Philip Reid’s lowdown: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

Séamus Power makes his debut with Shane Lowry among strong field

The course: Austin Country Club – 7,108 yards, Par 71 – is a Pete Dye design on the banks of the Colorado River (incorporating Lake Austin) with the Pennybacker Bridge a notable backdrop on a number of holes. Dye's design included a large number of strategically placed deep bunkering. There are a number of standout holes, including the 12th – IronBridge – where players are tempted to rip long drives to the downhill-running fairway while the finishing par-five 18th is a risk/reward hole perfect for matchplay, should matches get that far.

The field: Although there are a number of high-profile absentees as players elect to plot the preferred route forward to the Masters in a fortnight's time – with Rory McIlroy, Sam Burns, Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama and Harris English among those exempt but opting not to play – the field is nevertheless a strong one headed by world number one Jon Rahm and includes all five from the world's top-five.

Quote-Unquote: "The biggest thing I learned last year is I was three-putting. I was making stupid bogeys. I was putting myself in bad positions when I might have been in the middle of the fairway and sometimes, when you force issues, sometimes it's risk-reward. Sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don't. And I just compounded those mistakes. And that's what you can't do" – Collin Morikawa looking to learn from mistakes of last year, when he finished bottom of his group.

Irish in the field: Séamus Power, making his debut in the championship, opens his group campaign with a match against Sungjae Im (6.33pm Irish time); Shane Lowry's first group match is against Harold Varner III (7.39pm).

Betting: Jon Rahm, still searching for his first win of the year and trying to sort out a cool putter, is the market leader at 12/1, but Justin Thomas – who let the Valspar slip away down the stretch – looks a more likely favourite although odds of 14/1 are also a bit tight. Course specialist Kevin Kisner (winner in 2019 and runner-up in 2018) has three top-10s already on tour this year and is a 40/1 shot but must make it out of Thomas's group. Alex Noren is a potential dark horseand worth a little look at odds of 50/1.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports Golf (live coverage from 2.15pm).

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times

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