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WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Preview

This week sees the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational - the third World Golf Championship of the year - take place in Akron, Ohio. Catch our preview of events below...

At the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the world's best golfers are all primed and ready to vie for their share of a mightily impressive prize fund, much needed FedEx Cup points, and those highly sought after Team U.S.A and Team Europe Ryder Cup points at such a pivotal point of the 2017/18 golfing season.

Firestone Country Club will play host to an impressive field buoyed by the return of the 18-time WGC champion, Tiger Woods, while each and every member of the top-50 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) will be teeing it up come Thursday's first round.

To help build up to what promises to be an eventful week just prior to the season's final major championship - and a great event in its own right - here's our WGC Bridgestone Invitational preview.

The Venue

Course: Firestone Country Club
Par: 70
Yardage: 7,400

Firestone is the last remaining original WGC venue and has hosted the PGA Championship on three separate occasions. Now a golf course of unquestionable pedigree, it was initially built by Harvey Firestone for the employees of his tire company.

The golf course opened back in 1929 and has been part of the WGC set-up since 1999.

Signature Hole - Par-5 16th

Dubbed 'The Monster' due to its intimidating length, the par-5 16th hole on Firestone's South Course plays to a colossal 667 yards and is the longest on the PGA Tour.

In reality, there are quite a few other monstrous features to get a golfer's attention - not least a narrow tee shot heavily threatened by fairway bunkers and a watery grave sitting menacingly at the front of the green. A veritable risk/reward hole, of that there is no doubt.

Watch below as Dave Champagne - Director of Golf at Firestone Country Club - gives us a few tips on how to play 'The Monster'...

The Field

Hideki Matsuyama returns to the scene of his most recent victory and will hope that this familiarity can result in an impressive performance to help him recover from missed cuts in consecutive weeks on tricky British links courses (at The Open and Scottish Open). During his 2017 win, the Japanese superstar matched the 18-hole record in his final round to win by five clear strokes.

Get a recap of Hideki's final round below...

With an impressive performance at The Open just a few weeks ago, Tiger Woods secured a place inside the top-50 in the OWGR and, with it, a starting berth amongst a highly competitive field in Akron this week at one of many golf courses where he holds the 72-hole record.

World number one Dustin Johnson might have 13 fewer WGC trophies than the 'GOAT' in his cabinet at home, but his stock in these lucrative tournaments has never been higher. He'll be a worthy favourite after back-to-back WGC wins in 2017 and he managed to win this particular event in 2016. Last weekend's victory at the RBC Canadian Open will serve only to shorten his odds further.

Who wins it?

Leading Contender: Dustin Johnson

For all the reasons listed above, and more, DJ enters this week as the favourite of many and we're going to follow the crowd in that respect.

With two wins and a third-place finish in his last four starts, it's plain to see there's a great chance we could be looking at another back-to-back win sequence and that, in doing so, he will surge further clear in the FedEx Cup standings.

Lively Outsider: Alex Noren

Noren has both the length and the guile to stand up to Firestone's undoubtedly daunting test, while he's also a major-champion-in-waiting in the eyes of many. A WGC win is more than within his capabilities.

Finished third at the Dell Match Play back in March, albeit in a different format, and has shown form on both Tours this year with a win at the HNA Open de France and a third at the Honda Classic back in late February.

Relive the 2018 WGC journey so far

Catch a recap of the two previous WGC events in 2018...

WGC Mexico Championship

Back at the beginning of March, the world's best golfers gathered at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Naucalpan, just northwest of Mexico City to battle it out for their share of a lucrative $10M prize fund.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson held his nerve to outlast the 2017 PGA Champion Justin Thomas in a tense single-hole playoff to secure a first PGA Tour win in over four years. Catch Lefty's final round highlights below...

WGC Dell Technologies Match Play

Bubba Watson won his second World Golf Championship title by defeating his fellow Georgia alumni Kevin Kisner in thoroughly dominant fashion. The 7&6 win was never in doubt from the off as the latter failed to produce the same level of form that had propelled him to within touching distance of the $1.7M winner's cheque.

Relive Bubba's 7&6 victory below...

Who do you think wins at this week's WGC event? Let us know below:

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