With the Florida swing wrapping up at the Valspar Championship, the PGA TOUR travels across the country to Austin, Texas, for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Austin Country Club (par 71, 7,108 yards, POA Trivialis greens) has been the only course to host this event since its inception in 2016. The 2020 edition of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and this year will be the final time this tournament will be played, with the PGA TOUR making some major changes to their schedule next season. A year ago, Texas native Scottie Scheffler picked up one of his four wins of the season at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, defeating Kevin Kisner in the finals.
The Dell Technologies Match Play features 64 players - including 23 of the top-25 ranked players in the world – and is a unique format. This five-day event begins Wednesday and starts with the field being separated into 16 groups of four – which are called “pods” – based on each golfer’s current spot in the world golf rankings. For example, as the world’s top-ranked player, Scheffler is the No.1 seed this week in his title defense. Every player will face the other three golfers in their pod individually over the course of the first two days of the tournament, and the player to come out of each pod with the best record based on matches won, lost and halved will advance to the round of 16. These 16 golfers will then compete in a head-to-head sudden death bracket-styled tournament, with the round of 16 and quarterfinals being held Saturday and the semifinals and finals taking place Sunday. For DFS, we will be rostering the usual six golfers in our lineups, but DKFP will be accrued based on matches/holes won, lost, and tied instead of pars, birdies, eagles, bogeys and finishing position.
Evident from two opposite players in terms of length in Scheffler and Kisner facing off in the finals last season, any type of golfer can win at Austin CC. This Pete Dye designed par 71 features common characteristics of the famous architect, with narrow fairways, small greens and 110 bunkers on the grounds. With these tiny greens being difficult to stick consistently, not only should we be targeting players in strong form with their irons, but golfers who have been playing well around the greens. Also, targeting players with compelling resumes on Dye designs and in the match play format is a wise strategy this week.
Below, I break down three of my favorite value plays for the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, which all cost less than $7.5K on DraftKings.
Seamus Power ($7,200) – Power advanced to the quarterfinals in his WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play debut last year, losing to the eventual champion in Scheffler. Power now returns to Austin in the midst of the best season of his career. In 12 starts, Power has made 10 cuts and carded seven top-25 finishes, including a win at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in October.
The Irishman ranks fourth in SG ARG over his last 50 rounds and is going against Sam Burns, Adam Scott and Adam Hadwin in his pod this week. Burns is in strong form but has zero match play history, while Hadwin presents an underwhelming 1-1-3 record in the format and has missed two of his last three cuts. As for Scott, the veteran has been subpar in match play throughout his career, with a 23-23-2 record, and is coming off a concerning performance at the PLAYERS, in which he lost 6.9 strokes on APP, which is the most Scott has lost in the category in over 12 years. Power certainly has the potential to win his pod for the second straight year and is way too cheap for his upside this week.
Ryan Fox ($7,000) – Fox has been playing outstanding golf recently. Since the start of October, the professional out of New Zealand has made 11-of-13 cuts worldwide, with nine of these finishes being top-30 results, most notably with a victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Fox has gained strokes on APP in his first two starts since returning to America this month and currently is the 34th ranked player in the world but only the 45th most expensive golfer on DraftKings for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Fox doesn’t bring any match-play experience but is in a terrific position to make some noise in his debut at Austin CC. The 36-year-old will begin the week facing Will Zalatoris, Andrew Putnam and Harris English in his pod. Zalatoris possesses a 4-3-1 record at Austin CC but is on the heels of an uninspiring start at the PLAYERS, in which he finished third-to-last among the golfers who made the cut. Plus, English and Putnam are both coming off missed cuts and have missed more cuts than they have made in the new year. Fox is absolutely in the best form of this group and must be attacked at this affordable price.
J.T. Poston ($6,700) – Poston is fresh off an impressive T10 at the Valspar, in which he ranked fourth in SG APP for the event. The 29-year-old lacks match play experience – finishing with a 1-1-1 record in his debut at Austin CC two years ago – but finds himself in one of the weakest pods of the tournament. Poston will be facing Sung-Jae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Maverick McNealy. Im owns a losing match play record, and McNealy only has one more match play win to his name than Poston. Furthermore, McNealy’s irons have been brutal, with him failing to gain strokes on APP in three consecutive starts.
Coming off a T3 at the Valspar and with a 13-11-3 match play record, defeating Fleetwood is going to be difficult, but certainly not out of the question for Poston if he can carry over the momentum from last week. Poston already has six top-25s under his belt this season and is worth rolling the dice on at this sub $7K salary.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.