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PGA Tour best bets: WGC Match Play

March 22, 2022 06:11 PM
USATSI_17629454

This week, the PGA Tour’s version of March Madness takes place in Austin, Texas, with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The top 64 players in the world rankings get a chance to participate in group play before the knockout stage commences in the Round of 16. Sam Burns, who won the Valspar Championship last week for the second consecutive year, will not compete in the Match Play. Burns, who won at a price of 25-1, moves to No. 10 in the OWGR courtesy of three victories in the last 12 months. Also sitting out this week are Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English and Phil Mickelson.

Every other player in the top 64 as of March 15, plus six alternates, are in Austin. World No. 1 Jon Rahm (14-1) was the only player seeded in the top 16 last year to make it to the Round of 16 before bowing out in the quarterfinals. Rahm finished runner-up here in 2017. Justin Thomas (14-1) made the semifinals in 2018. Viktor Hovland (18-1) went 1-2 in group play and did not advance in his first appearance last year. Collin Morikawa (20-1) failed to win a match last year in his first appearance. Scottie Scheffler (20-1) made a run to the championship match before losing to Billy Horschel (33-1). Scheffler defeated Rahm and some other heavyweights on his way to the final match. 

Burns' victory last week knocked 2017 champion Dustin Johnson (22-1) out of the OWGR top 10 for the first time in seven years. Patrick Cantlay (22-1) has not made it to the Round of 16 in three appearances but came close last year before losing to Brian Harman (66-1) in extra holes. Xander Schauffele (25-1) suffered the same fate as Cantlay last year when he was defeated by Scheffler in extra holes. The same goes for Daniel Berger (28-1), who had his first chance to reach the Round of 16 before losing in extra holes to Erik van Rooyen (125-1).

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