Pari offers his preview and cheat sheet for the WGC Mexico Championship!
The first real WGC event is this week south of the border (wall) as the golfing Tours begin the fourth installment of the Mexico Championships. Last year Dustin Johnson ran away with the event, beating Rory by five shots and collecting his 6th WGC title (third from this “event” – he has two Mexico Championships and one Cadillac Championship).
The course is played at elevation, so there will be some discussion as there always is whenever there’s something that isn’t “the norm”, but as we’ve seen over the years it doesn’t affect much in the grand scheme of things.
The course is fairly short when you take elevation into it, which should be our only concern with the elevation, thus giving bombers an even bigger advantage this week. You have to have a solid short game because of that, so if you’re targeting players who aren’t elite on their wedge shots, look elsewhere – there’s edges to be had here.
With this being a WGC event, there’s temptation to not use a stud this week in One & Done’s as everyone will make money. Don’t veer from your current process and remember there’s only ~45 events a year, you shouldn’t be taking the 75th ranked player in the field this week just because he’s going to get a paycheck.
If you can’t see Rory winning a major, this would be a great place to use him, same goes for DJ and JT. With the lack of presence from Tiger, Rickie, Finau, Day, etc. in the field I think it makes our One & Done decisions much easier this week.
o The Course
· Club de Golf Chapultepec
· Par: 71
· Yardage: 7,300
· Greens: Poa/Bent Mix
o Location: Mexico
o Corollary Tournaments/Courses: Riviera (Genesis), Firestone CC (WGC Bridgestone), East Lake (TOUR Championship), Silverado Resort (Safeway), Crans-Montana (Euro Tour event – Omega Euro Masters)
o Past Champions:
· 2019: Dustin Johnson -21 over Rory McIlroy
· 2018: Phil Mickelson -16 in a playoff over Justin Thomas
· 2017: Dustin Johnson -14 over Tommy Fleetwood
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: APP, SG: T2G, Birdie or Better, Scrambling
o Important – P4 Scoring 350-400y & 400-450y, P5 Scoring
This Week’s Suggestions
COURSE HORSES (All formats – Cash & GPP)
Dustin Johnson (DK $11,000)
· History: Win – 7th – Win
· Form: 10th – 32nd – 2nd – DNP
· Stats: 4th – SG: OTT, 47th – SG: APP, 74th – SG: P, 8th – SG: T2G
· Why I like him: Look, there was a period Sunday where I legit thought he was going to win, but the bogey on 13 was a momentum killer and it appeared to take the wind out of his sails. He’s going to need to start a bit faster than we’ve seen the last two weeks, but this is DJ and a WGC event, so I have all the faith in him even as defending champion.
Rory McIlroy (DK $11,500): 2nd in the field in total strokes gained behind DJ (by 19 strokes!). He hasn’t won this event ever, even when it was hosted at Doral under a different name, but he’s been good over time and comes in off a pretty horrible Sunday at Riv. His scoring ability has him in play in all formats this week, per usual.
Bubba Watson (DK $8,200): 27th – 9th – 38th over the years (primarily when this event was hosted at Doral), but he still comes in playing well despite missing the cut last week and the course setup is ideal for his game.
VALUE PLAYS (All formats – Cash & GPP)
Cameron Smith (DK $7,700)
· History: 6th
· Form: MC – DNP – MC – 64th
· Stats: 140th – SG: OTT, 110th – SG: APP, 59th – SG: P, 92nd – SG: T2G
· Why I like him: Nothing about the current state of his game makes me think he’s going to be knocking on DJ’s door to take the championship this week. He’s losing strokes in all facets since winning at the Sony, but no-cut events give these guys a breather and they know the paycheck is guaranteed which allows them to go back to playing freely without overthinking things. The price is far too nice for someone who showed he has the game here last year.
Charles Howell III (DK $7,100): High marks for CH3 in all strokes gained metrics and he’s been mostly overlooked since the turn of the calendar, which seems silly to me. He presents a ton of consistency regardless of the event and is underpriced all things considered.
