Round 1 certainly did not go as planned, for me and for the tournament. A snow delay took out most of the day on Wednesday and then a lengthy delay Thursday morning meant just the first round would only be completed with no second round matches starting until Friday.
The delay though halted play in Round 1 with two matches unable to finish. The tournament will try and get back on the scheduled time but not until Saturday when Round 3 and Round 4 will be played back-to-back.
The favorites won nine of the first 16 matches which is about the average in this event. It was the second half of the first round matches where the real excitement and drama took place though, namely the No. 1 seeds.
Rory McIlroy, the overall No. 1 seed, lost to fellow countryman Shane Lowry 1 up. He opened up a two-hole lead after four holes but he lost five holes in an eight-hole stretch and never caught back up, eventually losing on No. 18.
Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III had one of the best matches of the day with no lead greater than one hole until Howell went two up after No. 16 and closed Woods out on No. 17. It was the first time since 2002 that the top two seeds were eliminated after the first round.
Listed are five Second Round Matchup Best Bets (all for 2 Units):
Match 33: Nicolas Colsaerts +120 over Justin Rose
Colsaerts took advantage of poor play from Bill Haas to take a 3-up lead through eight holes before play was suspended Wednesday. He recorded a par on all eight holes Thursday and easily won 5 and 4. He lost in the first round last year but won the Volvo Match Play last season. Rose had trouble keeping the lead against K.J. Choi but snuck out a 2-and-1 win. He’s advanced past the second round only once in his last seven appearances.
Match 34: Matt Kuchar -105 over Sergio Garcia
Sergio is a great match play player but he had to grind one out against Thongchai Jaidee Friday. His competitor won two of the last three holes to force extra holes but he eventually won after 20 holes. Matt Kuchar had a stress-free first round match. It was back and forth early but he won No. 7, 9,10 and 11 to win going away. Kuchar is now 10-3 in this event and looks to keep the momentum rolling from his run into the semis last year.
Match 35: Tim Clark -110 over Thorbjorn Olesen
Clark pulled away from Adam Scott with wins on No. 16 and No. 17 to take the match 2 and 1. Scott missed a very makeable putt on No. 17 that would have sent the match to the final hole. Clark is a veteran in this event that could make some noise. Olesen defeated Jamie Donaldson 3 and 2 but not a lot can be taken from that as both are rookies. Olesen finished two over through 16 holes, so he certainly didn’t play well.
Match 41: Robert Garrigus +120 over Louis Oosthuizen
I was very impressed with Garrigus as he took out Branden Grace 4 and 3. He won the first three holes, built a five-hole lead and had no pressure on him thanks to six birdies. Now, he goes from big favorite to underdog. Oosthuizen won 2 and 1 over Richie Ramsay but it wasn't easy as he was down 2 after No. 11 before winning four straight holes to close it out. It was more Ramsay’s loss than an Oosthuizen win though.
Match 48: Peter Hanson +125 over Webb Simpson
Simpson won 5 and 4 over David Lynn but he didn't play particularly well. Lynn shot a two-over 38 on the front and was four over through No. 13 before conceding. Simpson had five birdies but also had three bogeys. Hanson was two down at the turn but won five of the first six holes on the back to win 3 and 2 over Thomas Bjorn. Hanson is now 4-1 his last five matches here.