Steven’s Weekly PGA Primer: Mayakoba Golf Classic
Last Week’s Picks Summation
Bryson DeChambeau lifted the trophy at the Shriners Open that was highlighted by 57-foot eagle on the 16th hole that propelled him to victory over Patrick Cantlay and Sam Ryder. One of the stats that I noted I take into consideration is OWGR. DeChambeau was last week’s highest rank player but I fell into the “Spieth Trap” as he was my high salary play of the week. Let’s take a look at a couple of picks that I had suggested last week and how they fared. My five highlighted picks consisted of Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Kevin Streelman, Kevin Tway, and Alex Cejka.
Spieth was, by far, the most disappointing of the picks when you consider salary and how he faded over the weekend. On Saturday I thought Spieth was going to par himself to death as he carded 14 pars and finished even on the day. He never got it going on Sunday and finished 1-over in the final round that wrapped up a disappointing week.
It’s never a good thing when one of my picks starts the tournament off with a scorecard that looks like mine but that’s exactly how Alex Cejka kicked off his Shriners weekend. Cejka started with a bogey, double bogey, and triple bogey and was at 6-over through his first three holes. He ended up missing the cut by 4 strokes but hopefully he didn’t burn your lineup priced sub-7k at $6,900.
The best pick was Gary Woodland that had a strong T-10 finish that included a 63 on Sunday and three eagles on the week. I highlighted earlier in the week that I liked his ability to score on Par 4s where he culminated 11 birdies and an eagle. You know Woodland’s length was going to allow scoring on Par 5s so his Par 4 performance helped propel his Top 10 finish.
My other considerations rendered 4 MCs (Conners, Mullinax, Power, Henley) but also boasted 4 Top 10s including Patrick Cantlay’s solo 2nd and Sam Ryder’s solo 3rd. Scott Piercy and Ryan Palmer also finished T10 and T7 respectively.
The goal with my weekly primer is to provide you with a one-stop guide to equip you with all of the information that you need to make your picks and assemble your lineups. From course previews, to history, stats, and pick suggestions, this guide will provide a concrete base as you conduct your own research and submit your winning picks and lineups.
2017 Mayakoba Recap
Patton Kizzire looks to defend his title at El Camaleon Golf Course which was one of his two early 2017 victories. Kizzire outlasted Rickie Fowler even after hitting a shot into the hazard on the 13th hole as he was able to save par and shoot a 67 to hold off Fowler by a shot. Si Woo Kim finished solo 3rd with Charles Howell and Martin Piller tied for 4th. We saw Cantlay fall just short of repeating last week so if Kizzire wants to prevail then he will have to outperform Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau Gary Woodland, and Zach Johnson among other notable names.
Tournament & Course Preview
The Mayakoba Golf Classic will take place at the El Camaleon Golf Course in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The golf course is described as having “distinct landscapes – tropical jungle, dense mangroves, and oceanfront stretches of sand with holes bisected by massive limestone canals. The course even incorporates a cenote- an underground cavern common to the area- into the heart of the opening fairway.” With hazards littering the course, you will find a lot of golfers teeing up with less-than-driver and will emphasize second shots.
Dates: November 8-11
Where: Play del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Course: El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort
Designer: Greg Norman
Par/Yards: Par 71 measuring 6,987 yards
Field: 132 golfers with the Top 70 and ties making the cut
Defending Champion: Patton Kizzire
Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,296,000 to the winner)
FedEx Cup Points: 500 points to the winner
Withdrawals: Bronson Burgoon as of 11/7
OWGR: Golfers in the Field & OWGR Top 50
High pressure will keep the tranquil weather pattern going through Friday. Can’t rule out an isolated shower or thunderstorm on any given day, but the bulk of the area will likely remain dry. A slight increase in moisture may increase our chances for seeing scattered showers and thunderstorms on Saturday. Showers may linger into Sunday morning with dry conditions returning for the afternoon. I do not anticipate the weather having a significant impact on the golfers this week.
Key Stats From Past Winners
Patton Kizzire, Pat Perez, and Graeme McDowell are the last three winners to prevail at Mayakoba. There are several stats that stick out from the performances of these past three winners so I am going to key on some of those this week. Specifically, I will be looking at Par-4 scoring, Par-4 Performance: 450-500, greens-in-regulation, bogey avoidance, and strokes gained: approach.
Last year, Kizzire ranked T7 in GIR, 3rd in birdie-or-better percentage, 1st in Par-4 scoring, and T3 in Par-5 scoring. A converse stat that sticks out is that Kizzire was T52 in driving accuracy despite the hazards that litter the course. Being able to birdie the 11 Par-4s on the course will be critical this week. Hitting greens will also lead to additional scoring opportunities.
Two years ago, Pat Perez was T11 in GIR, 8th in birdie-or-better, T1 in bogey avoidance, T2 in Par-4 scoring, and T4 in Par-4 scoring. Pat Perez also managed to tie the 72-hole record at 263 while he finished -21.
Course History Targets
Course history can be extremely insightful when evaluating how a course fits a particular player and if a player has “an eye for the course” itself. There are a handful of past winners in the field including Patton Kizzire, Pat Perez, Charley Hoffman, Harris English, Brian Gay, John Huh, and Graeme McDowell. Here is a breakdown of some of the notable players in the field that have finished in the Top 30 or better at El Camaleon.
