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19th Hole

2021 World Wide Technology Championship: Best prop bets

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The PGA Tour makes its way to El Camaleon Golf Club this week for the World Wide Technology Classic at Mayakoba, with plenty of big names, including Justin Thomas, returning to action.

Away from Matt Vincenzo’s outright preview, let’s take a look at the best prop bets this week, some that may be of use to back up your top-heavy fantasy line-ups.

Russell Knox Top 20 Finish +300 (DraftKings, Bet365)

Suitable conditions lead to returns to form, and after a 12th place finish last week, the 36-year old has just become the second Scot to break the $15 million barrier on the PGA tour and can celebrate with another good finish in Mexico.

Whether in or out of form, Knox seems to turn up and perform at El Camaleon, following a pair of T16 (including Bermuda) and a missed-cut with a top-25 here last season. Previously, 2019 saw a solid run of figures through Houston, Bermuda, here and at the RSM, whilst previous course finishes of 9/3/2 confirm all we know – if it’s short and requires a solid greens-in-regulation figure, Knox will show up.

Overall sixth in driving accuracy last week with a worst of 17th in the second round, he led the green-finding stat with an average of over 80% for the final three rounds and anything approaching that, on a course he enjoys and back in good form and health, should see him land his second consecutive top-20.

Danny Lee Top 20 Finish +400 (DraftKings), +500 (UniBet UK)

Both Graeme McDowell and Patrick Reed caught the eye last week, and whilst both are at opposite ends of the odds scale, they thrived in the tougher conditions in Bermuds. Sadly, it looks like being the opposite throughout this week’s event and not to their advantage.

Instead, if Danny Lee is ‘back’, then get on Danny Lee.

Runner-up here behind Matt Kuchar in 2018 (a book-ending pair of 65s sandwiching 66/67), the youngest ever winner of the U.S Amateur has had some long-term injury issues. However, having changed club manufacturer and showing snippets of form on the KFT (best of 19th at coastal South Carolina) it was only a mind-numbing decision at his 66th hole at Bermuda that cost him his first title for six years.

Of course, we can’t speculate what would have happened without that bizarre double-bogey, but, for sure, it affected his play for the next hour or so, and it was to his credit that he was able to fight back with three consecutive birdies down the stretch.

As we’ve seen with many players, form on the greens at Bermuda and efforts at Puerto Rico carries weight here, and therefore his runner-up at Rio Grande (scene of Hovland’s first win) carries some weight.

First in putting average, first in birdie count and no worse than eighth across the ranking for pars three, four and five last week, Lee can be yet another player that follows on through this most suitable set of tournaments.

Davis Riley Top 20 Finish +700 (DraftKings)

The 24-year-old Korn Ferry graduate has been on most long-term radars for a while, and for bettors, if not Riley himself, it may be a blessing in disguise that he had to endure a Covid-induced extra year at the graduate level.

Speculatively backed at large prices for his first trio of events, there was a glimmer of promise at Shriners when he couldn’t quite kick-on from the end of third round 31st place, but it was at Bermuda last week where he showed he could compete in difficult conditions.

Despite a final round 67, his fairway-finding was at its lowest ebb of the week, but by finishing third in birdie-count tells a story of a player happy on the coastal Bermuda greens, and it’s this clear ability on similar tracks that make me believe it’s now the time to cash in before he ‘does a Will Zalatoris’ and gets silly short in a few months.

Eighth in Bermuda and winner on the KFT at coastal Panama, but it’s his victory at the Greg Norman-designed San Antonio at The Oaks that gives the most impetus behind the wager. He’s also a player clearly at home in the South America region.

Tied-second for the Bermudan par-fours fits in well with recent winners Matt Kuchar, Brendan Todd and Hovland, and as his good friend Zalatoris says, “it’s a matter of time before he’s gonna be a top-10 player in the world…it’s not if, it’s when”.

I’m not sure the outright +20000 takes into account his improvement and course suitability, and it’s a tough field, but this may be another step up the ladder, and the top-20 is the play of the week.

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19th Hole

2021 World Wide Technology Championship Betting Tips & Selections

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After a week in Bermuda, we head to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, for the 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba at El Camaleón Golf Club.

Previously named The Mayakoba Golf Classic and the OHL at Mayakoba, the event has been a Tour stop since 2007 but was an alternate event until 2014 when it was moved to November and became a primary event. Since then, the tournament has offered full FedEx Cup points and a sizable purse.

The recent fields at Mayakoba have been pretty solid, but this year is one of the strongest fields in the tournament’s history. Some of the notable golfers among the 132 in the field include Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris.

El Camaleon Golf Club is a 6,987 yard Par 71 featuring paspalum greens. This short coastal track has played relatively easy since the tournament’s switch to November but can get tricky if the wind doesn’t cooperate.

