WGC Dell Match Play Each-Way Tips: Henley is value at Austin CC

American Russell Henley
American Russell Henley can enjoy a good run

It's the second WGC event of the season and Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for the WGC Dell Match Play at Austin CC with eight places paid on the Betfair Sportsbook...

"Henley ranked 1st for Strokes Gained: Putting at PGA National last week and wielding a hot blade is certainly a good idea for match play."

Back Russell Henley E/W @ 67.066/1

Main Bet: Russell Henley each-way @ 67.066/1

Of all the events on the PGA Tour schedule, the WGC Dell Match Play is the most difficult to make sense of.

And yet, there are some surprising strands of logic - even though they tell different stories.

For starters, since this event moved to Austin Country Club in Texas, two of the four winners - Jason Day and Dustin Johnson - were coming in off a win. Good news for Players champion Justin Thomas then!

Another winner, Bubba Watson, had won three starts earlier at Riviera so very recent winning form has been an excellent predictor.

Kevin Kisner didn't have a recent victory when winning in 2019 (the latest edition after 2020's tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19) although he had reeled off a trio of top 25s.

The other area that interests me is how the seedings have worked out.

The 64-man field is split into 16 four-man groups, each group containing a player from each seeding pot: 1-16, 17-32, 33-48 and 49-64.

The winners go through after round robin play from Wednesday to Friday and the tournament becomes straight head-to-head knockout from Saturday.

My staking plan this year is shaped by the punter-friendly eight each-way places on offer. It means a payout is secured if your pick makes it to the quarter-finals.

With that in mind, it's worth looking at which seeds have reached this stage in the four years at Austin CC. This is the breakdown of the 32 players who have contested the quarter-finals at Austin CC from 2016-2019:

1-16 - 11 players
17-32 - 7 players
33-48 - 7 players
49-64 - 7 players

In other words, those seeded 49-64 have just as good a record as players ranked 17-32 and 33-48.

Knowing that there are eight each-way places gives scope, therefore, to look at all parts of the betting.

I'll start with a punt on Russell Henley.

The 50th seed is coming in off a top-three finish in the Honda Classic where he opened with 64 and closed with 68.

Henley ranked first for Strokes Gained: Putting at PGA National last week and wielding a hot blade is certainly a good idea for match play.

He said there: "I felt great on the greens. I made a lot of great putts. Actually great off the tee as well."

The 31-year-old is a past winner in Texas, having landed the 2017 Houston Open, and he also has experience of this course. He didn't pull up any trees in winning just one match out of three (a 2&1 success over Matt Fitzpatrick) in 2018 but the margins were fine. He lost his other two matches, to Paul Casey and group winner Kyle Stanley, on the 18th hole.

He's in a winnable group against Sungjae Im, Marc Leishman and Victor Perez and, if he comes through, it would take just one more victory to land the each-way cash for reaching the last eight.

Take Henley at 66/1.

Next Best: Billy Horschel each-way @ 71.070/1

I'll pick another player with some good recent form and a previous win in Texas.

Billy Horschel hoisted the silverware in the 2017 Byron Nelson Championship and has four top 25s in his last six appearances in the Lone Star State.

Billy Horschel 720.JPG

The last time we saw him in a WGC event, the American finished runner-up in the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida. That's the most impressive of Horschel's three top sevens in his last eight events.

He's played this event twice, losing to Brooks Koepka in his opener in 2016 before hitting back with a 3&2 success over Danny Willett. He lost his final game however.

Last time in 2019, he halved with Jordan Spieth before beating Bubba Watson. Victory over Kevin Na in the final game would have put Horschel through but he lost on the 17th. Reflecting on his game with Spieth, Horschel said: "I felt like I outplayed Jordan, but sometimes it doesn't work that way."

In short, he's been competitive and the draw looks fairly kind this year. Horschel is in Group 4 with Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and J.T. Poston and he's helped by that trio being first-timers in the event.

If successful, Horschel would then take on one of Viktor Hovland, Abraham Ancer, Bernd Wiesberger and Kevin Streelman for a place in the last eight.

All in all, 32nd seed Horschel looks a spot of value at 70/1 given those eight each-way places.

Final Bet: Brian Harman each-way @ 71.070/1

I'll pick another 70/1 shot in Brian Harman.

The left-hander had plenty of TV coverage at TPC Sawgrass where he played some excellent golf to finish tied third in The Players Championship.

A couple of things stood out from that performance.

Firstly, his putter was hot. Harman gained 7.280 strokes on the green to rank 1st in SG: Putting. As with Henley, that confidence on the greens could take him far.

Secondly, the 2017 US Open runner-up also displayed the type of chippy attitude that is a good fit for match play. Harman left us in no doubt how he was feeling and that combination of spikiness and a warm putter could get under opponents' skin.

The other big plus is his performance in the 2018 edition here, his only start in the event.

Harman started slowly by halving with Jhonattan Vegas but then blasted Peter Uihlein 3&3 before thrashing an in-form Rory McIlroy 5&3.

"I played extremely well," said Harman. "I'm proud of the way I came out. Rory is an intimidating guy. He hits it a mile. Especially what he did last week (won at Bay Hill). I kind of had this circled this week and I'm glad I came out and played well."

Brian Harman Sony Open 2018 - 1280.jpg

That victory secured Harman a place in the knockout phase and there was no disgrace in losing his last 16 clash to Bubba Watson, who went on to won the tournament.

The price looks big at 70 and it's explained by a tough draw.

Harman, the 54th seed, is in Group 10 with Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama and Carlos Ortiz. If he wins it, his potential last 16 rivals are Patrick Reed, Bubba again and Christian Bezuidenhout.

Yep, it's tricky but Harman outscored them all on Dye's most famous track, TPC Sawgrass, and he looks an interesting dark horse this week.

Dave's 2020/2021 P/L

Staked: £720.00
Returned: £547.12
P/L: -£172.88

2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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