Preview & Picks for the Best Event in Mexico (Probably)
Course Review (Vidanta Vallarta – Villa Hidalgo, Mexico)
Established as an annual PGA Tour event in 2022, the Mexico Open had previously been a stop on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. Now a fully-sanctioned PGA Tour stop, the Mexico Open carries a purse of more than $7,000,000 and 500 FedEx Points with it.
The course has wide open fairways and traditionally very low scores. It’s a beautiful course, but one that is more forgiving towards opportunistic players. Though it’s the first year the event will be played at this specific course, experts anticipate a low-scoring affair. Expect a shootout this week in Mexico…
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Review & Mexico Open Preview
The good news from last week: Our worst pick finished 21st. The bad news: Only two of our picks cashed. In what was a strange, intriguing event, we managed to pick four teams who ended-up tied at 21st. Two of them were picked to finish T-20 or better. Our two wins were Zalatoris/Riley (4th place finish) and Burns/Horschel (2nd place finish).
The Mexico Open has a thin field this week. Only a small contingent of upper-level players will be playing in this event, so we’re going to go heavy on T-10 and T-5 finishes. Instead of digging through names of players with very little background on the tour, we’re trusting the best to perform well against a weak field. We may get a few longshots in there, but the primary focus will be on the big dogs finishing high.
Metrics to track this week
Driving Distance, Strokes Gained Total, Birdie percentage, and Putting will be very crucial this week. We should also anticipate a few of the more veteran guys to take advantage of this course that is foreign to so many on Tour.
- Strokes Gained: Total
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
- Recent form
Good luck this week!
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Middle of the Fairway – One Player to finish in the top 20
Brian Stuard +400
Brian Stuard is a 39 year old who is clinging to a spot on the PGA Tour. Stuard checks-in as our “recent form longshot” this week, following his 21st place finish last week at the Zurich Classic. Though it was a team event, Stuard has finishes of 16th (Valspar) and 7th (Corales Puntacana, Dominican Republic). We know he has seen success south of the border, and he’s playing well of late. He has all the makings of a sneaky Top 20 play this week.
Stuard is 2nd in Driving Accuracy, 80th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 70th at Strokes Gained: Around the Green. He may not matchup well for the strengths to value at this venue, but for a guy trying to stay on tour with a lot of experience, it makes sense he will come prepared this week.
Edge of the Green – Four Players to finish in the top 10
Aaron Wise +350
Aaron Wise is an up-and-comer on tour. He’s only 25 years old, but it’s important to keep in mind how good the South Africans are in windy conditions. This weekend should be fairly gusty, but the 64th ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings has had a pretty good year thus far. He finished 8th at Shriners, 5th at the CJ Cup, 17th at API, and 21st in his last event (RBC Heritage).
Wise is a strong player off the tee. He’s 24th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 33rd in Scoring Average, 56th in Scoring Average, 30th in GIRP, 55th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 30th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 40th in Strokes Gained: Total. Wise is trending in the right direction and carries great value this week.
Matt Jones +500
Who? MATT JONES! Matt falls into that category of “veteran player to take advantage of a course most are unfamiliar with”. It also helps he’s ranked 36th in the FedEx Cup standings this season. Jones has finishes of 3rd (Sentry TOC), 15th (Genesis), and 2nd (Valero Texas Open). The 42 year old is in good form and has had plenty of weeks to prepare for Vidanta Vallarta.
Jones is 5th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 35th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 51st in Strokes Gained: Total, 34th in Driving Distance, 8th in Eagles per hole, 63rd in Birdie Average, and 73rd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. Jones doesn’t jump off the page for a Top 10 finish, but given his form and the field, he’s good value.
Tony Finau +300
We swore-off Finau at least twice now, but he just keeps lingering around, intriguing us from time to time. Tony is having a rough year. However, he finished 35th at The Masters and hasn’t played since. Finau may be dead money here, especially with odds that aren’t great, but the talent is there and we have to imagine he’s been working some things out since Augusta.
Finau is 38th in Birdie Average, 79th in Driving Distance, 50th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 17th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 40th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green.
Carlos Ortiz +600
Ortiz is not the only Mexican national we’re taking this week. Abraham Ancer’s odds just aren’t favorable enough at this position, but they are for Top 5. Meanwhile, Ortiz has actually been in worse form lately than Ancer, but the value is amazing. The Mexican players should have a big leg-up in this competition and this is exactly the kind of venue, at home, where a guy like Ortiz can feel comfortable breaking out of his slump.
Ortiz is 45th in Driving Distance, 44th in Birdie Average, and 71st in Strokes Gained: Approach. His metrics aside from those are very subpar, but we love the home field advantage on a course most guys don’t have much experience with.
Short Putt – Three Players to finish in the top 5
Abraham Ancer +450
We just said we didn’t like the value for Ancer at Top 10. We do like him at Top 5, due to the varying nature of his finishes. Ancer has a propensity to finish either very high or relatively low. He has zero finishes between 15th and 32nd this season but four finishes inside the Top 14. Ancer also has five finishes between 33rd and 43rd.
Ancer is 8th in Driving Accuracy, 45th in Birdie Average, 61st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and 47th in Eagles per hole. Just like with Ortiz, we favor Ancer for the same reasons this week.
Cameron Champ +1000
Cameron Champ is 181 in the FedEx Cup standings, but he did perform exceptionally well in his last event (The Masters). Champ finished 10th at Augusta and hasn’t played since. His next-best finish on the season was 46th at Farmers, so he really has had an abysmal season to date. The one big thing he has going for him is that driver.
Champ is the longest driver on Tour right now (1st in Driving Distance at 321 Yards). Aside from driving, Champ has been pretty awful everywhere else. He’s 19th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 19th in Eagles per hole. Again, we are valuing him this week for his long driver on a wide-open course and trusting his performance at The Masters was no fluke.
Cameron Tringale +450
Cameron Tringale has the second-best odds to win this week. It’s a little weird, but it says more about the strength of the field than anything else. Tringale is currently 27th in the FedEx Cup standings. The 27 year old from California should be able to take advantage of this low scoring event, as he’s finished 14 under par or better in three events this season (Zurich, Farmers, Sanderson Farms). Overall, he’s a solid all-around player who is only weak off the tee.
Tringale might be weak off the tee overall, but he’s 75th in Driving Distance, 19th in GIRP, 24th in Eagles per hole, 39th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 58th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 72nd in Strokes Gained: Putting, 63rd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 54th in Strokes Gained: Total.
Hole in One – One Player to Win
Gary Woodland +2000
Gary Woodland is just 37 years old, even though he’s seemingly been around for two full decades at this point. He’s got four career victories and still pounds the ball off the tee. On the season, he’s ranked 59th in the FedEx Cup standings and has three Top 10 finishes in his last six events. I’ve read on more than a few sites he’s a great play this week but hey, the pickings are very slim, so take it for what it’s worth.
Woodland is 14th in Driving Distance, 5th in Eagles per hole, 48th in Scoring Average, 27th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 40th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 38th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 30th in Strokes Gained: Total. The metrics and recent form really align for Woodland this week.