WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship-Picks & Previews-2nd round

Feb 19, 2014; Marana, AZ, USA; Ian Poulter on the green of the first hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

As always, the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship featured plenty of drama, late comebacks, and big upsets. The fact that a top-seed went down in the first round isn’t as surprising as if all four had gotten wins in their head-to-head matchups.

Hopefully, your brackets didn’t get too busted on day one, but there’s some more great golf to come from Dove Mountain regardless of how devastated our pre-tournament picks are. My final four survived the first day, but I did lose two of my elite eight.

Here are my picks and previews of today’s 16 matches:

Jones Bracket

(1) Henrik Stenson vs (8) Louis Oosthuizen: Stenson got a win 2 and 1 over Kiradech Aphibarnrat, but didn’t lead until late in the match. Oosty also played a tight match against Nick Watney winning 1 up and moving out of the first round for the third straight year. Stenson has a great record at this event (16-3) and looked to be in form and ready to pick up where he left off when he hoisted the FedEx Cup. I don’t think he has a long run in him, but I will take him to win this one. Pick: Henrik Stenson

(4) Brandt Snedeker vs (5) Webb Simpson: Both Snedeker and Simpson avoided first round upsets although Snedeker had a much tougher time. Sneds needed 20 holes to get his first lead of his match against David Lynn while Simpson dispatched Thongchai Jaidee 3 and 2. Simpson’s steady approach is great for match play while Snedeker was struggling coming into the tournament. Pick: Webb Simpson 

Feb 19, 2014; Marana, AZ, USA; Jason Day (left) shakes hands with Thorbjorn Olesen (right) on the green of the 18th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

(2) Jason Day vs (10) Billy Horschel: My pick to win it all did scare me a bit in round one, but was able to beat Thorbjorn Oleson 2 up with a bogey-free round.  Next up for Day as he looks to return to the final four is the firy Horschel who knocked off Jamie Donaldson in convincing 6 and 5 fashion.  I think this will be one of the better matches of the day, but I’ve got to go with my pre-tournament pick. Pick: Jason Day

(11) Patrick Reed vs (14) George Coetzee: In a bracket that held pretty much to form except for these two upsets, an 11 and 14 seed meet after a pair of first round upsets. Reed played very well to dispatch Canadian Graham Delaet and has had a great run of Match Play success even though he’s never played this event before.  In round 2, he’ll face George Coetzee who beat veteran Steve Stricker who was a little out of form after an emotional week with his brother’s health situation. Coetzee won by dropping 13 straight pars out of the gate and making a couple birdies late to close Stricker out 3 and 1. Since Reed had a tougher battle to get here and plays well in the format, I’ll take him to bring his double-digit seed into the weekend. Pick: Patrick Reed

Hogan Bracket

Feb 19, 2014; Marana, AZ, USA; Rory McIlroy on the tee of the 15th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

(1) Rory McIlroy vs (9) Harris English: McIlroy avoided upset with a 3 and 2 win over Boo Weekley while English pulled the upset over Lee Westwood in convincing 5 and 3 fashion. English is in great form and will be a stiff test for Rory, but with McIlroy’s history of success here I think he’ll win a close one. Pick: Rory McIlroy

(4) Charl Schwartzel vs (5) Jim Furyk: In one of the matches that features two big names Schwartzel and Furyk. Schwartzel isn’t nearly as consistent as Furyk, but he can make birdies and is in good form. I’ll take the South African to knock off Furyk and move on to take on Rory. Pick: Charl Schwartzel

(2) Sergio Garcia vs (7) Bill Haas: Sergio was a popular pick coming into the tournament to make a long run since he thrives in the format and has been in good form.  His first round win was a battle, though, as Marc Leishman took him 22 holes before the Spaniard got the win. Now he’ll take on Bill Haas who finally got a first round win on his fourth try. Garcia has struggled in his opener in the past, but he always seems to do just enough to win.  I’ll take him to get the win in this one in a tight match. Pick: Sergio Garcia

(6) Jimmy Walker vs (14) Rickie Fowler: Fowler pulled one of the biggest upsets of the day when he ousted match-play expert Ian Poulter.  Things don’t get much easier for him in the second round as he takes on the red-hot FedEx Cup points leader in Jimmy Walker.  Fowler had shown little signs of form before yesterday, but maybe this was just what he needed to get his game back headed in the right direction. I’ll take him to pull the upset here and make it to the weekend. Pick: Rickie Fowler

