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Golf Expert Picks: Accenture Match Play Championship


Each week during the official PGA Tour season, CBSSports.com's Steve Elling identifies nine players to watch in three distinct categories -- favorites, tweeners and long shots. The picks are based on a combination of homework, guesswork and just plain instinct. Odds cited courtesy of Golfodds.com and Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

At Marana, Arizona par 72.

Sergio Garcia
Yeah, yeah. The same emotion that makes him such a match-play favorite can also derail him faster than a sidehill five-footer for par. Yet Garcia shot 64 on Sunday at Riviera, climbing to T4, his best U.S. finish in months. Odds: (20/1)
Luke Donald
Like countryman Ian Poulter (see below), Donald hasnít done much in his first two starts of 2012, but as the defending champ and an emerging Ryder Cup fixture, itís stupid to overlook his steady, consistent style. Odds: (15/1)
Tiger Woods
No player has won more matches (32) in this event than Woods, and nobody has three victories in it, either. The guy is hard to beat, nose to nose, despite what Phil Mickelson did at Torrey. Can he still hole the big putts? Odds: (12/1)

Under the Radar
Martin Kaymer
The Germanator finished second here to Donald last year, moved to No. 1 in the world, and has a 7-4 record in this event. Heís been T9 and T13 in his last two starts in Europe, and lives in nearby Scottsdale. Odds: (20/1)
Ian Poulter
The colorful Englishman hasnít sniffed contention in his two U.S. appearances, finishing T45 or worse, but heís a different cat in match play. Past Accenture champ is a veritable English lion in the Ryder Cup, for instance. Odds: (30/1)
David Toms
With 23 match wins, only Woods has more victories at the Accenture event than does Toms, who plays to his strengths and doesnít often give away holes to his foe. In some ways, thatís as important as making birdies. Heís 9-1 in first round. Odds: (80/1)

Dark Horses for Courses
Nick Watney
There are no sleepers in a field of the worldís top 64. Watney is not the flashiest guy, but the forever-underrated Californian has finished T-9 in each of the past two years at Dove Mountain. Odds: (40/1)
Geoff Ogilvy
You know all you need to know by Wednesday night. Usually, if Ogilvy survives the first few hours, heís around for long haul. Is 20-4 at this event, though heís off to a slow start in 2012. Odds: (40/1)
Matt Kuchar
Itís been an unusually quiet 2012 to date for Kuchar, who showed signs of contending last week in L.A. before falling back on the weekend. In two Accenture starts, though, heís finished third and T17. Odds: (40/1)


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