Paulie's Picks: WGC Mexico

With Horschel's fourth place finish at the Honda, we’ve now had two consecutive weeks of the Longshot Pick finishing in the top four. Let's try to make it three weeks in a row!!!

This is a week where in-depth analysis can create a distinct advantage whether on DraftKings or in your league. We don't have any course history to rely on since the 7,300 yard Club de Golf Chapultepec is hosting PGA Tour players for the first time.

Key Notes about the course:
 

  • 7,800 feet above sea level (1.5 miles)

  • Yardage: 7,300 (elevation adjusted: 6,700)

  • Poa Annua greens

  • Kikuyu grass throughout the rest of the course

  • Tight tree-lined layout requires precision

Takeaways

Elevation

Elevation will play a big factor this week. The ball will carry further with less spin and less curvature. Another effect of elevation is it's affect on a player's body as it tires out many players. Players will have a hard time adjusting to all of these factors. Those who have been exposed to similar elevation will have an advantage this week. Some events with similar elevation: Barracuda Championship, BMW Championship when hosted at Cherry Hills and the Omega European Masters. The event with the best comparison is the Omega European Masters which has been a mainstay on the European Tour for many years. Hosted at 5,000 feet above sea level, players comfortable at that course will have an easier time adjusting this week.

Grass

With the combination of Poa Annua greens and Kikuyu grass throughout the rest of the course, many players will struggle to adapt. On the PGA Tour, Riviera and Torrey Pines have a similar grass structure. On foreign soil, many South African courses have kikuyu grass such as Gary Player CC which hosts the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Course Layout

This week's course is very similar to many European courses that place an emphasis on ball striking and punish wayward tee shots. I would favor European players this week who are used to playing a more precise type of golf as opposed to the modern American version of bomb and gouge.

After analyzing the above items, four European players drastically stood out to me. These players are all viable for your DraftKings lineup, One-and-Done league and are good choices to wager a few dollars on:

Alexander Noren $7,200 (80-1 odds to win)

All signs point to a high finish for Noren this week. Noren has had great success at altitude as evidenced by his two victories at the Omega European Masters (2009, 2016). On top of that, he knows how to play on Kikuyu grass as evidence by his six shot victory at the 2016 Nedbank Challenge. The Swedish golfer is also very comfortable on similar courses as he has grown up playing European courses which place an emphasis on ball striking. On top of that, how often can you get a player who won four times last year and is the 11th ranked player in the world at 80-1 odds and $7,200 on DraftKings?

Sergio Garcia $8,500 (28-1 odds to win)

Garcia has a large amount of positive trends coming into this week's event. Garcia has played well at elevation in the past. In his last 5 appearances at the Omega European Masters, he has four top six finishes including one victory (2005). Garcia also owns a vacation home at the Crans-sur-Sierre GC which hosts that event. If that wasn't enough proof to show that he succeeds at elevation, he finished 4th at the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills in 2014. He also has had success on the Poa/Kikuyu combo as shown by his solid historical results at Riviera. Garcia is number three on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green which will pay dividends on this week's layout that requires precision and control. Garcia has been playing well of late as shown by his 14th place finish at the Honda and recent victory in Dubai.

Danny Willett $6,700 (80-1 odds to win)

Willett has also had success at elevation as shown by his four top 12 finishes in his last five appearances at the Omega European Masters which was highlighted by a 2015 victory.  Willett has been up and down (mostly down) since his Masters victory last year. He has shown some signs of life recently as evidenced by his fifth place finish at the Maybank Malaysia Open a few weeks back. He has had moderate success on Kikuyu grass in the past (11th at the 2016 Nedbank Challenge).

Tyrrell Hatton $8,300 (40-1 odds to win)

After last week, many of you now know who Hatton is. He is a very solid player who is getting more and more comfortable in big situations. Hatton has had success playing at elevation in the past as shown by his third place finish in 2015 and 2014 at the Omega European Masters. At $8,300, it is hard not to play a guy who has three top fours in his last four starts worldwide.

 

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