Past Winners at World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

(The Mayakoba Golf Classic)

  • 2020: Viktor Hovland (-20)
  • 2019: Brendon Todd (-20)
  • 2018: Matt Kuchar (-22)

(OHL Classic At Mayakoba)

  • 2017: Patton Kizzire (-19)
  • 2016: Pat Perez (-21)
  • 2015: Kevin Kisner (-18)
  • 2014: Charlie Hoffman (-17)

My selections are as follows:

Justin Thomas (+1400, Bet365): JT hasn’t won an event since the Players Championship in March of 2021. For most players on Tour, a win almost eight months ago would be a pretty significant accomplishment; but Justin Thomas isn’t most players on Tour.

With sixteen PGA Tour wins on his resume, Thomas ranks fourth in all-time wins for golfers who are currently playing. At just 28 years old, he is on pace to be one of the most prolific winners of his generation. Although he has been relatively inconsistent during these past eight months since the Players, there is reason to believe El Camaleón Golf Club is the perfect place for JT to break out of his slump.

When evaluating Thomas’ previous Tour victories, a few things stand out. The first is that he often tends to win during “swing season”. Eight of his sixteen wins have come between the months of September and January. The other glaring finding of note is his success on shorter courses. TPC Kuala Lumpur (2), Waialae Country Club, PGA National Resort and Spa, and TPC Southwind are all courses where Thomas has won that are relatively short by Tour standards.

Another aspect of El Camaleón that should suit JT is the paspalum greens. Thomas ranks first in the field by a large margin in Strokes Gained: Total on courses that have paspalum greens. He is gaining an average of 2.4 strokes per round on the surface and the next best is 1.8 per round (Billy Horschel). Thomas’ high ranking on the surface is no surprise considering his amazing success on the courses that feature paspalum, including two victories at TPC Kuala Lumpur. One of the 28-year-old’s biggest detriments during his relative cold stretch has been his putter; returning to a surface he has dominated on should help turn that around.

In addition to the course fit, Thomas also has shown some recent signs of his form coming around. In his past five starts, he’s gained an average of 3.9 strokes on approach and 5.4 from tee to green. Although the results haven’t been ideal, the opportunities have been as evidenced by his ranking of second in the field in Opportunities Gained (birdie chances within fifteen feet) in his past 24 rounds.

I don’t often go towards the top of the board during the “swing season”, but at this number, I feel there is still significant value on JT and expect him to earn his 17th career victory on Tour.

Billy Horschel (+3300, DraftKings): As evidenced by his tied for fifth performance last year, El Camaleón is a great course for Billy Horschel. Paspalum greens have been very kind to Billy in the past, and he trails only Justin Thomas for Strokes Gained: Total on Paspalum. His knack for stalking putts and then aggressively trying to sink them translates nicely to the slow velcro-like paspalum greens.

Horschel has also fared incredibly well on short tracks both throughout his career and recently. He has top 10 finishes at numerous shorter courses in addition to El Camaleón his career, including Waialae Country Club, Sedgefield Country Club, TPC Southwind, Harbour Town Golf Links and many others. The former Florida Gator ranks 1st in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on courses under 7,200 yards.

When examining Horschel’s skill set, it isn’t very surprising that he dominates shorter courses. He consistently puts the ball in the fairway and has gained an average on 4 strokes on the field per event in Fairways Gained, which sets him up for easy approach shots into greens for birdie looks.

The 34-year-old is also in the midst of a nice stretch of golf at the moment. After finishing 9th at the Tour Championship in September, Horschel traveled to Wentworth Golf Club in England to compete in the BMW PGA Championship. The event had an absolutely stacked field and Horschel was able to walk away with the trophy for his first European Tour victory.

Billy has previously spoken about what he perceived as a snub for the 2021 Ryder Cup and how he drew motivation from it: “I didn’t get that phone call. I was a little upset. I was a little ticked. Gave me a little bit of fire in my butt or my arse, to be nice to really not show anything, but you know, just gave me a little fire, not that I needed it.” Even though he won in Europe since then, you can be sure Horschel is (gator) chomping at the bit to add another PGA Tour victory to his resume.

Emiliano Grillo (+7500, DraftKings): Another golfer who will benefit greatly from the paspalum greens is Emiliano Grillo. Nine of the top twenty-four Strokes Gained performances of his career have come on courses that feature paspalum. This is an absolutely amazing statistic considering there are only a handful of courses that meet that description. Similarly, seven of his past thirteen starts on paspalum have resulted in a finish of 11th place or better. Simply put, Emiliano Grillo is a completely different player when playing on his preferred green surface.

Grillo has also been very successful at shorter courses in his career, with the reason being that he excels with shorter approach shots. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 1st in the field in proximity from 125-150 yards which is a distance he will be seeing quite often at El Camaleón. I also like the Argentines’ ability to put the ball in the fairway. Historically, golfers who keep the ball in play and rack up greens in regulation have had great success at El Camaleón.

Hudson Swafford (+20000, DraftKings):

El Camaleón is a dream, and Hudson Swafford is a dream fit. The 34-year-old has played some of his best golf at similar setups, including a victory and a 6th place finish in his last two starts at Corales Puntacana, which has a similar layout with paspalum greens. He also has a 3rd place finish at Waialae Country Club, which has a lot of similarities to El Camaleón as well.

