Mexico Open at Vidanta PGA Preview
MEXICO OPEN AT VIDANTA PGA PREVIEW – We were close again last week, but we couldn’t quite get there. The guys were all over Wyndham Clark and The Beau Show, but they faltered. The winners, Nick Hardy and Davis Riley, were guys we’d long had our eye on to breakthrough, but we couldn’t justify betting them at their depressed odds last week.
The Tour heads to Mexico this week for the recently rebooted Mexico Open. Jon Rahm won the inaugural version at Vidanta Vallarta last year and is back to defend his title. He’s officially the hottest player on earth right now, so all eyes will be on him as he looks to add his 5th win of the year to a ridiculous 2022-23 campaign that includes a recent Masters victory.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, 4/25/23
Vallarta Vidanta, designed by Greg Norman, is basically what we expect when the Tour heads to a vacation destination. It profiles similarly to Corales, which hosted the Corales Puntacana Championship, in that it’s on the longer side but doesn’t have any massive defenses except some coastal wind.
Clocking in at around 7,500 yards at a par 71, it’s definitely long, but not overwhelmingly so for Tour players playing in warm weather at sea-level.
In addition to being a similar style course to Corales, it also features paspalum grass, which is typical on coastal courses because it can be watered with brackish seawater.
There are a ton of bunkers and some water hazards, but this isn’t a course that is going to offer a ton of trouble to Tour players.
Brandon Wu and Tony Finau set the course record here last year in the final round with 63s, so it’s definitely gettable despite the length and bunkering.
From a handicapping perspective, it’s important to note that the landing areas off the tee are quite large, so guys will be hitting the big stick often. Gaining strokes off the tee will likely be an important factor this week.
Aside from Jon Rahm, this field is relatively weak. Rahm is priced hilariously low at +260, so it’s difficult to see the value there. Those are basically prime-Tiger odds, and as good as Rahm is, I don’t think he should be getting quite that much respect from a betting perspective.
Tony Finau (+800) is the only other player in the field who ranks inside the top-50 in OWGR. Wyndham Clark (+1600) is quietly having a strong season and is top-20 in the FedEx Cup points, but those are awfully low odds for a player still looking to secure his first career victory on Tour. That being said, he’s probably in the conversation for “best player without a win” so the victory will probably be forthcoming if he continues his solid play.
As for myself, I’ll be looking to target some guys who have posted good results here or at Corales. Nicolai Hojgaard (+3000) strikes me as someone who could sneak up and surprise some people this week as he makes his second start after receiving Special Temporary Membership. He finished 2nd at Corales, so this type of course seems to suit him.
Putting it all together
As I’ve already alluded to, I’m factoring in players who had good results here last year, as well as guys who played well earlier in the season at Corales, which, in my mind, is the closest comparison.
If you’re trying to weave some relevant stats into your analysis, the most important stat looks like SG: OTT. The leaderboard from last year’s event was littered with guys who excel off the tee. That’s probably where I’d start my analysis from a stats perspective.
Greg Norman designed courses tend to reward good drivers, and this course doesn’t seem to be at odds with his typical design style.
Check back tomorrow to read our picks for the Mexico Open!