The PGA TOUR is back after a one-week break and heads to El Camaleon Golf Club, located south of Cancun, Mexico, for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. The field includes returning champion Matt Kuchar, along with other President Cup members from both teams (Jason Day, Joaquin Niemann, Tony Finau, Abraham Ancer, C.T. Pan). Rickie Fowler, who’s been on every U.S. team since the 2014 Ryder Cup, has withdrawn from the tournament due to illness.
The course sits on the grounds of the Fairmont Mayakoba Resort and will feature dense mangroves, wild iguanas, a huge cenote (underground cavern) and white-sand beaches just steps away from the green on a couple of par 3s. El Camaleon will play as a par 71, measure just under 7,000 yards and will be putt on Paspalum greens this week. Paspalum grass is often used in tropical climates and can be slow; golfers who have experience with playing and putting on Paspalum or slower greens should be taken into account when building lineups this week.
El Camaleon routinely ranks as one of the easiest courses on TOUR in scoring relative to par. Last season it ranked inside the top 10 easiest courses and 18th the year previous. Even though the course – being steps away from the ocean — can be susceptible to windy conditions, the players haven’t had too much difficulty avoiding the big numbers with both driving accuracy and greens in regulation hit percentage registering higher here than the TOUR average.
Par 5 scoring average will be a key statistic again this week. El Camaleon recorded the 12th most eagles made among all courses last season, with 93% of eagles made on the par 5s. Birdie or better gained also will be important, with finishing scores averaging 20 under in the previous four tournaments at El Camaleon. We also should be looking at golfers with cheaper salaries this week. Last season, those who finished in the top 10 in DraftKings scoring averaged a salary around $7,400, with four being priced at or below $6,900.
Viktor Hovland ($11,200)
Hovland’s win is coming soon, and it could be this week. Over his past 13 tournaments, Hovland is gaining an average of 6.1 strokes Tee-to-Green and has the ability to score, ranking 11th in fairways gained and fourth in birdies or better gained over his past six tournaments. Hovland failed to make the cut here last season but already has registered a top-10 this season.
Tony Finau ($10,600)
Finau will want to “make good” on his recent Presidents Cup captain’s pick, and we should expect him to do so this week in Mexico. His ball-striking can’t be disputed, ranking first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his past 24 rounds. Finau has two solid finishes here with a top-20 and top-10 as well as a win in another tropical setting at the Puerto Rico Open back in 2016.
Abraham Ancer ($9,200)
Ancer finished with back-to-back rounds of 67 on the way to a solid top-5 finish at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and should keep the momentum going at El Camaleon, where he’s played well in the past. Ancer’s finishes have been inconsistent this season, but his ball-striking has been fantastic, ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his past six tournaments. He also has been fantastic on the par 5s, ranking ninth in par 5 scoring sverage over his past two tournaments with Shot Tracker data and fourth at the WGC-HSBC Champions earlier this month.
Bronson Burgoon ($7,400)
Burgoon’s tee game is a tad worrisome, but he’s been mitigating his poor tee game with elite iron play, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over his past six tournaments. He has the ability to score, especially on the par 5s, ranking 26th in par 5 scoring average over his past six tournaments. He also is putting well, gaining 3.1 strokes with his flat stick over his past five tournaments and should be able to convert those opportunities into birdies on an easy course this week.
Rafael Campos ($6,100)
Campos’ game seems to light up when he plays in a tropical climate, with a win at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club on the Korn Ferry Tour in January, along with solid finishes at the Puerto Rico Open over his career. He gained PGA TOUR status by finishing No. 18 on the Korn Ferry Tour regular season points list last season and just recorded a top-20 at the Bermuda Championship earlier this month. He’ll be a cheap option and a GPP dart throw in order to fit high-priced studs like Hovland and Finau in your lineups.
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