Get to know: 23-year-old Victor Dubuisson making a name for himself at the WGC-Match Play
MARANA, Ariz. -- He took down Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter in Turkey last November, has risen to No. 30 in the World (ahead of Bill Haas and Lee Westwood) and will be playing in the Masters in April.
Even so, American golf fans probably don't know much about Victor Dubuisson, who knocked off Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Ernie Els in succession to make it to the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship).
(__Update:__Dubuisson lost to Jason Day in 23 holes, but not without winning more fans in the process. He rallied from 2 down with two holes to play to force extra holes, and made two otherworldly up-and-downs in overtime to extend the match even further).
Let us, then, try to help. In his last four European Tour events, the 23-year-old Frenchman has three top 5s and a T-20. For his success, he has made 1.406 million Euros (the equivalent to $1.93 million). That's a lot of cash for four tournaments!
Dubuisson is 3-0 in his first appearance at the WGC-Match Play after beating fellow bomber Bubba Watson in the Sweet 16. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Some more things you should know about Dubuisson:
-- He is the former No. 1 amateur golfer in the world. He won the 2009 European Amateur. Former winners include Sergio Garcia (1995) and Rory McIlroy (2006).
-- Prior to the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Dubuisson had not played any match-play tournaments as a pro. On Wednesday, he took down Kevin Streelman, 5 and 4, and started his Thursday match against Ryder Cupper Peter Hanson with three birdies before holding on for a 3-and-1 win. His strategy against Hanson? Pretend it was a stroke-play event: "Just trying to make some birdies on the par 5s. But I tried to not push my game, like to not try to make birdie on every hole, just to play it safe." It's pretty much the opposite of what everyone else's match-play strategy has been, but it's working for Dubuisson!
-- If you dig the long ball, you'll like Dubuisson. He is averaging 305.8 yards per drive on the Euro Tour this season. It wasn't quite as long as Bubba (who in 2013-'14 leads the PGA Tour in average driving distance at 320.8 yards) but was long enough.
-- His inspiration to get into golf was watching as a 12-year-old Tiger Woods win the 2002 Masters.
-- He won the Turkish Airlines Open in November, shooting 63-69 on the weekend to win his first European Tour title.
-- Dubuisson credits working with Gregory Havret's coach, Benoit Ducoulombier, as turning around his putting and short game.