DRAWS AND FADES
Draws and Fades: WGC-Dell Match Play & Corales Puntacana Championship
March 22, 2022
By Rob Bolton , Golfbet for PGATOUR.COM
All-time best shots from Corales Puntacana
Let’s do this in chronological order.
The World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play begins on Wednesday. The Dell Technologies Bracket Challenge is ready for your selections here.
As always, the Bracket Challenge is free to play and many prizes will be awarded. The most common oversight when picking players is the consolation match a/k/a “3rd Place Match Winner.” Your bracket cannot be saved without it. Note that the tiebreaker is total birdies in the championship match, but that defaults to zero, so modify accordingly. In last year’s finale during which Billy Horschel defeated Scottie Scheffler, 2 and 1, each golfer converted only one birdie.
The AUTOPICK function allows you to fill out a bracket by seed or by odds. You also can retrieve my bracket and modify it as you wish and save as your own. To compete against me, join “PGA TOUR Experts” on the Leagues tab.
Once the Match Play begins, the fantasy preparation resets entirely for the Corales Puntacana Championship. The Wild Card, Draws and Fades below reflect it because it contributes to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. While actual scoring is the same as usual, FedExCup bonus points are at a fraction, so it’s a terrific week to take chances because it’s the only opposite event included in the game. Even in total failure, you stand to lose less ground than you would any other week.
Lastly, after five weeks since it debuted at The Genesis Invitational, PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live is dark this week. PointsBet has lines for the winner and other bets, so invest for real on the app, but it won’t be comprehensive enough to support the complexity of the new game. So, Glass and I will return with Pick ‘Em Preview for the Valero Texas Open.
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Haotong Li (+220 for a Top 20) … Remember this guy? After a dreadful full year, he’s rekindled form in the last six months. Since a T14 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, he’s 7-for-9 with a pair of podium finishes. He also placed T12 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Once as high as 32nd in the Official World Golf Ranking (in January of 2018), he plummeted to 542nd in late 2021. He’s now 307th and has collected more OWGR points in 2022 alone than Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Kevin Na, Tony Finau, Robert MacIntyre, Ryan Palmer, Matthew Wolff, Louis Oosthuizen, Bryson DeChambeau and Webb Simpson.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (+260 for a Top 20) … Missed the cut in his debut here last year and when he was a PGA TOUR member. Not atypical of many dual-tour talents, he’s found success again with only the DP WORLD Tour as the focus, and 109th in the OWGR, he’s close to wiggling his return to the PGA Championship. After nine consecutive appearances, he just missed out on qualifying last year.
Victor Perez (+275 for a Top 20) … On cachet alone, but the Frenchman still hasn’t made any new noise on the PGA TOUR since going T9-4th at THE PLAYERS and Match Play a year ago. He arrives for his debut at Corales having cashed in seven straight starts worldwide, but none of the four in 2022 were top 50s.
Rasmus Højgaard (+170 for a Top 20) … Unlike his twin brother (in Fades below), both of whom just turned 21, he’s been more consistent over time, and that’s better for our hearts. Seven straight cuts made worldwide going back to October.
Odds sourced on Tuesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
Nicolai Højgaard … Went 0-for-2 on the Florida Swing and his only payday anywhere in six starts in 2022 was a victory on the DP WORLD Tour. His profile is fascinating in the long-term and from a fan’s perspective, but you’re playing with fire in fantasy.
Danny Willett … Finished eighth in his debut here last year, but he descended with much better form in tow. Not so much this year despite the victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship just over five months ago. Just remember that he’s a PGA TOUR member, so he’ll continue to play often enough to be attractive as he chases a return to the FedExCup Playoffs.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY
Billy Horschel … The defending champion is in my Power Rankings, but this is just another reminder that he’s returning from an illness that forced him to withdraw during his third of THE PLAYERS.
Bryson DeChambeau … Injuries to his left hand (fractured hamate bone) and left hip (torn labrum) have sidelined him since early February. As a result, he might have the biggest target on his back compared to all other top seeds.
Kevin Na … Back at it after the birth of his third child on March 7. Reached the quarterfinals at Austin CC in 2019.
Si Woo Kim … Normally, he withdraws during tournaments with a back injury, but his WD during the finale of THE PLAYERS was due to a sore neck. He’s been a pain in ours throughout the entirety of his career in the short-term – the mid-tournament WD at TPC Sawgrass thwarted my four-way, top-40 parlay at +2900 in GolfBet’s “Best Bets”, so I’m still reeling; the other three delivered – so he remains most reliable in full-season formats.
Luke List … Called it quits during the first round of THE PLAYERS, citing a neck injury. It extended his drought post-breakthrough victory at the Farmers to 1-for-4 with a T53 at the WM Phoenix Open.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION – CORALES PUNTACANA CHAMPIONSHIP
Joshua Creel … The rookie made the cut at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS last week, but he withdrew early in his third round with an arm injury. He’s cashed just twice in nine starts on the PGA TOUR this season.
