The Puerto Rico Open Preview 2016

Written by Matt Cee for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

The Puerto Rico Open | 24 March – 27 March | Coco Beach Golf & Country Club

This week, those who did not qualify for the WGC event will be heading to Coco Beach Golf and Country Club to participate in the Puerto Rico Open, an event that has traditionally offered a lot of value for shrewd golf punters and which should not be ignored. With a total prize pool of 3 million dollars on offer, motivation levels are at an all-time high and just about anyone could walk away the winner this week. Last year Alex Cjeka emerged victorious after a 5 man playoff and this week he returns to try and defend his title. There are a host of young up and comers and more experienced campaigners waiting to knock him from his perch though, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Measuring over 7,500 yards, this par 72 layout plays long and things get even more difficult when the wind blows. The first stat to keep an eye on then will be distance off the tee because hitting the green in two will prove difficult for those teeing off in the afternoon when the wind is expected to be howling. The abundance of water also means the ability to control shots in the wind is important because mishit approaches could easily find the water. There aren’t many challenges once on the greens though and they aren’t particularly fast and are said to run true.

Overall this looks to be one to keep an eye on, let’s see if we can find some value.

To Win Outright
Graham Delaet: 16/1 | Scott Brown: 18/1 |William McGirt: 22/1
Freddie Jacobson: 28/1 | Ian Poulter: 28/1

George Coetzee (33/1 Win & 73/10 Place)
This week George Coetzee makes is on offer at a price I can’t ignore him. He’s had an up and down season but when he’s played well he’s been fantastic, and his ability to hit the ball long and straight will stand him in good stead on this layout. His iron play isn’t the best around but I’m hoping that he can drive the ball long enough to be able to keep his longer irons in the bag and avoid the water around the greens. I don’t foresee him struggling once on the green either and will be backing him each way this week.

Graham Delaet (16/1 Win & 7/2 Place)
This week Graham Delaet finds himself at the top of the betting and although he hasn’t won yet this season, he did manage to finish 5th in the Valspar even after falling apart in his final round. Sure, his inability to keep it together at that late stage is concerning but this week he comes up against a far weaker field than he faced there and should be confident that he can, at least, give himself a chance of winning. Against this field I think he could emerge the winner, each way is the bet for me.

Luke Donald (40/2 Win & 88/10 Place)
It’s sad to see Luke Donald languishing at near the middle of the betting in an event that really doesn’t feature many big names, but he’s experiencing a serious slump in form at the moment and a win this week seems unlikely. Be that as is may, when he does play well his game is flawless and I’m backing him here on the off chance that something clicks in Puerto Rico and he finds his swing. It’s a risky strategy but the potential reward makes it worthwhile.

Tony Finau (50/1 Win & 11/1 Place)
The great thing about these events is that the favourites tend to go missing fairly often and this opens the door for some of the bigger prices to win if they can find some form and get through the first two rounds. Although Tony Finau is incredibly inconsistent, on his day he is better than nearly every one of the players priced up shorter than he is and with his ability to hit it long off the tee, he should have no trouble getting around this course. Sure, he could well miss the cut but he could just as easily finish inside the Top 5 and I’ll be back him to do the latter.

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