This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Mayakoba Golf Classic
Course: El Camaleon Golf Club (7,017 yards, par 71)
Winner: $1,296,000 and 500 FedExCup points
This is the last chance for PGA Tour players to earn FedExCup points in 2020. This event was supposed to be held the same week as the 18-man Hero World Challenge, but due to COVID-19 concerns that tournament was cancelled this year. The impact of that is some of the elite players that may have ended up teeing it up in the Bahamas are coming to Playa del Carmen instead to likely finish out their year of competitive golf. Dustin Johnson had committed to this tournament, but he decided to pass as he likely wasn't able to put in much practice after celebrating his Masters victory a couple weeks ago. World No. 3 Justin Thomas will be in the field, however, alongside four-time major champion Brooks Koepka. Two men that were robbed of making the Masters field considering their hot play during the summer were Daniel Berger and Viktor Hovland. They will both hope to put together another stellar result this week and continue to rise in the OWGR. Tony Finau and Rickie Fowler complete most of the other notables in Mexico. The weather forecast is a little shaky with threats of storms the first three rounds. With limited daylight, any sort of delay may very well cause the event to get finished up on Monday as it did last year when Brendon Todd took home the trophy. Each of the last four champions finished the tournament at least 19-under-par, so expect another shootout on what should be a soft and gettable golf course.
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- Driving accuracy
- SG: Putting
It doesn't take a long glance at the champions of this event to realize that accuracy off the tee will take precedent over distance. The fairways to start with aren't overly wide, then you consider that a number of tee shots present direct hazards and trouble to get in a Tour player's head right away. The rough is not overly long either, but judging the lies is where the trouble seems to come in at El Camaleon. Driving this week will be all about positioning the ball in the right spot to attack some gettable flagsticks. The three par-5's will be reachable by all players in the field and this set of par-3's is annually one of the easiest on the schedule. The green speeds will favor those who are aggressive with the putter, as you will have to pile up a lot of one-putts to take home the crown this week. There are some interesting run-off areas around some of these greens as well, so a solid short game will come in handy to keep bogeys off the card in what should be a shootout.
FanDuel Value Picks
Harris English ($11,500)
English has been one of the real breakout players in 2020 at age 31. Last season he recorded six top-10's and 14 top-25's in 20 starts. He's off to a great start this season with a trio of top-10's in just five starts, including a T6 at Sea Island a couple weeks ago. English won the first edition of this event when it moved to the fall and was top-five at Mayakoba last year as well. He's been one of the most complete players through the bag since the restart.
Viktor Hovland ($11,300)
You have to drive the ball well at El Camaleon and not many have been better than that than the 23-year-old Norwegian. Last season he ranked 18th in SG: Off-the-tee and early in this season he is up to 11th in that stat. Hovland has also made strides around the greens so far this season, as he currently sits inside the top-50 in SG: Around. Hovland has three top-15's in four starts this season and 10 total top-25's since the restart.
Abraham Ancer ($11,100)
Ancer will be as motivated as anyone this week gunning for his first PGA Tour title in his home country. He's played well here in the past with finishes of T9-T21-T8 the last three years. It's no surprise he's played well at El Camaleon in the past, as he is very accurate off the tee and is great both on and around the greens. Ancer contended on Sunday at the Masters the last time we saw him before fading late.
Russell Henley ($10,900)
With the way Henley has hit the ball over the last few months, I think you could make a case for including him in your lineups every time he's in the field. This week it definitely makes sense, however, considering his profile as a short, but accurate hitter. Henley ranks top-10 this season in driving accuracy, GIR percentage, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-green, and scrambling. The fact that the 31-year-old is under $11,000 in this field makes him all the more attractive.
Longer Shots with Value
Patton Kizzire ($9,800)
Kizzire is starting to round into form, going T24-T11-T10 in his last three starts. The Auburn product notched his first career PGA Tour victory here back in 2017. His putter has been hot, as he ranks top-25 in SG: Putting, putts per GIR, and three-putt avoidance this season. Kizzire led the field in birdies at the RSM Classic a couple weeks ago.
Doug Ghim ($9,400)
The former Texas Longhorn is hitting on all cylinders with four top-25's in five starts this season. Ghim currently ranks 16th in SG: Approach, 25th in SG: Tee-to-green, and eighth in birdie average this season. He ranked T15 in GIR's and T7 in putts per GIR a couple weeks ago at the RSM Classic. Ghim hasn't been quite as accurate off the tee as a few others on this list, but his iron play has more than made up for it.
John Huh ($8,900)
Huh won this event back in 2012 and has notched four top-30's in his last six starts here. The 30-year-old is off to a good start this season with a pair of top-20's in three starts. Huh currently ranks 13th on Tour in driving accuracy, 26th in GIR percentage, and 25th in putts per GIR.
Brice Garnett ($8,600)
Garnett hasn't had the ideal form this season, but recent play has never mattered for the 37-year-old when he comes to tee it up at El Camaleon. Since a missed cut in his first start here, Garnett hasn't finished outside the top-25 in five starts with four top-11 results. Not only that, but the man hasn't posted a round above par in any of those 20 rounds. Garnett is going to put it in the fairway and make putts, which is the formula for this track.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
With Justin Thomas listed at an absurd $12,600 and Brooks Koepka at $12,200, I don't see any value at all there, especially considering both are not great at finding fairways and are inconsistent with the putter. Harris English is next on the board at a much more reasonable $11,500, followed by a number of other good options that I would argue have a better chance of success at this course than Thomas or Koepka. There have been enough tournaments contested at El Camaleon that I think course history becomes a very important factor. As I talked about above, the formula for success is pretty simple here: hit the fairway and hole putts. It's going to be a shootout in all likelihood, so maximizing your birdie and eagle chances will be important. Some deep sleepers this week I like are Brendan Steele ($8,200), J.J. Spaun ($7,900), and Cameron Percy ($7,600).