Course & History
El Camaleon Golf Club at Playa del Carmen, Mexico
1st Place: Pat Perez
2nd Place: Gary Woodland
1st Place: Graeme McDowell
2nd Place: Jason Bohn, Russell Knox
1st Place: Charley Hoffman
2nd Place: Shawn Stefani
1st Place: Harris English
2nd Place: Brian Stuard
Stats That Matter Most
This week, my model highlights Birdie or Better, Par 3 Scoring, Par 4 Scoring and Driving Accuracy as the most predictive stats. All stats are less predictive at El Camaleon compared to most other courses on tour, so I’m more than happy to go off-script and pick a golfer playing well, or showing prior success on this course even if their profile doesn’t fit the statistics above.
Players are listed in order of preference for that tier
None - I’m fading the top tier this week. It’s Rickie’s first tournament of the season, Pat Perez is too volatile despite being last year’s winner, and Patrick Reed hasn’t shown enough for me to want to invest at this price tag. There’s so many mid-tier options I’d rather target coming in with good form, better price tag, and should be lesser owned as a result.
$8,500 - $9,900
Chesson Hadley - Three for three in making Top 5s to start the year, I expect Hadley to roll. His price has dropped with the addition of some bigger names to the field (Fowler, Johnson, and Reed), but I’m going to continue to ride Hadley. His putter has carried him this far, and I’ll hope it stays hot on a course where good putting can really separate the leaderboard.
Chez Reavie - Reavie doesn’t have any Top 10s on his game log out of 4 chances in the 2018 season, but he does have 4 Top 25s. He putts well, scores on Par 3s and Par 4s, and has been the most accurate driver of all qualified golfers so far this year. I’m all-in on Reavie this week in Mexico. Chez scored a T-4 here last year, so recent form is also working in his favor.
Zach Johnson - I would love to sneak all three of these guys in my lineups, but Johnson is the odd man out for me. He is positioned well for this tournament given the weaker field, his strong showing at the Safeway Open, and his historically great putter. ZJ is an excellent pivot from any of the more popular top tier plays this week.
$7,500 - $8,400
Anirban Lahiri - My model loves Lahiri this week, drivenly largely by his putting and driving accuracy. He has two Top 10s in three tries, but a 51st finish last week in Vegas isn’t the most confident-inspiring performance. He’s a bit of a wild card, and maybe someone to stay away from in cash games, but the numbers back up Lahiri doing well this weekend. A T28 here last year is also working in his favor.
Luke List - Last year’s most volatile player, List has been playing great to start the 2018 season. It can go away any weekend, but I’ll continue to ride List as his price stays below $8,500. List racks up birdies every week, and if he can avoid enough big numbers to make the cut, List should be good for over 80 points. Nothing sums up List’s volatile performances more than his T7 in this tournament last year, and a missed cut in 2016.
Austin Cook - Two made cuts, but no top 10s for Austin Cook to start the 2018 season. There’s little reason to think this will be the week Cooks comes out of nowhere, but his all-around game looks like it will provide really great value at $8,100.
$7,000 - $7,400
Nick Taylor - Another golfer with an all-around profile that makes for a safer play at such a cheap price tag. Taylor is four-for-four in making cuts this year, including a 3 Top 25s and a Top 10 finish at the Safeway Open. He’s also made the cut in his only two previous starts at El Camaleon, including a T15 last year. Taylor came through for us last week when the model hyped him up, I expect the same this weekend.
Wyndham Clark - An extreme outlier in the model, Clark is projected to finish 4th. This is drivenly largely by the small sample size, Clark’s 27% Birdie or Better percentage, and almost 2.0 strokes gained putting so far this year. Use
Tyrone Van Aswegen - The only player on this list who has struggled this year with the putter, Van Aswegen scores well in the model based on his ability to rack up birdies. He did struggle mightily in Las Vegas last week, but I’m willing to hop on Van Aswegen to free up salary cap for golfers in a higher tier.
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Good luck this weekend!