PGA Tour: WGC Mexico Championship Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

We preview the WGC Mexico Championship set to take place at the Club de Golf Cahpultepec between 1 March and 4 March. 

The first WGC event of the year sees a trip to Mexico and the Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City for the second consecutive year. The earliest incarnation of this event came in 1999 under the guise of the WGC American Express Championship. It has undergone various facelifts, known variably as the WGC CA Championships and WGC Cadillac Championships. 

It did manage to find a temporary home in Doral, until Donald Trump bought it out and made renovations that weren’t embraced. So then the organizers decided to shift the course to…Mexico, much to the chagrin of one Mr Trump. 

2018 WGC Mexico Championship | 1 March - 4 March |Club de Golf Chapultepec, Mexico City

While the Club de Golf Chapultepec may appear slightly monstrous at 7,330 yards, it’s played at altitude, which really ameliorates the distance to a great extent. The course was designed by Scottish brothers Willie and Alex Smith in 1928 and has held the Mexican Open on many occasions. It is a tree-lined course with kikuyu fairways, while the greens are a similar poa annua-bentgrass hybrid to that played on two weeks ago at Riviera. While it has certainly attracted an elite 65 player field, it’s perhaps not quite as strong as last year: various cases of food poisoning from last season may have had a role to play in that. 

So the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka will not be in attendance this week. But defending champion Dustin Johnson and Honda Classic champion Justin Thomas lead a strong American contingent that also includes Jordan Spieth and Ricky Fowler. Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood lead the European contingent, while dark horses like Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson lurk ominously down the pecking order this week. Masters Champion Sergio Garcia will also be looking to fine tune his game ahead of that all-important Augusta defence. 

 YESWENA

Past Winners
2017: Dustin Johnson (-14)
2016: Adam Scott (-13)
2015: Dustin Johnson (-9)
2014: Patrick Reed (-4)
2013: Tiger Woods (-19)

To Win Outright:
Dustin Johnson 6/1 | Justin Thomas 8/1 | Jon Rahm 12/1 | Jordan Spieth 12/1 | Tommy Fleetwood 16/1

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Value Bets

Alex Noren- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
I have to say that I’ve been rather impressed by the steady progression of the Swede in recent weeks. He was extremely unfortunate last week to miss out on a playoff with Justin Thomas and Luke List. His solo third at the Honda Classic was yet another in an encouraging run of results. His form figures in his last eight events read 3-16-21-2-12-31-45-12. That runner-up finish at Torrey Pines was really the catalyst for an excellent series of results for a man looking to break into the PGA Tour. He is driving the ball brilliantly, averaging over 300 yards per drive, which should stand him in good stead this week. 

Thomas Pieters- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
The lanky Belgian finished fifth here last season and has shown a remarkable ability to challenge in elite level events, just look at his best results last season. He finished second to DJ at Riviera and fifth to DJ in this event. He finished fourth behind Sergio at the Masters and fourth behind Matsuyama at Bridgestone. The big-hitting Belgian will be keen to make a charge this season ahead of the Ryder Cup, and his 13th at the Honda Classic certainly showed some signs of encouragement. 

Tony Finau- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
The big-hitting American has shown the ability to win outside the US, with his only victory thus far coming in the Puerto Rico Open. He also manged a top 25 finish in the Mexico Championship in his first appearance in the country, which he followed up with an excellent T7 finish in his debut in the OHL Classic. He has a preference for poa annua/bentgrass greens and more importantly had that second place finish in his last start at Riviera, where they also use poa annua/bentgrass hybrid greens.

The Man to Beat- Tommy Fleetwood- To Win 16/1, To Place 7/2
Of all the men operating towards the upper end of the betting markets, Fleetwood certainly looks the most generous option this week- despite the fact that 6/1 for DJ is not entirely unpalatable. Fleetwood followed up a disappointing week at Riviera with an excellent showing at last week’s Honda Classic, where he managed a solo fourth. His form figures over the last eight events read 4-37-6-1-3-6-21-10. In November he picked up that T10 finish at the Nedbank Classic- which was also played at altitude. Then he showed his capacity to repeat course form with a wonderful defence of his Abu Dhabi crown. He finished runner-up behind Dustin Johnson last season and could be the guy to watch this week. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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