Sleeper Picks: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Alexander Noren ... The 13th seed in the Jones bracket draws a scuffling Dustin Johnson in the first round. In fact, the Swede is the only golfer from his half of the bracket of eight golfers that didn't withdraw or miss the cut in his most recent start. Noren's bright spot on the recent Desert Swing on the European Tour was a T4 at Doha Golf Club, a track that he may recall this week given the course in Qatar planted some 10,000 cacti shipped from Arizona. His strength is converting on an above average number of birdie opportunities. Finished eighth in putting on his circuit in 2012.
Fredrik Jacobson ... Sleeper in seed only. The last man in the field before the commitment deadline rose to 45th overall in the pecking order after sharing third place at the Northern Trust Open on Sunday to secure his second straight top 10. Slotted as the 12-seed in the Hogan bracket, the Swede will face Ernie Els in the opening round. After three straight years of one-and-out, The Big Easy hasn't lost in the first round in all four editions at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain, but the Junkman currently leads the PGA TOUR in strokes gained-putting, sits second in adjusted scoring and ranks T11 in bogey avoidance.
George Coetzee ... The 26-year-old South African continues to ascend in the world ranking despite remaining winless on the European Tour. In his last 12 starts, he's logged eight top 10s, including in each of his last four. Ranks 10th on his circuit in distance off the tee, 27th in greens hit, 13th in putting and fifth in scoring average. Martin Kaymer will have his hands full in his opening-round match with Coetzee who is seeded 10th.
Thorbjorn Olesen ... The Dane was only nine years old when the first edition of the WGC-Accenture was contested in 1999. His challenger in the opening round in the Snead bracket this week, Jamie Donaldson, is 14 years Olesen's senior and turned pro in 2000, yet both are making their debuts in the event. Olesen shared runner-up honors (behind Donaldson) in Abu Dhabi last month and later tied for third in Dubai. There's a groundswell of American support for the fresh-faced 23-year-old with the funky name and perma-smile. The 10-seed could make some noise on the backbone of his confident putting stroke.