Player Bracket

(1) Justin Rose vs (8) Ernie Els: Both internationals played tough matches in round one but lived on to face each other in round 2. Rose edged American Scott Piercy 1 up while Els needed an extra hole to dispatch Stephen Gallacher.  While both could have easily lost in round one, I’ll take Els to get the upset and eliminate Rose who is just 7-8 in the event in his career and hasn’t played much recently due to injury. Pick: Ernie Els

Feb 19, 2014; Marana, AZ, USA; Matteo Manassero on the tee of the 13th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

(4) Jason Dufner vs (12) Matteo Manassero: Dufner trailed by three through the first ten holes, but he stormed back to knock off Scott Stallings in 19 holes earning his first Accenture Match Play Championship win.  Now he’ll face Matteo Manassero who looked dominant in his 5 and 4 victory over Luke Donald who had a nice history at Dove Mountain.  Manassero made six birdies in 14 holes to dispatch Donald and I think he’ll get the win over Dufner in round 2. Pick: Matteo Manassero

(2) Matt Kuchar vs (7) Ryan Moore: Last year’s defending champ looked ready to fight to retain the title after a dominating win in round one shaking off last week’s missed cut.  Kuchar is 16-3 all time in the event and even won despite a weird ball marking penalty cost him a hole late in the match.  Moore played and won a tight first round match, but I don’t think he has what it takes to take down the champ.  Plus, a Kuchar-Spieth match could be the title fight in an epic Saturday if both can get the win today. Pick: Matt Kuchar

(3) Jordan Spieth vs (6) Thomas Bjorn: Spieth dropped six birdies in eight holes after a slow start to knock off Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and now faces Dane Thomas Bjorn who beat Francesco Molinari 2 and 1. Bjorn doesn’t have a great track record in this event, and with the role Spieth is on I won’t pick against him. I have him in my Final Four, but the showdown with Kuchar is just too good to pick against. Pick: Jordan Spieth

Snead Bracket

(8) Hunter Mahan vs (16) Richard Sterne: Sterne is the lowest remaining seed in the tournament meaning he took out the highest ranked player as he knocked off #1-seeded Zach Johnson in convincing fashion 5 and 4.  Now Sterne takes on Hunter Mahan who has been in the final match in each of the last two years and has knocked Sterne out twice in this event in the past.  In this tournament, Cinderellas can last a few rounds, but I think Mahan is just too much of a horse for the course and the format getting him the win here. Pick: Hunter Mahan

(4) Graeme McDowell vs (5) Hideki Matsuyama: McDowell won three of the final four holes in a big comeback win over Gary Woodland, and now he moves on to face Matsuyama in round two who knocked off former champion Martin Kaymer.  Matsuyama admits this format isn’t really his thing while McDowell flourishes in it, so I’ll go the Northern Irishman over the Japanese pro in this match. Pick: Graeme McDowell

Feb 19, 2014; Marana, AZ, USA; Dustin Johnson plays from the fairway bunker on the 10th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

(7) Victor Dubuisson vs (15) Peter Hanson: The Snead bracket not only was the only bracket to lose its one seed, it also lost it’s #2 when Dustin Johnson fell to Peter Hanson 4 and 3.  DJ had been in form, but Hanson took the lead right out of the gate and took the win as Johnson put up several bogeys giving him the win.  Now Hanson takes on the Frenchman Victor Dubuisson who also never trailed as he beat Kevin Streelman.  Neither Streelman or Johnson played especially well, but Hanson has more experience at the event and beat a better player which makes him the pick in this second round match. Pick: Peter Hanson

(3) Bubba Watson vs (11) Jonas Blixt: Blixt upset Keegan Bradley and now faces last week’s PGA Tour winner Bubba Watson who pulled away late in his win over Mikko Ilonen. Watson is in really good form right now, and he has had a few deep runs in this event in the past. I don’t think he’ll make it to the final four, but I do think he’ll get the win in this match. Pick: Bubba Watson

Topics: Accenture Match Play First Round, Accenture Match Play Picks, Fantasy Golf, Fantasy Golf Picks, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Round 2, Second Round Picks, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

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