WGC Match Play Round 1: Fowler’s Upset Puts Rahm Behind

WGC Match Play Round 1: Fowler’s Upset Puts Rahm Behind

Fortunately for Jon Rahm, golf’s version of March Madness doesn’t send you home after a loss in the early rounds. Here is our WGC Match Play Round 1 Recap and Round 2 preview.

WGC Match Play Round 1 Recap

Unlike 1-seed Purdue, who was eliminated after their loss to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Jon Rahm can still earn his way into the knockout rounds of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but he faces an uphill battle.

Rahm, the No. 2 overall seed, lost to 49-seed Rickie Fowler in Wednesday’s opening rounds 1 & 2 once Fowler sank a par putt on the 17th hole. 

There were two other players seeded in the top 10 who lost on Wednesday. 8-seed Viktor Hovland lost to 59-seed Matt Kuchar, who was one of our longshots to win in our tournament preview. Kuchar, who was at +8000 prior to the tournament starting, is now at +5000 and is looking to reach the Final Four of this event for the fifth time. Will Zalatoris, the seventh-seeded golfer in the field, lost to 56-seed Andrew Putnam. 

Two matches remain in group play before the field is whittled down to 16 for the weekend’s single-elimination portion of the tournament. Those who lost on Wednesday will need to win their next two matches in order to have a chance to win their group. A win is worth 1 point, a tie is worth 0.5 points, and a loss gets zero points. 

PGA Tour Odds

Scheffler Remains the Favorite After a Narrow Win

Scottie Scheffler (+700) saw his odds drop slightly from the pre-tournament price of +900 after 54-seed Davis Riley took him to the 18th hole on Wednesday. Scheffler sank a 13-footer for birdie on the final hole to win 1-up. The defending champ and Texas native takes on Alex Noren on Thursday at Austin Country Club before facing off with Tom Kim on Friday in what should be a fun match to watch.

Rory McIlroy (+900) had good returns in his first round after missing the cut at The Players Championship and making a putter switch. The Northern Irishman had lost three of his last four first-round matches in this event but had no trouble with Scott Stallings, jumping out to an early lead and winning 3 & 1 following a birdie on the 16th hole. 

Jon Rahm, the other pretournament favorite, is now at +3000. He would need to defeat 2021 champion Billy Horschel and Keith Mitchell and hope that Fowler either loses to both of those golfers or ties in one of the two matches in order for the Spaniard to advance out of the group stage.

Tony Finau (+1250) has seen his odds rise after he defeated Christiaan Bezuidenhout in the first round and also saw 45-seed Adrian Meronk defeat 19-seed Kurt Kitayama in their group.

2023 WGC Match Play Odds

We remain bullish on Scottie Scheffler and Jason Day (+2000), but the latter will likely have to defeat Collin Morikawa on Friday to advance. Of our original longshot picks, Kevin Kisner lost, but Kuchar and Corey Conners won their matches, keeping them in play. 

Here are the latest odds from JazzSports going into day two of the 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Scottie Scheffler+700
Rory McIlroy+900
Patrick Cantlay+1200
Tony Finau+1250
Xander Schauffele+1500
Jordan Spieth+1600
Max Homa+1600
Collin Morikawa+1800
Jason Day+2000
Sungjae Im+2500
Rickie Fowler+2800
Jon Rahm+3000

Check out the McIlroy’s Clutch Drive Highlights WGC Match Play Round 2

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