WGC Accenture Match Play round two: Can Stenson continue to ride his luck?
How Henrik Stenson is still in this thing is anyone’s guess. Not only did he play the worst shot in the competition, if not the history of professional golf, on Wednesday (running it pretty close on the same 18th hole the next day), but Trevor Immelman should have buried him Thursday, if only to make up for the fact that Robert Allenby should have dispatched him the day before.
Let’s hear it for the Phil Mickelson fans who might justly point to the Swede’s continued participation when poor Lefty departs after notching up a round with seven birdies. For once I can’t argue with the notion that Lefty was unlucky, but only in that he met the wrong player at the wrong time. Stuart Appleby found a few extra cylinders to fire on and make two more birdies.
Sure Stenson was lucky, and not for the first time. But how many times do you have to be lucky before the notion takes root that some players have the resilience to ride their luck in these competitions and others don’t?
And so, let’s get another eight players dead and buried:
Jones bracket - My picks are Tiger Woods and Paul Casey: If Tiger plays like Wednesday a rested Aaron Baddeley may well see him off. but it’s unlikely. Casey’s duel is the interesting one. Betfair initially priced the Englishman the favourite, but K J Choi is now viewed marginally the more likely to win. The numbers give it to the Korean, but he almost let it slip on Thursday and Casey has strong match play form.
Hogan bracket - Stenson and Boo Weekley: Jonathan Byrd is in full flight and coasted Thursday while Stenson is battle weary. But if he can stop sending balls off at right angles to where they should go he should still outgun the American. I’m sticking with the inestimable Weekley to edge the old pals act with Woody Austin.
Player bracket - Appleby and Rod Pampling: I hesitate to pick Appleby because he’s due an off day and Justin Leonard has been quietly impressive against two tough match play opponents. But when in doubt go for the distance man. Vijay Singh has done better than I expected, but he’s gone the distance and then some while Pampling is on a roll and in a comfort zone.
Snead bracket - Angel Cabrera and Colin Montgomerie: These two are the most difficult to pick so, just to be perverse, I’ve gone for the outsiders. Steve Stricker has the edge in stats but has gone into overtime twice while Cabrera has always had something left in the tank. As for Monty, when I heard an American commentator Thursday suggest he had “outstayed his welcome” my Scottish blood spilled over. Does this person not know of Monty’s amazing match play history in the Ryder Cup? And he’s clearly in Ryder mode here. It’s my patriotic duty to back him in the face of such a slur. Not a Widows and Orphans gamble though. Form-wise Stewart Cink stands out as much as the betting suggests.
And away in Mexico: They’re off on round two of this rather dull Mayakoba Classic competition. For now I’ll just cheer Kenneth Ferrie (with my English hat on this time) just a shot off the pace and leading the field for finding greens. He has form, ranking fourth here in my stats for accuracy off the tee and greens in regulation combined.
But the thought intriguing me most is that John Daly, a shot further back, will either do his customary imitation of a tower block being demolished or sneak a win again this decidedly second level opposition. He’s sixth for putting although his irons are looking very rusty.
|« WGC Accenture Match Play round three: Scintillating Tiger looks well on his way||WGC Accenture Match Play round one: Thank your lucky stars for Tiger Woods »|
No feedback yet
Comments are closed for this post.