PGA Tour: Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

We take a look at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship set to take place between 22 March and 25 March. 

The PGA Tour seeks to break new ground this week with its opposite event- an event that occurs concurrently with a Major or WGC event. This will be the first PGA Tour event held in the Dominican Republic, with the extravagantly named Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.

Having said that, the ravishing course has hosted an event on the Tour for the last two seasons, with scores of -24 and -20 indicating that we could be in for a free-scoring weekend.

Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship | 22 March - 25 March | Corales Puntacana Resort

Located near Punta Cana’s international airport, this low-lying coastal course was designed by Tom Fazio. It’s quite a monster at a shade over 7,600 yards, but it offers extremely generous fairways that lead towards massively undulating greens. The greens are paspalum and generally measure quite slow on the stimp. Typically for a coastal course, the wind will be pivotal in making this a tougher test. There are six seaside holes to go with the twelve inland ones. The final three holes are ‘affectionately’ known as the ‘Devil’s Elbow, as they aim right towards the bay and tend to bear the brunt of any exaggerated wind activity.

Emiliano Grillo makes sense as the market leader, but 8/1 for a man who last won over two years ago does seem a bit short. Elsewhere the likes of Scott Piercy and Patrick Rodgers bring reasonable form into a field that is clearly decimated by the WGC Match-Play event in Austin. Major champions such as Graeme McDowell and he durable Jim Furyk are also in attendance, while former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo has received a sponsor’s exemption to participate this week.

To Win Outright:
Emiliano Grillo 8/1 | Jim Furyk 16/1 | Scott Piercy 18/1 | Rory Sabbatini 20/1 | Patrick Rodgers 20/1

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Value Bets

Graeme McDowell- To Win 20/1, To Place 44/10
The Northern Irishman is a lover of coastal courses, so one should expect the Major Champion to be a factor in such a field. He also seems to be getting back in the groove of late, with three top 40 finishes in his last four stars. Over the course of those three top 40 results he has manged to beat the field by 2.8 or more, and those would have been against far more high quality fields than the one on show this week. He is also a links-specialist and therefore master in the wind, able to manipulate the ball at slightly lower trajectories.

Corey Conners- To Win 35/1, To Place 15/2
Conners was the talk of the town at Valspar, leading the way alongside illustrious company going into the final round. His challenge ultimately capitulated alongside the likes of Rose, Woods and Casey, but I expect him to be a huge factor this week. The former US Amateur finalist has gone about things in a very modern way, starting on the PGA Tour Latinamerica, where he had an eighth place in the renewal of the Dominican Republic Open. He then made his way to the Tour and firmly established himself as one of the best ball strikers on that tour, having made every cut bar one since joining it.

Troy Mullinax- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
Troy Mullinax looks an exciting prospect, with five cuts made in his last six events. People really started to take notice with that T8 finish at a fiercely contested Valspar Championship. He also has a top 15 on this golf course, with a T11 finish on the Tour in 2016. Mullinax does have the propensity to post some high numbers, but the larger fairways and extremely receptive paspalum greens should suit his game perfectly.

The Man to Beat- Scott Piercy- To Win 18/1, To Place 39/10
The 39 year-old Piercy have finished in the top 20 in three of his last five events, and now that he’s back to full fitness he should be able to once again compete in the upper echelons of events. He is the ultimate opportunistic, with two of his three PGA Tour victories coming in these so-called ‘opposite’ events. He has also finished thirrd at the Tom Fazio designed Conway Farms, while he counts the Sony Open as his favourite event- the Sony Open bears many striking corollaries to this event. He has also shown proficiency on paspalum greens, performing well in both the OHL Classic and CIMB in Malaysia.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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