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Devil Ball Golf

Five first round Accenture match play winners we like

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Tiger Woods, Charles Howell III — Getty Images

The golf world rarely gets a chance to pick round match-ups and actually see the guys go head-to-head with one winner walking away. Match play does that, and this week at the Accenture we get to see the best in the world take over the desert in Marana in hopes of escaping match after match victorious. Each day we will pick a few matches we like against the spread. We start with the opening round that kicks off on Wednesday.

Hunter Mahan (-160) over Matteo Manassero -- At one point on Sunday at Riviera, it looked like Mahan was going to snag his sixth PGA Tour win of his career, and while he stumbled down the stretch, I still like his T-8 heading into an event he won a season ago. Mahan has taken down Manassero in this event before, and I see him rolling again on Wednesday.

Ian Poulter (-220) over Stephen Gallacher -- I hate odds this high in any match, because the Accenture is so unpredictable, but Poulter, winner of this event in 2010, seems ready to buck the trend of dropping in the first round to a rather unknown. The number is big here, but I like Poulter to advance comfortably.

Chris Wood (+150) over Bubba Watson -- We all love seeing Bubba advance in this format, because his "driver on every hole" mentality seems to work on this course, but I like the number for Wood, especially after Watson made just two birdies in 36 holes at Riviera (both being on par-5s). Watson has been struggling to stay healthy this season, and while I think he has a shot at winning this match, I like the number for Wood, who has already won this year on the European Tour.

Ryan Moore (-120) over Jim Furyk -- Despite being so close to his alma mater, it seems Furyk and match play just don't mix. In the last eight Accenture events, Furyk has lost in the first round five times and has only made it out of the second round once in that stretch, so basically you're betting that this streak continues and Moore, who played well at Riviera until Sunday, can give Furyk another early exit.

Charles Howell III (+180) over Tiger Woods -- It's a silly pick if the odds were even, but at nearly 2-to-1, why wouldn't you lay some dough on CHIII? He missed the cut at Riviera, but before that was having one of the best starts to a season of his career, and with Tiger's recent track record of early exits at Dove Mountain, it wouldn't surprise me if it happened again.

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