Recent Performance Targets
Just as important, if not more so, when selecting the golfers for your rosters is recent performance. Here is a quick look at some notable players and their recent performance as well as some other less-notable players that have been playing well and have at least one Top-20 in their last four starts. *Note, this list will not include golfers that do not have any starts post-Fedex Cup Playoffs*
Before I even begin making picks I will break down the field into six tiers A-F. When you have fields of 100+ golfers then it can be overwhelming to scroll back-and-forth and up-and-down when making picks. DraftKings has a nifty tool where you can export the entire DK roster with salaries to a CSV and open in Excel which I would highly recommend and then break down the picks from there.
When I am assembling my lineups or placing my bets, I will look at just about every stat that I can while also looking at course history and recent performance. There are certain players that just perform well at certain courses. Webb Simpson at the Wyndham, Zach Johnson at the John Deere, Jordan Spieth at the Master’s, Bubba Watson at any course that he has won, etc. You also have to look at how players are performing leading up to the tournament. I was burned multiple times last season by ignoring, or simply overlooking, this aspect when it came to picking or not picking Jordan Spieth. The other incalculable facet to weigh into your picks is the “gut feeling” that you have about a particular golfer. No worse feeling than letting numbers and algorithms get in the way of the gut feeling and then have that golfer win.
Two other factors that I take into account are the OWGR and the betting odds. Vegas always knows something that you don’t, so when I see a golfer in the sub-8k range and see he has the same odds as golfers in the 9-10k range then he is someone that I have to consider.
Gary Woodland— $10,700 (18/1, OWGR: 31)
Although I love Rickie this week, I usually try to stay away from featuring and recommending rostering the most expensive player so that leads me to Gary Woodland. I love Woodland this week too for $800 cheaper than Fowler. Woodland is 3rd in SG: Total, 5th in SG: T2G, 3rd in SG: BS. 6th in SG: APP, 7th in Par-4 efficiency and scoring 450-500, 4th in GIR, and 1st in SG: Par-5s. All of the Par-5s are reachable in two which means Woodland could rack up the eagles this week.
Also Consider: Rickie Fowler— $11,500 (8/1, OWGR: 9)
Emiliano Grillo— $9,700 (25/1, OWGR: 50)
I wanted to highlight another semi-expensive player in Emiliano Grillo. He seems like he would be a good fit for Mayakoba this week as evidenced by two Top-10 finishes in his only two appearances here as well as 14th place finish at the WGC HSBC and 2nd place finish at the CIMB Classic. Grillo ranks 12th in bogey avoidance, 12th in proximity from 150-175, 7th in proximity from 175-200, 16th in SG: Approach, and 5th in SG: Putting. I expect to see Grillo towards the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Also Consider: Si Woo Kim— $9,200 (35/1, OWGR: 55) and Charles Howell III—$9,500 (45/1, OWGR: 81)
Abraham Ancer— $8,400 (45/1, OWGR: 98)
Ancer is a guy that I was on in several tournaments last season and always considered him to be a pretty bold pick to stray from the chalk. However, Ancer has been playing well lately with five Top-1os in his last 11 starts. He ranks 14th in SG: Total, 5th in SG: OTT, 7th in SG: Par-4s, 4th in Par-4s 450-500, and 18th in bogey avoidance. Ancer is priced above more popular names such as Matt Kuchar and Adam Hadwin so there could be some value here if those two guys garner a lot of ownership. If Kuchar doesn’t attract a lot of players then Kuchar could also produce nicely.
Also Consider: Scott Piercy— $8,000 (45/1, OWGR: 163) and Matt Kuchar—$8,200 (60/1, OWGR: 40)
Keith Mitchell— $7,600 (80/1, OWGR: 135)
Mitchell doesn’t have the greatest course history but he has only played here once and has good recent form. This one is more of a “gut play” but is also back by some solid stats. Mitchell ranks 4th in SG: OTT, 6th in SG: BS, 13th in SG: T2G, 23rd in SG: APP, 15th in birdies-or-better gained, and 17th in Par-4s 450-500. I am also looking at where Mitchell is priced in-between two former winners of this tournament, Hoffman and Perez, that may be advantageous to those that choose to roster Mitchell.
Also Consider: Patrick Rodgers– $7,800 (60/1, OWGR: 170) and Kevin Chappell $7,500 (75/1, OWGR: 63)
Joel Dahmen— $6,800 (170/1, OWGR: 187)
Dahmen became a popular sub-7k pick last season and I am going back to him this week. He offers salary relief if you decide to roster Rickie and another 9k+ golfer. Dahmen Ranks 7th in SG: T2G, 8th in SG:BS, 4th in SG: APP, 10th in bogey avoidance, and 19th in SG: Par-5s.
Also Consider: Ryan Armour— $7,100 (90/1, OWGR: 111) and Russell Henley— $7,100 (150/1, OWGR: 77)
Jamie Lovemark— $7,300 (75/1, OWGR: 137)
Brian Harman— $7,100 (66/1, OWGR: 45)
Brian Stuard— $6,900 (100/1, OWGR: 282)
That’s a wrap for this week! Good luck and let me know if you have any feedback regarding information or other items you would like to see become a part of the primer!
Written By: Steven Quezada
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