This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Mayakoba Golf Classic
El Camaleon GC (6,987 yards, par 71)
Winner: $1,296,000 and 500 FedExCup points
After a week off following the completion of the Asian Swing, the PGA Tour has just two official events left in 2019. This week the Tour heads South of the border to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The unofficial host this week will be Abraham Ancer, who has a pair of top-25 results the last two seasons in his home country of Mexico. He will be joined by his upcoming Presidents Cup teammates Jason Day, Joaquin Niemann, and Adam Hadwin. Last year's champion, Matt Kuchar, will be making his first competitive start since the Porsche European Open in early September. Kuchar's Presidents Cup teammate Tony Finau will also be in the field. Storms are expected leading up to the tournament, which could impact the play on both Thursday and Friday, but the weekend should be clear with minimal wind throughout the event.
Key Stats to Victory
Length will take a back seat to accuracy off the tee this week, as this is one of the rare instances in which a PGA Tour course in 2019 clocks in under 7,000 yards. With plenty of rain in the forecast leading up to the tournament, we should see target golf allowing players to be very aggressive with their approach shots. Each of the three par-5's will be reachable for nearly every player in the field and the four par-3's are short and ranked as the easiest of any course on the PGA Tour last year. Strong iron play will be required to contend this week given the conditions. The greens will likely favor the aggressive as well. It would be surprising if Matt Kuchar's tournament record score of 22-under-par from last year was not broken in the 2019 edition.
FanDuel Value Picks
Viktor Hovland, ($11,700)
The Oklahoma State standout has now played in 11 tournaments as a professional and made the cut in all them, something unheard of for a rookie. And he's not just sneaking into the weekend either. During that stretch Hovland has posted eight top-20 finishes. He also set the all-time PGA Tour record for most consecutive rounds in the 60's at 21, two better than Bob Estes' previous record of 19 in 2001. Mayakoba rewards consistent ball-strikers and that is Hovland's specialty.
Charles Howell III, ($11,000)
We usually don't hear much from Howell after the first couple months of the year when he is deadly on some of those West Coast courses. He has quietly been played some really good golf lately, however, making the cut in all five of his starts this season with a pair of top-10 finishes. At age 40 his ball striking is just as good as ever, part of the reason he has done so well at Mayakoba. In 10 starts he owns seven top-20's, including a trio of top-10s.
Russell Knox, ($10,800)
Knox's record in this event has been quite impressive. He has gone T2-3-T9 in his last three starts here. He also has shot under-par in each of his last 16 rounds at El Camaleon. Knox hasn't had the 2019 he had hoped for, but he has made the cut in each of his last five starts, including a T11 at the Bermuda Championship just a couple weeks ago. Ball striking is going to be important here, and so far this season Knox is 10th in SG: Approach and 27th in GIR.
Lanto Griffin, ($10,300)
Griffin is leading the FedExCup Standings thanks in part to his first career win at the Houston Open, but also because he has finished top-20 in all six starts. His consistency is impressive and there's no reason not to keep riding the hot train. Griffin currently ranks 14th in both SG: Total and scoring average so far this season despite making more starts than most.
Longer Shots with Value
Brian Gay, ($9,400)
Mayakoba is the type of venue where a 47-year-old can still contend with the younger brigade. Brain Gay isn't playing like a 47-year-old, however. He already has posted three top-25's in five starts this season, including a T3 in Bermuda a couple of weeks ago. Gay picked up his first PGA Tour win in Mayakoba back in 2008 and has made the cut in all nine tries. His putting is still among the best on Tour.
Xinjun Zhang, ($8,900)
The 32-year-old finished as the regular season points leader from the Korn Ferry Tour last year. In 22 starts, Zhang made 19 cuts with seven five top-three finishes, including a pair of wins. He has carried that success into the early part of this PGA Tour season, posting three finishes of T16 or better in just six starts. Zhang is now 21st in the FedExCup standings.
Doc Redman, ($8,700)
Redman had three top-20s in just six starts last year on the PGA Tour, which included a runner-up at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This season he has already made five cuts in six starts, including a pair of top-25s. Redman fits the ball-striker prototype at Camaleon, as he currently ranks 12th in driving accuracy, 16th in GIR percentage, and 22nd in SG: Tee-to-Green. The soft greens should help his putting. Redman is poised for his best finish of the season.
Adam Long, ($8,500)
You would be hard pressed to find a better ball striker in this price range this season than Adam Long. He currently ranks second in SG: Tee-to-green, ninth in SG: Approach, and sixth in driving accuracy. He is also converting his opportunities, averaging an even five birdies per round, which ranks ninth on Tour. Last year's Desert Classic Champion missed a whopping 16 cuts last season, but through five starts in the 2019-20 campaign Long is perfect with a trio of top-25s.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on a 60k standard salary cap)
The salaries are a lot more even this week than we saw over the course of the Asian Swing. There are a total of 18 players that have salaries in the five-figure range. I think you're looking at one player in the $11,000 range, two players in the $10,000 range, then filling out the roster with three players in the $9,600-$8,500 range. There is not a lot of depth this week, so it's hard to pull any players under $8,000 and feel confident they will get you four rounds. I'm also going to avoid the highest priced player in the field this week in Matt Kuchar since he hasn't played in over two months. Recent play and strong ball striking should be the biggest correlation to success at Mayakoba.