Mexico Open Tips: Five each-way picks worth consideration
We have The Mexico Open on the agenda for the PGA Tour this week and our man Jamie Broadhurst returns with five each-way selections that he likes the look of.
A very frustrating week just gone at the Zurich Classic, 2 teams that were tipped for the event; Sahith Theegala/Justin Suh and Taylor Montgomery/Kurt Kitayama were both sitting inside the top 8 places going onto the 18th hole. Both teams unfortunately found the water/penalty area on more than one occasion. Resulting in the Theegala team shooting an 8 on the Par 5 and the Montgomery team shooting a 9… not the best way to finish your rounds! Especially when they were both going to return some place money for us!
A mighty impressive round from the eventual winners Nick Hardy/Davis Riley to fend off the charging Taylor/Hadwin duo. I always enjoy watching the Zurich Classic due to the birdie fest it always produces, and this year was no exception with a -30 winning team!
Players this week travel into Mexico, where they will compete for the Mexico Open in the town of Puerto Vallarta at Vidanta Vallarta Golf Course.
This is only the second year the PGA Tour has been to this course, so there is still an element of guess work to be done this week with just the one year of stats to go off.
Let’s see what we have on offer at Vidanta Vallarta;
- Par 71, 7450 yards approx.
- Greg Norman design – opened in 2015
- 5 x Par 3s, 9 x Par 4s, 4 x Par 5s
- Par 3s range from 170-226 yards
- Par 4s range from 415-520 yards, with 6/9 of them being 459 yards and above!
- Par 5s range from 548-637 yards… that right 637 yards!
- Paspalum Fairways/Rough/Greens
- Water in play on at least 12/13 holes
- 4 holes run alongside/near the Ameca River
As I said, a bit of unknown territory for us this week, last year was a great watch on television with the course really showing its teeth as it firms up. It’s quite refreshing to see the Tour acknowledge that and return here for a second year.
On the eye the course is a brute. 2 Par 3s over 205 yards, 4/9 Par 4s north of 475 yards and then 2 Par 5s well over 600 yards. Not for the faint hearted at all this week!
Various elements to deal with this week for the guys. The river/lakes that are in play, the soaring temperatures, the unusually wide fairways, the very small bunkering here to go with the long and difficult wasteland areas involving some natural shrubbery, and up by the tricky Paspalum greens there are small but tricky to read run off areas just to keep the players on their toes.
Winning score will most likely be -17 to -25 this week if the wind is low. Extremely warm and humid conditions will mean the ball will travel a country mile through the air and will run a heck of a long way on these fairways. Jon Rahm won at -17 last year and didn’t seem to leave 2nd gear all week.
Stats to focus on this week
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
- Greens in Regulation/Good Long Iron play
- Element of a good scrambler around the greens
- Experience putting on Paspalum greens
Still a relatively new course this week, we do not know what to really expect so I am going to keep it short and simple.
- Drive it long and somewhat accurate to avoid the water
- Hit the greens in close proximity to the hole to give yourself a good chance on these tricky Paspalum surfaces, a lot of approaches will be 175 yards+ this week so picking a guy who is consistently topping the rankings for their approaches from distance will be high on my agenda.
- Be able to get up and down and scramble well when the guys miss these greens in the roll off areas
- And have good experience putting on Paspalum surfaces, Paspalum can be found at the Mayakoba Classic (Greg Norman Design also), Coco Beach and the Corales GC, hosts of the Puerto Rico Open and the Corales Championships. The later 2 have more similarities to this course too.
Well, this isn’t going to take me long. The field this week is quite bad (putting it politely). World Number 1 Jon Rahm makes the journey over the border as defending champion and leads the market at a measly 10/3. Very short for golf betting but surely is justified given the strength of his opponents.
