Welcome to a bonus preview edition for the most anticipated tournament of the weekend. No, not the 3M Open, The Match. We are putting our pride and a yet to be determined amount of units on the line for a Golf Twitter community match on the hallowed grounds of Bethpage State Park on Long Island, NY. This event will not be held on the Black, but rather the Yellow, which for all intents and purposes, is the opposite caliber of a test.
The format for The Match is Modified Alternate Shot Match Play. Pars Gained will be critical, Recent form on the range is key, and Course History will come into play. The prop market is popping this week, and you’re going to need to read up on the stats below to make sure you’re prepared if you’re looking to find an edge on the market.
Bethpage Yellow Course Specs
- Yards: 6,288
- Par: 71 (4x 3’s / 11x 4’s / 3x 5’s)
- Greens: Rye
- Fairways: Rye
- Architect: Alfred Tull
- Comp Courses: Port Royal GC, TPC Deere Run, Bethpage Black
Standing just a hair above 6,200 yeards from the tips, Bethpage Yellow is a plotter’s paradise, sure to neutralize the field off the tee from a Driving Distance standpoint. There is just one Par 4 on the course standing over 400 yards long, so P4: 300-400 will be crucial.
The last time I personally set foot on an Alfred Tull designed golf course, I fired a career low 68 at Turtle Hill Golf Club in Bermuda, which has given myself the reputation of an Alfred Tull specialist for most of my career. As a very small caveat to that point, Turtle Hill is an 18-hole Par 3 course, and a Par 54 in total. But, as the very popular saying in golf goes, all 68s are created equal.
Looking at comp courses this week, we’ve got Port Royal, another plotter’s track in Bermuda which plays as the shortest on Tour, TPC Deere Run, which is a tree-lined, Par 71, second shot course that asks for less-than-driver off the tee on most shots, and Bethpage Black, which is actually nothing like the Yellow, but is several steps away in proximity.
Looking at SG: P – Rye L36, Brian Kirschner enters The Match with a distinct advantage over the field, having practiced on these same greens daily in tireless preparation for this event. An important wildcard to look out for when handicapping The Match is whether the greens will be aerated, as that will serve as a great equalizer to the field with less experience.
- Pars Gained
- Double Bogey Avoidance
- SG: APP
- Driving Accuracy
- Prox 75-100
- Par 4 Scoring
- Recent Form (Reps on the driving range)
- SG: Putting (Rye)
- SG: P (0-5ft)
Stats To Avoid
- Driving Distance
- SG: TOT – Difficult Scoring conditions
The #1 stat I’m feeding into the model this week is Pars Gained. If you are able to string together a couple of par streaks, you are likely to win this match, as the bar is not set particularly high. Many have referred to Bethpage Yellow as a strategist’s course that cannot be over-powered or bomb & gouged, so course experience and the ability to set up second shot Par opportunities will be critical.
Normally in the Match Play format, Double Bogeys will not kill you, but given the field’s volatility, there will be more than one hole where Bogey is enough to win, or at least push, so staying away from bladed wedges and three putts will be crucial to stay in the match.
In terms of stats to avoid, the lack of distance on the scorecard should remove any advantage with driver and level the playing field for the plotters in the group. Additionally, SG: TOT in Difficult Scoring conditions is not applicable for the Yellow, so although Andy Lack comes into this week holding the course record at Bandon Dunes, that ability to grind is not expected to translate to Bethpage Yellow’s hallowed grounds.
What To Expect at The Match
In the modified alternating shot format, this is a dead heat coming in with Team Jerz+Tout & Team Lack+Kirschner opening at Even odds.
The team composition in this matchup are eerily similar to what we saw most recently at The Match 3.0, which pitted Team Curry & Manning up against Team Mickelson & Barkley . Here’s a full breakdown of how the team builds stack up.
John Haslbauer (@PGATout)
- Handicap: 8
- PGA Player Comp: Cameron Champ
- The Match 3.0 Player Comp: Steph Curry
A true boom or bust player, I enter The Match with scores of 83, 90, and 78 in my 3 prior starts. I will contest that the volatility is directly correlated with lack of pre-round driving range preparation and hangover severity, but with the stakes as high as they are for this match, neither excuse will be viable for this Saturday.
Some are referring to me as a course horse due to the fact that I played my high school matches at Bethpage, and majority of them coming on the Front 9 of the Yellow Course. In that sense, it will be crucial for Team Jerz+Tout to get out to a hot early start to capitalize on that course history. While I’ve played the Front 9 of Bethpage Yellow 30+ times, I’ve only played a full 18 on the course on 2 or 3 occasions.
Another wild card to consider is that fact that it’s been 10 years since I last played the Yellow in High School, and have since gone through a Bryson-esque transformation, adding over 80 yards to the driver since then by way of late onset puberty and a progressively slower metabolism. The driving distance will be there, the driving accuracy will be questionable, the irons and putter will be up and down, and the wedges around the green will be a horror show.
Matt Gannon (@JerzWayBetting)
- Handicap: 10
- PGA Player Comp: Patrick Reed
- The Match 3.0 Player Comp: Peyton Manning
This will be an away game for Matt, with some sharps factoring in travel fatigue from a ~2 hour drive out from New Jersey across the Hudson to Bethpage. While relatively new to the Long Island terrain, Matt rides in with excellent form on the heels of a 77 at Gambler Ridge GC two weeks ago. Reminiscent of Patrick Reed (who has a win at Bethpage to his name by the way), Matt’s game is defined by deft touch around the greens, consistent control off the tee, and the ability to catch fire with the flat stick.
If this were a scramble, Team Jerz+Tout would be perfect complements, filling in the holes in each other’s respective games. Even still in the Modified Alternate Shot format, the pairing should be able to strategically maneuver around for 18 holes and put up a better fight than Team Curry & Manning produced in The Match 3.0.
Andy Lack (@adplacksports)
- Handicap: 2
- PGA Player Comp: Tiger Woods (2000)
- The Match 3.0 Player Comp: Phil Mickelson
Andy is a man amongst boys in this matchup, as a head and shoulders talent above the field, assuming the Phil Mickelson-equivalent role of The Match 3.0 comp. Though seceding course history honors to myself and Brian, Andy compensates with hot recent form, and Match Play history entering this matchup just days removed from a highly publicized bout with Nagels Bagels vs Chris Powers & Stephen Hennessey.
Andy made a living in his amateur career waxing current members of the Korn Ferry Tour and made the decision in 2021 to turn down his PGA Tour card* in favor of a career in Golf Betting & Fantasy content. With a swing modeled after vintage Justin Thomas, Andy has drawn comps to 2000 Tiger Woods from those who have scouted him. With Bethpage Yellow offering several less-than driver holes, Andy will be able to lean into his self-proclaimed secret weapon, the driving iron, to avoid trouble on this tree-lined track.
Brian Kirschner (@BrianKirschner_)
- Handicap: 20
- PGA Player Comp: Satoshi Kodaira
- The Match 3.0 Player Comp: Charles Barkley
Kirschner and Kodaira are spitting images of each other. If you left your glasses at home, you would not be able to tell the difference. Both players sacrifice distance for precision off the tee, can catch a hot streak with the irons and putter, and combine for one career PGA Tour victory between them. As a Long Island native, The Match will be played in Brian’s backyard of Bethpage State Park, so he’ll have a significant edge on the field as the resident course horse. A mainstay in the upper 90s, Brian is a model of consistency at Bethpage Yellow, entering The Match in good form coming off a 27-over 98 in his last appearance. With many referring to the Yellow as a Strategists Course that cannot be over-powered, Kirschner will lean on that experience to coach his pairing through The Match.