Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Jordan Spieth  (Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth (Getty Images)

World Number One Jordan Spieth expects to face a tough European challenge when he goes in search of a first World Golf Championships title at the WGC-Dell Match Play this week.

The 22 year old has two Major Championships and a FedEx Cup to his name but has yet to taste victory at the World Golf Championships in his short but sparkling career so far.

To claim victory this week at Austin Country Club, the American must progress from a group that contains European Tour Members and Ryder Cup stars Jamie Donaldson and Victor Dubuisson, as well as his friend Justin Thomas.

Spieth, Donaldson and Dubuisson all made their Ryder Cup debuts at Gleneagles in 2014, when Europe claimed the trophy for the third time in a row, with the Welshman claiming the vital point against Keegan Bradley thanks to a brilliant approach to the 15th.

Dubuisson also has some match play pedigree, finishing second in this event in 2014 after taking Jason Day to a 23rd hole in the final, and Spieth has compared the flamboyant Frenchman to the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

"I thought it was a difficult group," he said. "There's no easy group, but I thought I got a difficult draw. Justin is a great player. We had fun on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately only one gets to advance.

"Victor, obviously with the success at this tournament, and I think with tougher conditions it's an advantage to him. It's an advantage to his game. He's Seve-like in what he can do around the greens.

"And then I've watched Jamie first-hand in that final match of the Ryder Cup. It's a tough match play bracket."

World Number Two Jason Day also comes up against two European Tour Members in Graeme McDowell and Thongchai Jaidee, while he also faces a European Ryder Cup winner in Paul Casey.

"I feel like I've got a pretty tough group," he said. "You can't underestimate any player in the field here.

"But Paul's got an outstanding match play record. Graeme, who is a Ryder Cup player, and has won the Volvo Match Play over in Europe. And then Thongchai, you can't underestimate guys like them, because they're here for a reason, they're playing good golf."

Another man playing good golf at the moment is Adam Scott, the Australian having claimed the first World Golf Championships event of the year at the WGC-Cadillac Championship just over two weeks ago.

And the 35 year old believes having a good week on the greens will be vital to grabbing a third WGC win of his career.

"In match play, putting is a huge thing," he said. "If you're hot with the putter, even if you're not playing your best, you're hard to beat. So hopefully the putter is hot for some matches this week and I can get through."

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