Jason Day a two time winner of the event – is this his chance to regain form? – photo Nike
The second WGC event of 2021 is played this week with the staging of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship at the Austin Country Club in Austin in Texas.
The event is being played in Austin for the 5th occasion after a move from Harding Park in San Francisco and, earlier, its longer-term home in Tucson, Arizona.
The field consists of the leading available 64 world ranked players and in 2021 the list goes down to the current 71st ranked player, Dylan Frittelli. Australia’s Lucas Herbert is the unlucky man to just miss the field, Herbert one place outside Frittelli in terms of his world ranking.
And so Australia will be represented by just three players this week with the one player eligible but not playing, Adam Scott, choosing other options to prepare for Augusta National in 16 days time.
Two time winner of the event, Jason Day, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman will fly the Australian flag as they chase a fifth title for their country with both Day (twice) and Geoff Ogilvy (twice) having won the title over its 21 year history.
Day won in 2014 and 2016 and while it has been more than three years since he won an event of any sort on the PGA Tour, his penchant for head to head match play might carry him a long way this week.
Day also finished 3rd in 2013, losing out in the semi final that year to Matt Kuchar before claiming third place in the consolation against Ian Poulter.
Day has recorded just two top ten finishes in his last 15 starts with a best of 7th on two occasions so he is below his best but the chance to play this format will no doubt be one he is looking forward to resurrect the sort of form we know he is capable of.
Cameron Smith will play the event for the 3rd occasion having finished an impressive 5th on debut in 2018 and lost in the first round in 2019. Smith lost to Alex Noren in the quarter finals in 2018 and in 2019 lost all three round robin matches and did not advance to the quarter final.
Smith is playing some very impressive golf of late and as a former Australian Amateur champion, his match play prowess is unquestioned.
Cameron Smith – 5th on debut in the event two years ago and playing well.
Marc Leishman began the season well enough in Hawaii but his form since has been well short of his best.
In six appearances in this event Leishman has made it to the round of 16 on two occasions but has not advanced past that point.
The field contains all of the current top ten in the world ranking, most considering this to be their final warm up for Augusta National.
World number one Dustin Johnson’s performance will be of much interest given he won the event four years ago (it was not played last year) and that he will be defending his Masters title in two weeks.