Home Golf Richard Bland hopes to script Cinderella story at Match Play

Richard Bland hopes to script Cinderella story at Match Play

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AUSTIN, Texas – Richard Bland doesn’t fancy himself a basketball fan – he’s from the different U.Ok. – however he is aware of sufficient in regards to the sport to understand the comparability. As 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s get set for its Candy 16 matchup Friday night time with Purdue on the hardwood, Bland is hoping for some March insanity of his personal on the WGC-Dell Match Play.

Just like the Peacocks, Bland, who final 12 months wore a swan-logoed hat on the U.S. Open, is the final word flier.

“No one’s expecting me to get through,” Bland mentioned Tuesday morning at Austin Nation Membership, the place he’s competing because the No. 54 seed.

A number of moments earlier, Bland had been hitting balls subsequent to his first-day opponent, Bryson DeChambeau, who headlines a bunch that features Bland, Talor Gooch and Lee Westwood. It wasn’t intentional – “I was here first,” Bland contended with a chuckle – however the scene provided a small preview of the juxtaposition that can be on show Wednesday.

It’s Bryson Ball vs. Bland Golf.


Matches and scoring from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship


DeChambeau, although banged up, is a bodily specimen whose energy good points have been effectively documented. He’s obtained his personal YouTube and TikTok crews, and he’s continuously tinkering with alternative ways to play the sport.

Bland, who at 49 is 21 years older than DeChambeau, is a plodder, prefers pinot noir to protein shakes and is planning on qualifying for the PGA Tour Champions at 12 months’s finish. He’s had the identical swing coach, Tim Barter, for many years, and it’s not unusual for the 2 to go months with out a lesson.

“We just keep things very, very simple,” Bland says. “I call it low maintenance. Tim always tells me, ‘I want you to make me redundant.’”

Whereas DeChambeau owns a serious championship amongst his eight profession Tour victories, it took Bland till final 12 months – and 478 begins – to interrupt by means of on Europe’s highest circuit. DeChambeau averaged 323.7 yards off the tee final season, main the Tour, whereas Bland, in restricted begins, completed at 287.2.

With regards to his sport plan, Bland isn’t calling any type of full-court press. As a substitute, he’s aiming to gradual the tempo and attempting to win with small ball.

Here is a have a look at the matchups and tee occasions for Day 1 of the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play.

“I know I’m hitting my second shots in first tomorrow, and that’s fine,” Bland mentioned. “I can’t get too drawn into what Bryson does. I’ve simply gotta do what I do rather well … I drive the ball just a little bit shorter than he does, however I’d prefer to assume that I’m going to be in play more often than not. After which once I get the scoring golf equipment in my fingers, that’s the place I’ve gotta be excellent this week. At any time when I’ve a wedge in my hand, if I can get that in shut and put some stress on him, then who is aware of.

“We play two completely different games, but that’s the beauty of match play, isn’t it? He’s the favorite, of course he is, but he’s got a game on his hands.”

If Bland’s shining second on the Betfred British Masters final Might proved that he might win, his early rivalry ultimately summer season’s U.S. Open – he held a share of the lead by means of 36 holes at Torrey Pines, the oldest to ever achieve this in that championship – demonstrated that he might contend on the most important levels in opposition to the most important stars.

He’ll possible want that giant-killing self-belief to navigate his technique to Sunday’s last. For Bland, he’d accept punching his ticket into the quarterfinals. At No. 60 within the Official World Golf Rating, the Englishman believes he must make the ultimate eight to climb into the highest 50 and earn his first Masters invite.

Bland has by no means performed Augusta Nationwide. He and his brother had been invited two years in the past by a member, however three days earlier than they had been set to fly in, the pandemic shuttered the nation. They took a rain test and had been alleged to money that on this week – till final January when Bland misplaced in a playoff to Viktor Hovland in Dubai and shot up the world rankings. “Sorry, bro,” Bland quipped.

Now, Bland is at this World Golf Championship with an opportunity to show one spherical at Augusta Nationwide into – probably – 4 in what would really be a Cinderella story.

“I’ve just gotta enjoy it,” Bland mentioned. “I have nothing to lose. Hopefully, if I can have a great week, there’s a chance of getting to Augusta.”

If he succeeds, Bland can be reducing down the metaphorical nets this weekend at Austin Nation Membership.



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