Jon Rahm is only joined by one other in the World Top 50 this week and that is second favourite in the market, Tony Finau sitting at 8/1. Tony finished in a tie for 2nd place here last year after an incredible -8 last round. Tony has found the formula to convert his very consistent performances into wins the last 18 months on Tour. He ranks well inside the top 50 for most Strokes Gained categories and his driver/long irons are his best asset. If the putter is warm for Tony this week, he goes mighty close once again. Other than these two, the market then spreads out very quickly.
20/1 we have Wyndham Clark who alongside Beau Hossler held the lead at the Zurich Classic after 54 holes and did look in good nick for the majority of the week.
As I say, a very sub-standard field this week where unfortunately with Rahm being in such good form and coming here as defending champion, we are somewhat relying on him to have a poor week and let others have a turn at winning!
Mexico Open Tips
Mexico Open Selections
5 each way selections again this week, all taken with Bet365 who offer 8 places. 1pt each way on each selection which means 10pts in total once more this week. Let’s hope for a change in fortune this week!
Patrick Rodgers 30/1
Course Form – 10
Recent Form – 19/5/MC/36
If you follow my previews regularly, you will know that I tipped Pat Rodgers up three weeks back at the Corales Championships where I really fancied his chances. He unfortunately missed the cut there after all the stats/form pointed in the right direction. But, I am going to chance him again after he has had 2 really promising performances since then at the Valero Texas Open and RBC Heritage. His good form on coastal tracks on Paspalum grass really intrigues me again here.
Nicolai Hojgaard 35/1
Course Form – Debut
Recent Form – 32/28/2/32/5
Want a guy who hits it a mile, consistently gains strokes with the driver and can score heavy when the putter is hot? Nicolai is your man. He is getting used to life on the PGA Tour with some consistent finishes of late, including a 32nd last week with partner Thorbjorn Olesen at the Zurich Classic where they were right up there in the mix after 54 holes.
The performance that drew me to him however this week was the 2nd place finish at the Corales Championships 3 weeks ago. On a course where the width of the fairways very much mirror this week’s, green sizes are similar and the greens are laid with the same Paspalum grass than what is here in Mexico. He is very much a consistent figure on the DP World Tour and odds like this on Nicolai do not come around at all if this tournament was on European soil, so I am very confident with the pick this week.
S.H. Kim 60/1
Course Form – Debut
Recent Form – 13/15/45/MC/39
A guy that I have never bet before, but one for sure that is trending in the right direction. 13th last week alongside his playing partner Ben An and an impressive 15th his last start before that at the Texas Open on a challenging layout. But, where Kim thrives is on his scoring ability, he ranks 4th on Tour for the number of birdies so far this season. Which is impressive considering he does not play week in week out. He is top 50 for driving and he is top 20 for putting this year, there are good aspects of his game and hopefully he will come good this week on an easier layout.
Matt Wallace 70/1
Course Form - 67
Recent Form – MC/28/1/7
From the very same wavelength as Nicolai Hojgaard here. Matt’s pedigree is his driving and has always dominated fields by gaining strokes with the longer clubs. Matt won the Corales Championships also 3 weeks ago where he beat Nicolai by just the one stroke where he was in the top 10 for Putting on the tricky Paspalum surfaces he will be greeted with here again this week. He looks to have had a resurgence of some form this year on the PGA Tour which is good to see and 66/1 on a recent impressive winner is a number I cannot ignore.
Akshay Bhatia 90/1
Course Form – Debut
Recent Form – MC/MC/46/24/2
My longshot of the week then. Bhatia has just received a special membership on the Tour so is now starting to get more and more starts. He has had a couple of missed cuts, which on paper does not look great. However, last week he missed the cut with his playing partner at the Zurich Classic on the number at -9 where he wasn’t ashamed in his performance at all. The week before at Harbour Town consisted of a stellar field and was maybe requiring too much accuracy with the driver for Akshay, I am willing to let them 2 weeks slide and focus more on his 2nd place at the Puerto Rico Open on Paspalum grass.