Mayakoba Itches

The PGA Tour heads south of the border for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. This year's field is headlined by Rickie Fowler, defending champion Pat Perez and Patrick Reed.

Last year

Pat Perez fired 62-67 on the weekend to win by two shots over 54-hole leader Gary Woodland. Perez opened the final round with 5 birdies on the front nine which capped off a 27 hole stretch that he played 14 under par. The win was particularly impressive given it was Perez's third start since a five month layoff for shoulder surgery.

The course

The Greg Norman designed El Camaleón GC at Mayakoba is a ball-striker's paradise. Measuring only 6,987 yards from the back tees, the course features narrow jungle lined fairways. A missed fairway will typically lead to a penalty shot or a dicey recovery shot. For the pros this means a lot of irons off the tee and limited strategy. For the other 51 weeks of the year, El Camaleon is a nightmare for resort guests. For $200 per round, resort guests get a wind-swept golf course with playing corridors that average less than 45 yards. In comparison, Bandon Dunes average playing corridor is upwards of 75 yards and features very few water hazards.

Storylines

Champ's debut
After making it through the 2nd stage of Web.com Tour Q-School last week, Cameron Champ has decided to turn pro. The former Texas A&M star absolutely pummels the ball. I watched Champ a few times this summer and he routinely hits it 40-50 yards past his playing competitors. I witnessed this at the U.S. Open when he was paired with Xander Schauffele (16th on Tour in driving distance) and Trey Mullinax (9th on Tour in driving distance).

To go along with his prodigious length, Champ also has game. He started Sunday in the top 10 at the U.S. Open, made the semifinals at the Western Am, won the 2017 Trans-Miss Amateur and qualified for the Walker Cup team.

Fowler's first start
Superstar Rickie Fowler will make the first start of his 2017-2018 season. Fowler is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro. He only won once but was a fixture on the leaderboard and had the fewest missed cuts of his career. Fowler also was in contention on Sunday in three of the four majors.

Paulie's Picks

With the tour heading to a short and tight track, Paulie is looking at course history, recent form and a strain of grass. Check out his picks here

Kyle Franz Podcast

On Monday, I hosted up and coming golf course architect Kyle Franz on the podcast. Due to Kyle's graciousness with his time, it's a two part podcast. In Part I we discuss Kyle's background, working for many of today's great architects, Donald Ross and much more. Listen to part I on the websiteiTunesor Stitcher.

In part II, we discuss golf in the British Isles, the ground game and professional golf, desert golf and answer overrated/underrated. Listen to part II on the websiteiTunes or Stitcher.

More podcast news

On Thursday, I am recording a podcast with legendary golf course architect Bill Coore. If you have a question or overrated/underrated that you would like asked submit them here.

Sun City

The European Tour heads to Sun City, South Africa for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge. Only two events remain on the European Tour schedule and theirRace to Dubai. The current leader is Tommy Fleetwood but after back to back wins, Justin Rose has closed the gap. The Nedbank is hosted by Gary Player and played aptly at Gary Player Country Club. Last year, Alex Noren won in Sun City by six shots and will look to defend his title and move up from 8th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.

Quick hooks

The final 3 sites of 2nd stage of Web.com Tour Q-School are underway follow live scoring here.
USC leads Stanford by one shot heading into the final round of the St. Mary's Invitational.
 

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