NOTABLE WDs – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY
Cameron Smith … THE PLAYERS champion is enjoying his best season to date. He’s one of four two-time winners and he leads the TOUR in adjusted scoring with an explosive combination of greens in regulation (ranks seventh) and putts per GIR (first).
Rory McIlroy … Opting for rest ahead of his commitment to the Valero Texas Open. Of course, the Masters follows right after that, so will his pursuit of the career grand slam.
Hideki Matsuyama … Also sat out THE PLAYERS with a sore back.
Sam Burns … His WD was announced first thing on Monday morning. Obviously, he just defended his title at Copperhead but this will be his first break in four weeks.
Harris English … He’ll be recovering for a while from surgery to repair a torn labrum on his right hip on Feb. 14. If you own him in a full-season format that allows drop-adds, fish for a replacement if you haven’t already.
Phil Mickelson … Remains on his indefinite leave from competition.
NOTABLES WDs – CORALES PUNTACANA CHAMPIONSHIP
Maverick McNealy … Replaced Sam Burns at the Match Play where he’ll be making his debut. Slotted 70th in the Official World Golf Ranking when the field of 64 was set at the conclusion of THE PLAYERS.
Davis Riley … Climbed to 32nd in the FedExCup with the playoff loss at Copperhead. It’s the kind of inflection point that could prove to be when he gained virtual total control of his schedule for the long haul.
Matthew NeSmith … He wasn’t in the field for long after staking the 36-hole lead with a 10-under 61 at Copperhead last Friday. He finished T3 and sits 67th in the FedExCup.
Taylor Pendrith … The low rookie at THE PLAYERS (T13) is 63rd in the FedExCup. He’s been as advertised with four top 25s contributing to a 10-for-15 slate.
Beau Hossler … You know a guy is in a good place when he withdraws early from an opposite event despite being saddled with conditional status. Currently 62nd in the FedExCup thanks to four top 20s, including two on the Florida Swing.
Andrew Putnam … First early WD in over two years, but the break is timely. He went 0-for-3 on the Florida Swing, but he’s comfortably positioned at 73rd in the FedExCup. Keep the faith.
Kevin Tway … Second consecutive early WD (Valspar). Still 70th in the FedExCup on the strength of a T2 in Houston in November.
Jimmy Walker … Currently 175th in the FedExCup in his last season via the membership exemption as the winner of the 2016 PGA Championship.
Stephan Jaeger … It’s fair to question if he’s used up all the slack on his leash. Opening the season exempt from the Korn Ferry Tour graduate reshuffle, expectations are higher than his current position of 152nd in the FedExCup at the midpoint of the season, which is reached next week. He was an absolute unit on the combined 2020-21 KFT season, but he’s just 6-for-15 with one top 25 in his return to the big leagues.
Joseph Bramlett … In the same boat as Jaeger because he’s exempt from the KFT reshuffle. Sits 156th in the FedExCup on an 8-for-15, also with just one top 25.
Chris Stroud … Continues to ration his starts via a medical extension in the KFT graduate reshuffle category. This is his third early WD of the season. He’s 2-for-7 and 218th in the FedExCup.
Sam Horsfield … He’s never appeared at Corales but this is the second time that he’s withdrawn early (2020). The 25-year-old Brit is 99th in the OWGR, so he’s on the bubble of qualifying for the PGA Championship, but that checkpoint doesn’t roll around until May 9.
Fabrizio Zanotti … The only Paraguayan with greater than zero OWGR points opted out of what would have been his third appearance at Corales. He’s 2-for-2 with a T22 last year. He competed the last two weeks in South Africa and has cashed in 16 consecutive starts worldwide dating back to the first weekend of July in 2021. Also added a T35 at the Olympics early in the run.
RECAP – VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Viktor Hovland T33
2 Collin Morikawa T68
3 Dustin Johnson T39
4 Justin Thomas T3
5 Shane Lowry T12
6 Matt Fitzpatrick T5
7 Xander Schauffele T12
8 Bubba Watson MC
9 Sam Burns Win
10 Paul Casey DNP
11 Abraham Ancer MC
12 Louis Oosthuizen T62
13 Keegan Bradley MC
14 Jason Kokrak MC
15 Adam Hadwin T7
Wild Card Tyrrell Hatton T21
Golfer (Prop) Result
Wesley Bryan (+1000 = top 20) T62
Bill Haas (+600 = top 20) T48
Chad Ramey (+500 = top 20) MC
Matthias Schwab (+350 = top 20) MC
Vaughn Taylor (+450 = top 20) MC
Brooks Koepka to miss the cut (+240) T12
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
March 22 … none
March 23 … Johnson Wagner (42)
March 24 … Jason Dufner (45)
March 25 … Scott Stallings (37); Henrik Norlander (35)
March 26 … Wesley Bryan (32)
March 27 … none
March 28 … none