DANE’S DARTS: WGC MEXICO CHAMPIONSHIP AND PUERTO RICO OPEN

This week the PGA Tour shifts to Mexico for the WGC Mexico Championship. The field is littered with some of the top players in the world and only contains 72 golfers. There will be NO CUT this week so all golfers will get 4 rounds (unless they withdraw). This is only the 4th year of this event that is held at Club de Golf Chapultepec, so there isn’t much course history but there are a few guys in the field that have excelled here through 3 years. 

With the top players in the world going to Mexico, there is a cross field event that other tour players can play in Puerto Rico. The DraftKings contests for this event are relatively small but I will touch on it a bit at the end of this article.

As always, be sure to check out the RotoPros golf podcast that Chris and I record on Monday evenings. You can find it on the SoundCloud app on the RotoPros page. There we discuss the course and a general overview of our strategy for the week. If you subscribe to the RotoPros channel on SoundCloud you will be notified each time a new episode is posted!

As mentioned last week, my goal for this article is to break down each price range from a strategy/lineup construction standpoint. Once I do that, I will list a couple of my favorite plays in the range. I really want to help you by talking through how we can be different through construction and not necessarily just taking 3-4 < 5% owned players. That is one way I have really improved in DFS golf, understanding that you only must be different to a point. I usually focus on lower entry max GPPs (single entry, 3 maxes, and 5 maxes) but will speak to certain plays that are better in larger fields and cash games.  

 I build my models and do a lot of my early week research over at Gup’s Corner. If you haven’t heard of them, I would highly recommend checking out their products. New this year Gup and the crew released golf tools that include a research center. The research center is where I build my models and where I will reference stat info in each of my articles. Check them out! www.gupscorner.com

COURSE & KEY STATS

Club De Golf Chapultepec is a tree lined golf course with narrow fairways and smaller than average greens. The one factor you will hear a lot about this week is the altitude. With the elevation being around 8,000 feet above sea level, players will have their golf balls travel around 9-10% further than it normally does with the same club. This means that golfers/caddies will need to do a bit of calculating that isn’t normal on most weeks. 

With the effect of the altitude, the course that looks long on the scorecard, is really one of the shorter ones on tour. We will see players hit less than driver off the tee a lot this week and try to position themselves so that they can attack these greens. It is important to be in control of your ball off the tee this week and not necessarily just hit the middle of the fairway. I am including approach a bit more than off the tee in my model this week as it is important to place yourself on the correct portion of these greens since there are a lot of undulations which can make putts tricky. 

With that here is a list of stats in order of importance for my model. Something I tried to do this week is limit the amount of stats I incorporate into my model. I feel that in my process I am getting a bit to spread out when I add in stats and I want to try simplifying things a bit.

  • SG: Approach
  • Good Drive %
  • PROX: 125-150 yards – there are a lot of wedges into greens on this course
  • Scrambling
  • SG: Ball Striking
  • DK Points – Kind of a weekly thing so I see who is scoring and making birdies for us
WEATHER

It looks as if we are going to see good scoring conditions this week. The biggest wind day will be Friday and that is only sustained wind around 10 mph and gust to 15 mph. Again, this course is tree lined and shouldn’t be affected too much. Expect some good scores this week.

OVERALL STRATEGY

It will be interesting to see which lineup construction prevails as being the most popular this week. Currently, I am leaning toward the balanced route as I like a lot of the 7K guys more than the 6K range. I will make my final decision on this Wednesday night when I see ownership. Obviously, these $10K plus guys are some of the best in the world and have a lot of win equity here. I like a lot of the $9K range, which is what leads me to a balanced build. Let’s dig in.

$10K + RANGE

This range again holds some of the top players in the world with how strong the field is. Besides Matsuyama, everyone up here has a top 3 finish or better in at least one of the events held here. Hideki has been trending well so that makes it a tough decision up here. DJ has won this event 2 out of 3 times and has a 7th in the other year. I am leaning toward fading him right now but it will be interesting to see his ownership numbers. I’m just not huge on where his game is right now, but what better place for him to get right.

  • Justin Thomas ($10,800) – Thomas has been on and off to start 2020. He won the Tournament of Champions, missed the cut at Sony, 3rd in Phoenix and then missed the cut last week in LA. I like JT to bounce back here at a place he has played really well. 5th, 2nd and 9th in the 3 years here in Mexico. He has been the top player in this field with his wedges from 125-150 yards. I really like how his game fits this course and if he is on he will challenge for the win.
$9K RANGE

I really like this range. Some of these guys can definitely win the event. I like how my lineups look when you load up on this and the $8K range. It also gives you a lot of upside when you have golfers who can all finish in the top 5 or 10. I think ownership will be spread out here so that makes it even better for us. 

  • Tommy Fleetwood ($9,200) – Tommy hasn’t played a ton in the last few months, but the 2 times he has he has a 2nd in Abu Dhabi and an 11th in Dubai. In those 8 rounds he is averaging 2.94 SG: Tee to Green per round, which is 3rd on the European Tour. I really like that form and if you combine that with his 2nd, 14th and 19th finishes here in Mexico, you’re looking at FleetGOAT as one of the top plays for me.
  • Xander Schauffele ($9,400) – Xander has an 18th and 14th here the last 2 years and has been playing some decent golf to start 2020. He has always played well in no cut events which is another reason I like him here. He gained 3 strokes on approach last week in LA and just hasn’t been able to get the putter rolling. If he can flip that this week he will have a strong week.
$8K RANGE

We have more strong guys down here in this range. Again, I don’t think ownership will be very concentrated here and there are a few spots we can take advantage of. I never make tons of lineups this week and one guy I am leaning towards fading is Sergio Garcia. He has a great history here with a 12th, 7th and 6th. I know he gained strokes tee to green, but what I really don’t like is his putting. He lost 4 strokes putting last week. He has never been a good putter but if you watched any of him last week he looked lost on the greens.

