Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
We take a week off from stroke play (for our primary field at least) and eye a different kind of opportunity this week in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Austin Country Club is the annual host, a 7,108-yard par 71 bordering Lake Austin that was designed by Pete Dye in 1984. This will be the fifth installment at Austin CC.
Tree-lined fairways and out-of-bounds hazards border just about every hole, and small, fast greens confound even the best putters. The strategy in match play conditions is significantly different than stroke play, as you can play conservatively if your opponent is out of bounds on his first shot before you even hit, but aggressive golfers have fared well here in the past. Jason Day is a two-time champion, and fellow major champions and all around bombers Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson are prior winners here as well.
The field is loaded vying for the $10,500,000 purse, including all of the top 10 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking. An important note this week is that the event begins on Wednesday, with three days of round-robin matches before the bracket is set for the weekend.
The wind is always a factor in Texas, and the early forecast in Austin looks like double-digit winds will be in play all week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Austin Country Club
Distance: 7,108 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass, fairways are overseeded with perennial rye and fescue
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis and bentgrass
Each of the three par 5s is at least 565 yards, and five par 4s are shorter than 400. There's something for everybody here, and seeing golfers with different styles matched up head to head makes for an exciting and welcome change as we pass the midpoint of the 2020-21 season.
With no statistical history to rely on besides win-loss record, we have to dive into the scorecard to get a feel for the course and how it might play. The greens are an average of just 5,500 square feet, with overseeded Bermuda greens. If all this sounds familiar, it was just a few weeks ago we visited Dye's masterpiece TPC Sawgrass. Austin CC also features a variety of looks off the tee that will dictate how each hole must be attacked on the initial shot.
Aside from Sawgrass, the other Dye course in regular rotation on Tour is Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage). The 2019 champion Kevin Kisner has a runner-up finish at both THE PLAYERS and RBC Heritage. As for Texas courses, Colonial Country Club (Charles Schwab Challenge) also features small greens that emphasize the approach shot. With five par 4s of its own shorter than 410 yards, Colonial is a good match this week as well.
These stats will prove vital to success in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.
|Key Stats for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club|
|Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
We don't have historical data to go off, so it seems safe to go with the tried and true tee-to-green formula. These are slippery greens, running at a 12 on the Stimpmeter for the 2019 edition. The added variance closes the gap between the good and bad putters, so our focus will be heavily weighted toward golfers' driving and especially iron play.
Scrambling and birdie making are ideal skills for match play competition, and in this setting, the volume of birdies is just as important as the birdie rate. If your opponent pars a hole, it doesn't matter if you bogeyed or double-bogeyed or worse, so aggressive players who aim to go low at every opportunity can serve us well.
For that reason, we'll also eye opportunities gained, which Fantasy National Golf Club tracks for approach shots that reach the green or fringe either in or under regulation. Getting on the green ahead of your opponent not only puts you in a position to win the hole but also puts added pressure on your opponent.
Course History Studs
We only have four years of history at this venue and each of the prior winners is covered above. Day also won this event in 2014, and other former winners in the field include Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar -- who have a fourth-place and a second-place, respectively, since the event moved to Austin. Ian Poulter, who can match or surpass Tiger Woods' record in all-time matches played at the Match Play, though Sergio Garcia will get there first.
Kisner is notable in that he was the runner-up in 2018 before winning in 2019, and Johnson reached the semi-finals once in addition to his win.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.