Austin Country Club is the venue for the second WGC event of the year as a star-studded field battle it out for the Dell Technologies Match Play title, and Bubba Watson looks well set to defend his trophy as he aims to etch his name in the record books.
American Watson will be looking to become just the second person to successfully defend the title – Tiger Woods being the only player to achieve this feat to date – and he arrives in Austin on the back of a solid performance last week.
The 40-year-old finished tied-fourth at the Valspar Championship, his second top-10 of the season, and a return to the course he triumphed on 12 months ago could provide that extra spark need for glory.
Austin suits the Florida-born star’s game very well but he will need to be firing to make it through Group 15, having been drawn with Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel and Kevin Na
World number 31 Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who reached the semi-finals of this event back in 2016, has been producing some consistent golf this season and his run of results in 2019 read as T11-MC-T22-T25-T19-T3-MC-T30.
That tied-third finish came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Spaniard will be hoping to draw inspiration from that performance, having failed to get past the group stages in the last two editions of the Match Play.
Being able to stay composed in pressure situations is very important in this format and he proved he is capable of that at the 2016 Ryder Cup, where he was undefeated in his four matches on debut.
In terms of the draw, Cabrera-Bello has been put in Group 9 with Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood and the Las Palmas-born star will be confident of booking his place in the quarter-finals.
Ian Poulter is undoubtedly one of the best Match Play players in the world and you only have to look at his Ryder Cup record to see this, with the Englishman unbeaten in his six singles duels – winning five and halving one.
The 43-year-old is a big favourite of the WGC event and he managed to lift the trophy in 2010 when beating compatriot Paul Casey 4&2 in the final, while he has also reached the semi-finals twice and was a quarter-finalist last year.
Making his 14th appearance this week, it is hard to ignore Poulter when it comes to this kind of tournament and it would be no surprise to see him come out as the top Englishman at the very least.
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