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WGC-Cadillac Championship Preview and Picks


By: Tony Acosta
Date: Mar 3, 2015
   
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Padraig Harrington defeated Daniel Berger in a playoff at the Honda Classic that ended up being a Monday finish due to weather to claim his first win since 2008. The tour continues on the Florida swing, heading to Doral this week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship. This is the second straight event that features a star-studded field with close to the entire top 50 in the world playing. With the Match Play pushed back to April, this is the first World Golf Championship event in 2015.

The Doral-Blue Monster Course is an interesting one. It has the reputation of causing havoc and on occasion, it does that to some but a lot of that is due to the intimidating finishing hole. Last year, the whole course took a new look as Gil Hanse oversaw a complete redesign. Doral seemed to get progressively easier over the years and the easy greens were part of that but we saw the difference last year. It was the hardest non-major event in two years, averaging +1.85 strokes to par.

This is the 11th year that the WGC event has been played here but Doral has been a host course since 1962 which is one of the longest runs on tour. There are only 70 players in the field this week which means there is no cut on the weekend and players are more likely to take chances they would not normally do. Weather should not be a factor this week like it was last week with only sight chances of rain and the unlikelihood of big winds that we saw at the Honda last week and at Doral last year on Friday.

Of the field of 70, 41 players from last year are back while there are 17 players taking their maiden voyage at Doral. What does that mean? Considering Patrick Reed won last year in first time here, we can't blindly count out first timers although experience here is a huge deal. For those not qualifying at Doral, many will be teeing it up in Rio Grande at the Puerto Rico Open but for our segment this week, we will be sticking with the WGC event.

Dustin Johnson (+2,000) was one of many big names to miss the weekend last week which shows how bad the weather really was. Prior to the Honda, he had a pair of top four finishes including a playoff loss so his comeback was firmly in place. The fact that he missed the cut helps him as the rest is a benefit. He has been here the past five years and had a solo second in 2011 and a T4 last year.

Reed showed that solid recent play can trump experience here and we are banking on Hideki Matsuyama (+3,700) for that. He has three top four finishes in 2015, a T2, T3 and a T4 so he is playing great. He took last week off which others probably wishing they did as well so he comes in fresh. He did start here last year and finished T34 which isn't horrible as a Friday 77 did him in.

A forgotten name of late has been Matt Kuchar (+4,000) as he has taken some time off following the WMPO. He followed up a T17 at the Hyundai TOC with a T3 at the Sony and a T2 at the Humana Challenge so he is still in top form. He has done very well at Doral as his worst finish the last five years is a T35. His other four starts have resulted in a T3, solo fifth, T8 and T13.

Justin Rose (+4,000) is another player getting some very solid value because of two missed cuts to start his season. One because of an injured thumb prior to the Farmers and one last week should have him pretty hungry at Doral. He has played here the last four years with a T42 and a T35 bookended around a win in 2012 and a T8 in 2013. The two average finishes both included one round of 77.

Not making the cut last week at the Honda Classic is giving Charl Schwartzel (+11,000) some incredible odds. We can throw out missing the cut last week as the weather played havoc on many big names. Schwartzel is one of 14 players to have been here in each of the last five years and has the best average finish at 11.0. He has three top tens including a T2 and a T4.

Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the WGC-Cadillac Championship - All for 1 Unit

Dustin Johnson (+2,000)
Hideki Matsuyama (+3,700)
Matt Kuchar (+4,000)
Justin Rose (+4,000)
Charl Schwartzel (+11,000)

2015 Record to date after 7 events: +30.5 Units

Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Humana Challenge +24 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units
Farmers Insurance Open +8.5 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am +18 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
Honda Classic -5 Units
 


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