  • Gary Woodland ($8,300) – I like Woodland this week due to the fact that this is a less than driver course. I have always liked him at courses that he can throttle it back off the tee and be more strategic. That is exactly what he needs to do here. Gary was 17th here last year improving from the 2 previous 38th and 50th place finishes. I really like this price and I look for him to get his 2020 season going this week.
  • Collin Morikawa ($8,500) – He has been so consistent lately and an eagle machine. He ranks 2nd in my stat model this week and is right around the price he has been at $8,500. He has been really good on approach and off the tee, ranking 1st on approach and 2nd in good drive % over the last 24 rounds. 

Notables: Paul Casey, Matthew Fitzpatrick

$7K RANGE

A lot of guys here are coming over from the European Tour and you will really be paid off by doing some extra research on them this week. Every year in these events and majors some of them always challenge for a top 5 or 10. We get some really good value down here to help you fill out your lineups. I don’t mind some of the guys in the top of this range which I will list in the notables, but I am going to be making my way to the mid to low area for the most part. 

  • Victor Perez ($7,600) – This will be Perez’s debut here in Mexico. He has really come on over the last year and has had a decent start to 2020 over on the European Tour. He was 2nd in Abu Dhabi, 16th in Dubai and 38th in Saudi. He has gained an average of 1.14 strokes on approach per round in those 12, which ranks 19th on the Euro Tour. He has been really good tee to green and I like him for GPPs this week.
  • Tyrell Hatton ($7,400) – This is a guy that I will really be interested in seeing his projected ownership Wednesday night. Hatton is coming off wrist surgery which scares me a bit, since he hasn’t played in 3 months. There will be some rust in his game but he does get 4 rounds without having to worry about a cut. What I really like is how his game fits here. He was 10th, 3rd and 19th in his 3 times around Chapultepec. If his ownership isn’t out of control I have no problem hopping on early and taking a shot in GPPs.

Notables: Shane Lowry, Robert MacIntyre, Sungjae Im

$6K RANGE

I don’t love this range but don’t mind taking a few shots. That is one of the reasons that I am leaning towards a balanced build. Like I say every week, the guys down here aren’t going to check every box. If they meet a few things that you are looking for then they are worth a shot in tournaments.

  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($6,900) – The South African has been playing some good golf around the world in 2020. He won on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa last week and had a 2nd in Dubai on the European Tour. Something else I like about Christiaan is that being from South Africa he sees a good amount of Kikuyu grass and a lot of their courses are at altitude. This is his debut here so it will be interesting to see how he fairs on a bigger stage.
  • Erik Van Rooyen ($6,600) – I think this is a really good price for EVR this week. He came over to the states last week and missed the cut at the Genesis. He had been playing decent over on the European Tour before that and I like how his tee to green game fits the course. He is also a South African.

Notables: Lucas Herbert, Matthias Schwab

PUERTO RICO OPEN

I will keep this section short and touch on a few of my favorite plays. I want to focus mainly on the course and the type of playing I am looking for. It is a fairly easy coastal course that has its main defense as the wind. It looks like the wind won’t be much of a factor at this point and I think it will take a low score to compete this week. 

Key Stats:

  • SG: APP
  • SG: BS 
  • Birdie or better %
  • SG: P5
  • Par 4 Scoring 400-450/450-500

Top Plays:

  • Matthew NeSmith ($9,100) – This is a pretty good price for a guy that has been playing really well to start the year. I think this type of tournament suits him very well and his worst finish in the last 4 tournaments is 32nd. He ranks 1st in my stat model this week. Fire up NeSmith on debut.
  • Cameron Percy ($7,500) – Percy is 5th in my stat model this week and ranks 1st on approach and 2nd in ball striking over the last 24 rounds. He has a really good history here with a 28th, 14th, 26th and 24th in 4 of his last 5 trips. I hope he doesn’t get super popular but I’ll be on him either way.
  • DJ Trahan ($7,600) – I was on Trahan a couple weeks ago at Pebble Beach. He missed the cut there but I really like his game for this course. He can go really low if he is on and has 2 good finishes here in the past. 8th here in 2013 and 16th a year ago. 
  • Chesson Hadley ($9,500) – Really like hadley this week at what I think will be a birdie fest. He has been scoring in bunches lately and ranks 1st in birdies or better gained. He is 4th in my stat model this week. Hadley won this event in 2014 followed by a 16th place in 2015.

If you guys have any questions please let me know in the Slack! Be sure to listen to this week’s RotoPros PGA Podcast where Chris and I break down the course, weather and some of our favorite plays. Also, please join us tomorrow night in the chat for a live “pre lock” type chat. We will talk about the current weather forecast (if changed) and any updated plays we like! See you then!

Thanks for checking out the article and if you have any questions you can hit me up in the RotoPros Slack Chat or on Twitter(@rotopros). If you are not a RotoPros member yet be sure to get over to the site and get your FREE one-week trial! You won’t be disappointed.