Erik Van Rooyen (DK $6,600): Euro Tour ball striker who finished 36th here last year in his debut where he lost strokes from tee to green, which was unusual for what he usually does well. I think the script flips this week and we go back to seeing him gain from tee to green and hopefully he doesn’t lose a ton of strokes putting.
Honorable Mentions: Shane Lowry (DK $7,800), Lee Westwood (DK $6,900), Kevin Kisner (DK $7,200)
TOURNAMENT ONLY PLAYS
Bryson Dechambeau (DK $9,000)
· History: 56th
· Form: 5th – DNP – 52nd– DNP
· Stats: 24th – SG: OTT, 54th – SG: APP, 28th – SG: P, 37th – SG: T2G
· Why I like him: The new workout regime is starting to pay dividends as he’s been gaining a ton of strokes off the tee as of late. His approach game was horrendous at WMPO, but bounced back last week at Riv, which helped him gain over 10 strokes tee to green. His next win is on the horizon.
Tyrrell Hatton (DK $7,400): He’s an absolute flier this week as he makes his return to the Tour following wrist surgery back in November. His history here is good enough to make us think that he’ll be fine once he shakes the rust, but it’s a matter of how long it’ll take. I think he has tremendous upside as long as he’s given himself enough time to heal leading in.
Matt Wallace (DK $6,600): It hasn’t been a great start to 2020 for Wallace yet, but he’s hanging around enough to put him on our radar in GPPs, especially at this price.
GPP Only Punts: Victor Perez (DK $7,600), Robert MacIntyre (DK $7,200), Lucas Herbert (DK $6,700)
CORE PLAYS (of those not listed)
Xander Schauffele (DK $9,400): 14th & 18th in two appearances here, but my primary focus lies in his no cut events performance. In 64 rounds, he ranks 21st in the field in SG: T2G, 10th SG: OTT and 11th in DK Points. He ranks 11th in birdies, 12th in eagles, 6th in Par 5 efficiency and 30th in Par 4 efficiency during that same span. Nothing really eye popping, but he does seem to play a different type of game when the pressure is off.
Tommy Fleetwood (DK $9,200): 19th – 14th – 2nd over three appearances shows his history going in the wrong direction, but it’s Tommy and we know his upside every week. Will this be the week he finally cracks the podium on the PGA Tour? I think a lot of people will be waiting to use him in Florida on tougher courses, but we’re going to roll with him given his propensity to score in no-cut events.
Collin Morikawa (DK $8,500): First timer, but he’s a fantastic ball striker and someone who shows no quit regardless of how poor his game starts (see: Genesis Invitational round by round scores). He’s a force to put some money behind this week in all formats.
PUERTO RICO OPEN (Bonus)
Viktor Hovland – 12:1 in the betting market; means if he wins, it’s going to take a bit to get even if you’ve been chasing his first win like me. Obviously, I like him for DFS purposes as he’s been someone we’ve been targeting every week he plays.
Alex Noren – 16:1; Most distinguished player in the field, not sure I have much interest in him from a DFS perspective and I certainly haven’t invested much in him betting wise to make me chase this number.
Patrick Rodgers – 18:1; was hot fire going into ATT Pebble where he missed the cut as a chalk value play. Bounced back nicely last week gaining strokes in every facet except APP.
Maverick McNealy – 20:1; impressive showing at ATT Pebble Beach where he gained 2.5 strokes T2G and 3.9 Putting. Fits the bill of a guy we want to back in betting and DFS.
Scott Brown –25:1; Course horse, hasn’t finished worse than T17 here in his last four starts
Matthew NeSmith – 33:1; fire form leading in, strong bermuda putter in a limited sample, but has gained strokes on the greens since the Houston Open. Has a sporadic tee to green game, but when it’s on he’s pretty darn good.
Sam Saunders –100:1; Course horse, has two Top 5’s in his last three trips and a great putter on bermuda grass greens.
Mark Anderson –100:1; Putting splits favor bermuda greens more than anything, solid value play option who made three straight cuts before missing at Pebble. Nice dart throw at a Top 20 bet as well as a DFS value play.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)