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World Wide Technology Championship odds and tips at Mayakoba

World Wide Technology Championship Tips & Odds: Brendan Steele features.
World Wide Technology Championship Tips & Odds: Brendan Steele features.

Three regular events now remain on the PGA Tour’s 2021 calendar, and before we head back to mainland America for the final two of them, we first go to Mexico for the newly named World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, played at El Camaleon Golf Club.

El Camaleon Golf Club is a 7,017 yard par 71 designed by Greg Norman and has played host to this event since its inception in 2007. It was originally an alternate event played opposite the WGC -Matchplay earlier in the year, though moved to this slot on the calendar in 2013 to become a primary event at the start of the PGA Tour season.

World Wide Technology Championship Tips

The course is built through a combination of tropical jungle and mangrove forest, the density of both meaning they are often truly penal should you find them. Having said that, providing your misses aren’t too big, you can get away with missing the odd fairway here, as the rough is next to non-existent. 

The rarely seen paspalum grass covers the fairways and these predominantly large green complexes. The same grass is used in the Corales Puntacana event in the Dominican Republic and it was also on display at this year’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

Besides the mangrove/tree trouble off the tee, there’s plenty of water around the course to provide further danger, in-play on around seven of the holes on the course. With some strategically placed, large, deep bunkers (one attached to an actual in cave in the middle of the 7th fairway) giving the course one final defence.

Since that move to this part of the calendar in 2013, there has been a noticeable difference in the difficultly in which the course has played. It provided a decent test from 2007-2012, with -17 the lowest score of any winner. This is contrasting to the seven renewals from 2013, with each one being won with a score of -17 or lower, five times requiring 20 something under par.

This has now established this event as a birdie-fest, which in turn often means it ends up a putting contest. With that it’s no surprise to see renowned high class putters such as Brendon Todd, Patton Kizzire and Matt Kuchar, amongst others, win over the last 7 years.

There was something a little different on offer last year though, as the top quality ball-striking duo of Viktor Hovland and Aaron Wise occupied the top two position, with the Norwegian coming out on top. The course was super soft and receptive but that trend of quality ball-strikers doing well here is one I expect to endure as the event continues to attract better and better fields.

Being located right on the Caribbean Sea, it’s an event that can be heavily affected by the weather. There’s nothing more than a mild breeze currently on the forecast right now. Though, as always, this can change.

A strong field once again descends on El Camaleon, with names like Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and last year’s winner, Viktor Hovland teeing it up. 

Golf odds
Abraham Ancer each-way (8 places)
20/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-01 20:05 Odds subject to change.

Justin Thomas heads the market, followed next by reigning champion, Viktor Hovland. We don’t have to go much further down the betting to find this week’s headline selection, Abraham Ancer. Who looks to have everything in his favour for a good showing in his home country.

The talented Mexican is currently enjoying his best year of his career, the highlight of which is a victory in the WGC – St Jude Invitational against a stellar field. Along with that victory he finished 2nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and has three other top 5s to boot. This now sees him sit on the precipice of the world’s top 10 and he arrives here in good form, off the back of a 14th place finish in Vegas at the CJ Cup three weeks ago.

He has a game perfectly made for El Camaleon Golf Club. Shown by his excellent record here, where, after missing the cut on debut in 2015, he’s made every cut since and has finishes of 9-21-8-12 on his four most recent visits. 

A strong ball-striker, ranking 23rd in approach and 24th off-the-tee last season, he backs this up by being an equally classy putter, where he ranked 29th. No surprise that he makes plenty of birdies, ranking 20th on tour in birdie average. 

His book of correlative form reads better than most. Possessing 2nd place finishes at Harbour Town in the RBC Heritage and in the American Express. He also has a 4th place finish at TPC River Highlands in the Travelers Championship. Two 4ths in the Shriners Open also appearing to work well.

After years of promise he finally got that big breakthrough win in the U.S back in August. With good course form, current form, correlative course form and just generally possessing the perfect game for the test, he has the full house of qualities I’m looking for this week and I expect him to be a pretty popular headline selection.

Keegan Bradley each-way (8 places)
55/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-01 20:10 Odds subject to change.

We’ve seen very good putters thrive here before, but those who hit the ball well whilst lacking on the greens have also been able to contend at Mayakoba. Keegan Bradley is very much part of the latter and there was enough encouragement when he narrowly missed the places for us in Japan two weeks ago, to tempt me to have another go at him this week.

He’s had a solid start to the new season, following a missed cut in the Sanderson Farms, his first event in five weeks, with a solid 32nd place finish in the CJ Cup and then a strong, staying-on 7th place at the Zozo Championship in Japan. Where he shot the joint 2nd best score of anyone over the weekend, only a shot worse than eventual winner, Hideki Matsuyama.

Bradley has a good record here. Four times he’s teed it up at the end of the year, making the cut three times, going 8th then 15th in his first two attempts at the course. This down to him being one of the very best ball-strikers on the PGA Tour. Ranking 4th in approach and 28th off-the-tee last season.

There’s no doubt he has the potential to frustrate, such are his inadequacies with the putter, though as mentioned at the start, historically poor putters can go well. The most recent example being Aaron Wise finishing 2nd last year. If he can continue the quality golf that saw him fly up the leaderboard in Japan, he can add to that strong set of results in Mexico this week.

Joaquin Niemann each-way (6 places)
60/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-01 20:10 Odds subject to change.

