PGA Tour: Mayakoba Golf Classic Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

Formerly known as the OHL Classic, the Mayakoba Golf Classic sees the PGA Tour head off to Mexico this week.

Mayakoba Golf Classic | 8 -11 November | El Camaleon Golf Club, Mexico

Alongside the WGC Mexico Championship, this is the only other full PGA Tour event hosted by the USA’s southern neighbours. This event’s first six incarnations were hosted in February as an alternate event to the WGC Match-Play event. Five years ago it was switched to this November slot. With added FedEx Cup points and a Masters place up for grabs, this event has steadily been attracting more decorated fields each year.

This Greg Norman designed track was opened in 2004 and is amongst the most unique courses on the PGA Tour. It cuts through a somewhat schizophrenic blend of landscapes. Tropical jungle gives way to dense mangroves and oceanfronts, making this one of the most visually spectacular courses on tour. This short, tree-lined course is a coastal affair and is subject to the elements. The switch from February to November has made for far more benign conditions in recent editions. The Sea Isle Paspalum greens measure 11 on the stimp, which is positively lethargic by US PGA standards. Mastering these greens has proved a vital statistic in recent seasons.

While some star names are in attendance this week, there are a number of notoriously unreliable finishers in tow. Both Ricky Fowler and Tony Finau are perennial contenders who fail to close the deal. Add the misfiring Jordan Spieth to the bargain and you have a relative lack of certainty towards the upper echelons of the betting. This potentially opens up the field for a wide range of champions. Defending champion Patton Kizzire will be keen to rejig his game in familiar surroundings.

Past Winners
2017: Patton Kizzire (-19)
2016: Pat Perez (-21)
2015: Graeme McDowell (-18)*playoff
2014: Charley Hoffman (-17) 
2013: Harris English (-21)

To Win Outright:
Ricky Fowler 8/1 | Jordan Spieth 14/1 | Tony Finau 14/1 | Gary Woodland 18/1 | Billy Horschel 22/1

Value Bets

Aaron Wise- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
Cape Town native Aaron Wise is now a nationalized American and claimed the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year title just recently. He is in excellent form with four top 16 finishes in his last five starts. That included a tie for fifth at the Northern Trust and a tie for 10th at the BMW. The American also electrified in his only WGC appearance of 2018, landing a highly creditable tie for sixth at the Bridgestone Invitational. Wise is a precision driver with a generally hot putter, which is a combination that should bear fruit this week.

Scott Piercy- To Win 45/1, To Place 19/2
Las Vegas resident Scott Piercy excelled on home soil last week, finishing in a strong 10th place heading into this Mexican challenge. That just augmented Piercy’s recent strong form: he had a top five finish at the CJ Cup in Korea recently. Piercy was fifth in driving accuracy last week and will be looking to celebrate his 40th birthday in style this week. Piercy also has course credentials, finishing fourth and 16th in his only two previous appearances around El Camaleon.

Adam Hadwin- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
While there is certainly some real value towards the front end of the market this week, it thins out quite quickly, making a fairly unconventional pick such as Hadwin more conceivable. The 2017 Valspar Championship Winner actually enjoyed a fairly subdued season. It burst into life with the season-ending FedEx Cup Playoffs. Hadwin finished in a tie for 11th at the Northern Trust and a tie for 21st at the Dell Tech. A tie for 19th at the BMW Championship wasn’t quite enough for Hadwin to qualify for the Tour Championship. That form has transferred into this season, with Hadwin coming off a tie for 10th at the CJ Cup and a tie for 30th at the WGC HSBC Champions. Hadwin finished third at the Mexico Championship on the Tour, which coupled with his form makes 50/1 look quite attractive.

The Man to Beat- Emiliano Grillo- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
This is just the sort of course that could present Grillo with the opportunity to double his PGA Tour victories. Grillo is something of a throwback, favouring precision rather than distance off the tee. He will thrive on this shorter course, a fact which is borne out by history. He has finished in ninth and 10th in two visits to El Camaleon. He also enters this event in a decent vein of form, with two top 10’s in his last six starts. He also boasts a tie for 14th at the highly competitive WGC HSBC Champions.

Written by Damien Kayat for

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