Niall Lyons has put together a 9/1 treble for the first round of matches at the WGC Match Play in Texas.
20:01 Kim v Noren
First up I like the 10/11 about Tom Kim to beat Alex Noren. Noren has one of the best match play records in the entire field and with a win rate of close to 70% from 16 matches here at Austin he can certainly be considered dangerous.
However, recent form plays a fair part in this event also and his latest efforts are a sign all is not right. Missed cuts at the Phoenix, Arnold Palmer and The Players have been worrying, especially because his work off the tee has been abysmal. 61st at the Arnold Palmer was only rescued by an impressive putter.
Quite frankly his form has dropped off a cliff and although Tom Kim hasn't pulled up any trees lately he looks worthy of support in this match. A return to a short, desert-type golf course should suit and whilst Noren has missed three of four cuts, Kim has made all of those four. He was one of few Internationals to shine at last years Presidents Cup and he should have enough to dispose of the struggling Swede.
19:28 Im v McNealy
I'll double down on Maverick McNealy having backed him in the outright as I make him slight value to get the better of Sungjae Im. McNealy took down one of the fancied, in-form runners in this last year, Joaquin Niemann by beating him comprehensively eight & six.
The American boasts a huge weapon in this format with his putter and remains unbeaten from three matches here. Sungjae Im has lost five of eight matches at Austin and looks vulnerable to a player who may begin to build a reputation at this layout just when it is being removed from the schedule.
17:27 Lowry v Montgomery
Finally, we'll add Taylor Montgomery to get the better of Shane Lowry. The Irishman has a worrying trend with his putter and has largely struggled since winning at Wentworth in September. He failed to back up a good four days at the weak Honda event finishing 67th at Bayhill and 35th at Sawgrass. He is another with a poor record here winning only two of 12 matches.
Montgomery continues to absolutely obliterate fields on the greens with consistency only the best in the game can dream of. When he ever finds form with his irons this lad will be a top 10 player in the world. Until then his putter should continue to bridge any gaps in other departments of his game and up against Lowry he has a big chance to make his mark here on debut.