Without a missed cut since June in the Memorial Tournament and possessing only one for the entirety of 2021, Joaquin Niemann is playing with a serious level of consistency and looks to possess the right skillset for the test that awaits this week in Mexico.

Despite the consistency, Niemann is entitled to be a little frustrated with how his year has gone. He’s picked up three runner-up finishes, two of them coming in play-offs and the other when finishing 2nd by a shot in the Sony Open in Hawaii right at the start of the year.

That result is part of a strong book of correlative form for the Chilean, who has also finished 5th at the RBC Heritage, 5th at the Travelers Championship and 8th at Colonial in the Charles Schwab Challenge. Added to that he has experience of this venue, having played here three times and finished 60th on debut in 2018. Following with a missed cut in 2019 and then his best effort yet when 23rd last year, starting well and sitting 2nd after the first round.

Being from South America, it’s safe to assume Niemann will have more experience of playing on paspalum surfaces than most who tee it up this week and we potentially saw evidence of this when he finished 30th in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, where he ranked 9th in putting for the week on those paspalum greens.

Generally speaking, he’s a solid putter on any surface, ranking 47th last season. This backing up a strong ball-striking game that saw him rank 14th off-the-tee and 49th in approach in 2020/21. If able to replicate that quality with the long game and hopefully being more comfortable than most on these green complexes, I think this talented youngster can improve on his 23rd here last year.

Golf betting tips
Russell Knox each-way (8 places)
80/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-01 20:15 Odds subject to change.

Scotland’s Russell Knox has had a pretty poor season but has started to find a little consistency in recent weeks. Culminating with a 12th place finish in Bermuda last week, which is his 2nd best finish of 2021. He can continue his recent upturn in form in Mexico this week, at a course where he has a strong record.

The most impressive thing about his performance in the Bermuda Championship was that he started on the wrong side of the draw. The morning/afternoon wave in conditions which played 3 shots more difficult over the first two rounds. He started solidly with a +1 in some of the worst conditions of the week and then followed it with three rounds in the 60s to climb the leaderboard.

He’s played this event every year since 2013 bar one, when missing the event in 2018, possessing a superb record. He’s made the cut every time, recording three top 10s in a row from 2015-2017, with finishes of 2nd, 3rd & 9th. Most recently finishing 23rd last year.

A winner of the Travelers Championship in 2016, Knox possesses a good book of correlative course form. To go with that victory in Connecticut, he holds 2nd & 9th place finishes at Harbour Town, a 3rd at the Shriners Open and was 8th at Colonial in 2019.

The putter continues to be a negative, but he makes up for it with his iron play, ranking 20th on tour in approach last year and will need that to be at its best this week. If he can take the positives from a 12th place finish in Bermuda which ought to have been better and relishes the return to a course he has a great affinity with, he can continue to show this improved vein of form. 

Adam Hadwin each-way (8 places)
100/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-01 20:15 Odds subject to change.

Quite a few appealed at three figures, with Adam Schenk narrowly missing out in favour of two experienced winners who’ve shown some improved form recently. The first of whom, is Canada’s Adam Hadwin.

Hadwin’s year has been one of inconsistency. He’s missed 11 cuts in 26 but of the 15 cuts he has made, he’s managed to rack up 5 top 10s. Three of them coming in this second half of the year. Most recently when he was 6th two starts ago in the Shriners Open.

That performance was an addition to a strong book of correlative course form for the Canadian, which includes 2nd place finishes at the Safeway Open and American Express (twice, as well as multiple other top 5s) as well as two top 10s at Colonial in the Charles Schwab Challenge. This compounding his suitability to this week’s course, in which he has two 10th place finishes in four starts at El Camaleon.

His game excels on and around the greens, ranking 19th in putting last season and 45th around-the-greens. Though his approach play was poor last season, seeing him sit 166th on tour, he has shown more positive signs in that respect so far this season in the four events, sitting 42nd in approach and was the 9th best iron player in the field in his 6th place finish at TPC Summerlin.

Just likes Knox, he was caught on the wrong side of the draw last week and did well to just make the cut after opening with a 3-over 74, so his 46th place finish in Bermuda can be upgraded a little. Clearly in good nick, I expect another strong showing from this stereotypical horses for courses type player.

Brendan Steele each-way (6 places)
110/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-01 20:20 Odds subject to change.

After a really strong start to the season, Brendan Steele hit a brick wall in the middle part of the year, though with some good performances in recent starts he looks like bookending his year with good golf.

That positive start to the year was in the shape of a 4th place finish in the strongly correlating Sony Open. He improved on that with an excellent 3rd in the Honda Classic back in March, but his best finish of the year came last time out, when runner-up to Hideki Matsuyama in Japan.

That the most recent result of a strong start to the 2021/22 season for Steele, where he appears to have left behind a poor run of form with this fresh start. Just two starts prior to his 2nd place finish at the Zozo Championship, he achieved his first top 20 in seven months, as he finished 17th in the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Most encouraging has been the rediscovery of his driving, which has so often been the strongest part of his game. Also equally as encouraging has been some improved putting performances, typically his biggest weakness. 

He’s played Mayakoba five times over the years, his best a 16th place finish back in 2013. Though the rest of his performances here are relatively underwhelming, he’s a two-time winner of the Safeway Open, which correlates nicely here and possesses other notable top 5 performances at the Sony Open, American Express and in the Travelers Championship.

I think Steele definitely has the game to contend here and if able to pick up where he left off with that 2nd place finish in Japan last time out, looks a lively outsider at El Camaleon this week.

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