In addition to the course fit, Swafford has been playing very well of late. In his past 24 rounds he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th in Greens in Regulation: Gained, which has been a statistic highly indicative of the winner in recent iterations of the event.

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19th Hole

2021 World Wide Technology Championship: Best DFS plays from each price range

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After a week in Bermuda, the PGA Tour heads to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, for the 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba at El Camaleón Golf Club.

Previously named The Mayakoba Golf Classic and the OHL at Mayakoba, the event has been a Tour stop since 2007 but was an alternate event until 2014 when it was moved to November and became a primary event. Since then, the tournament has offered full FedEx Cup points and a sizable purse.

The recent fields at Mayakoba have been pretty solid, but this year is one of the strongest fields in the tournament’s history. Some of the notable golfers among the 132 in the field include Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris.

El Camaleon Golf Club is a 6,987 yard Par 71 featuring paspalum greens. This short coastal track has played relatively easy since the tournament’s switch to November but can get tricky if the wind doesn’t cooperate.

Let’s take a look at each DraftKings price range and identify the best plays for each in GPP’s.

10,000+

Justin Thomas $11,200

When evaluating Thomas’ previous Tour victories, a few things stand out. The first is that he often tends to win during “swing season”. Eight of his sixteen wins have come between the months of September and January. The other glaring finding of note is his success on shorter courses. TPC Kuala Lumpur (2), Waialae Country Club, PGA National Resort and Spa, and TPC Southwind are all courses where Thomas has won that are relatively short by Tour standards.

Another aspect of El Camaleón that should suit JT is the paspalum greens. Thomas ranks first in the field by a large margin in Strokes Gained: Total on courses that have paspalum greens. He is gaining an average of 2.4 strokes per round on the surface and the next best is 1.8 per round (Billy Horschel). Thomas’ high ranking on the surface is no surprise considering his amazing success on the courses that feature paspalum, including two victories at TPC Kuala Lumpur. One of the 28-year-old’s biggest detriments during his relative cold stretch has been his putter; returning to a surface he has dominated on should help turn that around.

9,000+

Scottie Scheffler $9,900:

Although his recent form has been fairly inconsistent, El Camaleón should fit Scheffler’s skill set nicely. Despite his struggles, Scottie still ranks in the top 25 in his past 24 rounds in both birdie or better and opportunities gained. He has the ability to go really low and make birdies in bunches. The 25-year-old has been struggling with the putter, and the slow greens this week should help him out a bit. 

8,000+

Sergio Garcia $8,700:

Sergio has been playing really consistent golf of late and has finished in the top 26 in eight of his past ten starts. In his past 24 rounds, Garcia ranks 6th in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 8th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. The Spaniard heads to a course that should theoretically neutralize his typical poor putting. The three-putt percentage at El Camaleón is much lower than the Tour average, as they roll extremely slowly. 

7,000+

Emiliano Grillo $7,500:

Another golfer who will benefit greatly from the paspalum greens is Emiliano Grillo. Nine of the top twenty-four Strokes Gained performances of his career have come on courses that feature paspalum. This is an absolutely amazing statistic considering there are only a handful of courses that meet that description. Similarly, seven of his past thirteen starts on paspalum have resulted in a finish of 11th place or better. Simply put, Emiliano Grillo is a completely different player when playing on his preferred green surface. 

Grillo has also been very successful at shorter courses in his career, with the reason being that he excels with shorter approach shots. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 1st in the field in proximity from 125-150 yards which is a distance he will be seeing quite often at El Camaleón. I also like the Argentines’ ability to put the ball in the fairway. Historically, golfers who keep the ball in play and rack up greens in regulation have had great success at El Camaleón.

6,000+

Hudson Swafford $7,000:

El Camaleón is a dream, and Hudson Swafford is a dream fit. The 34-year-old has played some of his best golf at similar setups, including a victory and a 6th place finish in his last two starts at Corales Puntacana, which has a similar layout with paspalum greens. He also has a 3rd place finish at Waialae Country Club, which has a lot of similarities to El Camaleón as well. 

In addition to the course fit, Swafford has been playing very well of late. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th in Greens in Regulation: Gained, which has been a statistic highly indicative of the winner in recent iterations of the event.

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19th Hole

PGA Tour announces restrictions on green reading books

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A memo released from the PGA Tour yesterday indicated that major changes will be made to the green reading books that golfer’s have grown accustomed to:

 

Originally, the USGA and R&A tried to limit the use of these books by making them smaller, which only resulted in the players reading the books closer to their face. To their credit, the PGA Tour Advisory Council took steps to fix that mistake and mostly eliminate green reading books from the game altogether.

Golfers will be able to use a “committee approved book” that will have only general information on slopes and yardages. Additionally, players will be able to use hand-written notes written by themselves or their caddie.

This is expected to be a welcome change as it will reintroduce the art and skill of green reading back into the game of golf.

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