Matt Fitzpatrick hasn’t quite been himself of late, but I see his fortunes reversing at Austin Country Club.
He played well here last year, coming up just shy of advancing to the bracket stage.
Fitzpatrick beat fellow Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood 1UP and smoked Ian Poulter 4&2. In a must-win match for Scottie Scheffler, Scheffler won 5&4.
Both finished 2-1-0 in the group to necessitate a sudden-death playoff. It went six holes before Scheffler hung on to win and advance all the way to becoming a champion.
The No.11 Fitzpatrick avoids Scheffler this year and gets a fairly decent draw.
No. 28 Sahith Theegala, No. 41 Min Woo Lee, and No. 61 JJ Spaun round out the group. Two are new to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and Lee is making just his second appearance.
Theegala is the biggest threat with four top-10s so far in his sophomore season.
Lee played well in his last start at the Players Championship (T-6th), but overall the Aussie hasn’t played great in the U.S.
Spaun was one of the last players to make it in the field. Since breaking through for his first PGA Tour win at last year’s Valero Texas Open, Spaun has just two top-10s and only one in a full-field event.
It may take extra holes, but I see Fitzpatrick moving on.
That’s where I see him meeting No. 23 Tom Hoge, who I see upsetting No. 6 Xander Schauffele in the group stage.
The luck runs out for Hoge in a close one to the more battle-tested Fitzpatrick.
That leads to a quarterfinal match with potential Ryder Cup teammate and Englishman, Tyrrell Hatton.
Hatton is on a tear of late and will wear down Fitzy to move on.