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Zurich Classic Matchups: Back the Aussies

The PGA Tour will tackle a special look this week as gamers head to TPC Louisiana for the Zurich Classic. For these of you who don’t religiously observe all issues golf, you might be unaware of this week’s format. Let me clarify.

The Zurich Classic was revamped after the 2016 event. Starting in 2017, the occasion formally changed into a team-event, that means in an effort to take part, a participant should pair up with one other participant. The two-man groups play a mixture of best-ball and alternate shot. If these sound overseas to you, they’re the similar codecs performed the first couple days of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup; nevertheless, they’re known as Four-ball and Foursomes. In whole, 160 gamers (80 groups) will tee it up, with the top-33 (and ties) groups making the lower.

The order of the taking part in codecs has modified all through the years. They have settled on best-ball being performed in Rounds 1 and three and alternate shot happening in Rounds 2 and 4. Best-ball presents the greatest alternative for groups to go low and doubtlessly put up a sub-60 quantity. Alternate shot, whereas harder, might very nicely be the distinction this week and much more so in the case of these head-to-head matchups.

Head-to-Head Matchups (Odds through PointsBet Sportsbook)

Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith (-125) over Collin Morikawa/Matthew Wolff

Surprisingly, the two Australians didn’t play a single match collectively in the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Captain Ernie Els had Leishman play mentor and as an alternative paired him with the likes of Sungjae Im, Abraham Ancer, and Haotong Li. But belief me after I say these two have performed loads of golf collectively and will thrive on this format.

Smith received the inaugural occasion in 2017 alongside Jonas Blixt and whereas Leishman struggled in best-ball at Royal Melbourne, he went 1-0-1 in alternate shot. Both of those gamers could make birdies in bunches, nevertheless it’s the alternate shot format the place I believe they are going to separate themselves on this matchup. Combine Leishman’s regular iron play with Smith’s unworldly brief sport and these two shouldn’t discover a lot hassle when taking part in the harder format in Rounds 2 and 4.

Morikawa and Wolff might want to make their hay in best-ball and maintain on for expensive life in alternate shot. I anticipate this duo to make loads of birdies, but additionally loads of errors. Wolff is in the midst of a significant droop the place he’s unable to seek out the face of the planet off the tee and his typical struggles from round the greens have continued. Morikawa, whereas arguably the greatest iron participant in the world, seemed uncomfortable on the greens final week at Harbour Town. That’s not a mixture I really like and can as an alternative aspect with the steadier Australians on this one.

Editor’s Note: Don’t overlook to obtain the NBC Sports EDGE app to obtain real-time participant information and updates. Plus, it permits you to simply observe your favourite gamers. Get it here!

Viktor Hovland/Kristoffer Ventura (-120) over Dylan Frittelli/Kevin Streelman

Hovland and Ventura might very nicely be my favourite crew of the week. Former junior golf opponents turned school teammates; this duo has performed loads of golf collectively relationship again to their childhoods in Norway. Their lengthy friendship is just a part of the motive that I really like the Oklahoma State alumnus.

We’ve grown accustomed to Hovland’s strong ball-striking and electrical smile. Some of us could also be unfamiliar with Ventura, however that doesn’t imply he’s not a gamer in his personal proper. Ventura’s strengths are two-fold, lengthy irons and placing. Ventura’s putter has the means to bail these two out in the event that they get into hassle in alternate shot, nevertheless it’s his competence with the lengthy irons that has me excited. Whether it’s the par 3’s, which all measure over 200 yards, or second photographs into par 5’s, lengthy irons will probably be important this week and that performs proper into these two’s palms.

This will not be a lot a fade of Frittelli and Streelman, however extra so a testomony to how a lot I really like Hovland and Ventura. Frittelli and Streelman simply occur to be on the different aspect of the matchup. In these crew occasions, it’s uncommon to win with out no less than one significantly good putter. This crew merely doesn’t have that. While their video games do complement one another, I believe the Norwegians will probably be an excessive amount of to beat.

Talor Gooch/Max Homa (+110) over Cameron Champ/Tony Finau

I at all times like to focus on no less than one plus cash matchup. It is of my opinion, that outdoors of the prime favorites, Gooch and Homa are the most full crew. Both are extraordinarily proficient iron gamers and that ought to bode nicely for them in each codecs. They’ll make loads of birdies in best-ball and I might not be stunned they shoot a few rounds in the mid-60’s in alternate shot.

If I needed to describe the crew of Champ and Finau, they’re the shiny automotive in the dealership window. You see the names subsequent to one another, perceive that each can hit it a mile, and which may be sufficient to attract you in. In essence, they possess loads of horsepower, however I’m not shopping for it. Both gamers have been struggling as of late. While Champ and Finau had strong performances of their final begins at The Masters, the inconsistent play is a significant purple flag.

They do have some expertise collectively as they teamed up for the QBE Shootout not too way back and completed T-5 out of 12 groups. That seems to be good on paper, however most of the injury was carried out in Round 1, which was a scramble format. They received’t have that luxurious this week and that might pose as a problem, particularly on the greens, the place each of them are likely to wrestle.

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