From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Five first round Accenture bets to bank on

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Like most of you, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opening round of this week’s Accenture World Match Play — an event I think adds a little bit of spice to the tour schedule. While you can almost always go to your local wagering establishment and throw down some coin on a head-to-head matchup at a regular tour event, this week allows us to picks guys that are actually going heads up in match play format.

As you already, know the stakes are a little bit higher when you have to think about where you stand with your opponent. I found five opening matches I really like, so I figured with the frost delay holding things up by 30 minutes (what is it with frost in the desert during this time of year?), I’d take the time to throw them out there before the first shot is hit.

Rickier Fowler (-125) over Peter Hanson: Hanson has T2 and T13 finishes on his resume this year, but both starts were on the European Tour. Fowler finished in the top 15 at the Waste Management and, as we all know, has a knack for coming up big in match play (see: Ryder Cup, Walker Cup). I think Fowler’s in for a big week.

Geoff Ogilvy (-150) over Padraig Harrington: Another chalk pick, Ogilvy won the event back in 2009, and he’s been playing some solid golf of late, finish T21 last week at Riviera. I don’t think the finger is a probably anymore. Harrington’s one good start this season was stopped in its tracks after he was DQ’d in Abu Dhabi, and he hasn’t looked the same since. I think past success works in Ogilvy’s favor.

Ben Crane (-115) over Adam Scott: I’ve heard Adam Scott has been doing a lot of charity work in Australia recently, which is great to hear. But when you show up for an event like this one and you haven’t played a professional round since the Sony Open … well, that’s where I start to see an edge. Ben Crane has played three events this year, and has finished in the top 25 in every one of them. Plus, he can always slow the pace down a bit (if that’s even possible) and really frustrate Scott. I’m just sayin’…

Charley Hoffman (+160) over Luke Donald: Dove Mountain is a bombers course, meaning it should be right up Hoffman’s alley. One of the longer guys on tour, he has a tendency to be erratic off the time. But as we saw in last year’s FedEx Cup, he can also get it going. While he’s playing for a sixth straight week, I think he’s got enough left in the tank against Donald, who made the Northern Trust his first tour stop of the season.

Matteo Manassero (+160) over Steve Stricker: Stricker’s three starts this year consist of a T4, T9, T29, and yet I’m still going against one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour. Why? Call it a hunch, but I think the youngest players to ever tee it up at the WMP will give Stricker a great match. At 17, he’s going to be playing under immense pressure, but as we’ve seen before, Manassero seems to thrive in these situations. Plus, I always like to make one big underdog bet per round. The young Italian is my guy.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

02/23/2011 at 9:44 am

Posted in PGA Tour

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