outside of one rough patch Friday, has made very few mistakes at Harding Park.
Match 5, 10:38 a.m.: Jim Furyk (5) vs. J.B. Holmes (12)
Prediction: Holmes, 2 up. Furyk is riding high off winning again and posted a nice 20-hole victory over Martin Kaymer on Friday, but Holmes should have a big edge given how long he hits it, especially at a place where the ball isn’t flying very far.
Match 6,10:50 a.m.: Louis Oosthuizen (30) vs. Rickie Fowler (13)
Prediction: Fowler, 1 up. Could be the best match on the docket (along with McIlroy-Matsuyama). Oosthuizen is swinging it beautifully, but Fowler has a lot of confidence going with the putter right now, and that makes him dangerous.
Match 7, 11:02 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel (38) vs. Paul Casey (37)
Prediction: Casey, 3 and 2. On paper, the most even match of the morning, as these two sit next to one another on the World Ranking. Casey quietly has been building his game back up, and though he says it’s not quite there yet, a victory over Schwartzel will help move it along.
Match 8, 11:14 a.m.: Rory McIlroy (1) vs. Hideki Matsuyama (16)
Prediction: McIlroy, 4 and 3. Making the quarters won’t help him get to the Mayweather fight, but McIlroy survived his close call (Billy Horschel) and now will be more aggressive. Matsuyama has played well, but has yet to be tested. One thing McIlroy needs: an early lead. Nobody has played the back nine as well as Matsuyama (he’s 12 under par through 19 holes on the back). 




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