The TOUR will travel about 10 miles Northwest of Mexico City for the first World Golf Championship (WGC) event of 2020, the WGC-Mexico Championship being played at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The course will play as a Par 71, total 7,355 yards and be putt on Poa Annua greens for the third straight week.
This is the second year the tournament will be played in the mid-February scheduling slot and the third year the tournament will be hosted at this course. There have been two winners since moving to Mexico, with Dustin Johnson winning in 2017 as well as 2019 and Phil Mickelson taking home the title in 2018. Phil has now finished inside the top 3 in two of his past three worldwide events, but he failed to make the cut last week totaling three missed weekends over his past four PGA events. He along with Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler are some notables not in the field this week.
The course ranked 17th in difficulty last year but played easier in 2018 ranking 31st in scoring relative to par. What will be different from most weeks on TOUR is the altitude,.Golf Club de Chapultepec is about 7,400 feet above sea level, which should equate to the course playing closer to 7,000 yards or lower per the elevation. The course will be similar in grass type to Riviera Country Club, but it’s not the only course we’ve seen a correlation with. Other places like Torrey Pines, the Plantation Course at Kapalua and the Omega European Masters played in Switzerland on a course 4,920 feet above sea level share similarities in layout and leaderboards.
Driving distance will not be an advantage nor a necessity at Club de Golf Chapultepec, but more utilized for the Par 5s all measuring over 570 yards with two being over 600 yards. If the course isn’t long, where does the difficulty lie? It’s heavily tree-lined along the fairways so you’ll need to have a modicum of accuracy off-the-tee and have the correct angles into these tough to hit greens, many of which are two-tiered. Lineups should also have players who’ve experienced the difficulties with Poa Annua over the past two weeks or one of the past two weeks with a higher average rate of three-putts per round at this course over the TOUR average. As always, focusing on elite ball-strikers, mainly through approach will be key where distance control may be tough to gauge at elevation.
SHOULD DUSTIN JOHNSON HAVE BETTER ODDS TO WIN THIS WEEKEND?
Set your lineups here: PGA TOUR $800K Resurgence [$200K to 1st]
Rory McIlroy ($11,500)His Sunday was a letdown, losing two strokes on the greens and 1.5 strokes with his irons, which is not the Rory we’re used to seeing over his past few tournaments. Even though his Sunday was quite messy, he still didn’t lose strokes with his ball-striking and travels to a tournament where he’s finished T7 in 2017 and runner up last year. He’s been at or near the top in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green dating back to the past 25 tournaments he’s played in as well as first in his past three tournaments on TOUR. What is also going to help is how great he’s been around the greens, especially compared to the other golfers in this price range ranking seventh over his past 12 rounds.
Xander Schauffele ($9,400)A 23rd last week at Genesis feels like a letdown, especially when he was rostered in over 25% of lineups in GPP contests and 36% in cash lineups. Hopefully this decreases his projected ownership this week at a no-cut event, a format that seems to fit his game with elite finishes throughout his career and more recently a runner-up at both the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions this season. He ranked ninth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last week, but Schauffele lost close to 1.5 strokes on poa annua greens, which is not the norm. He should be able to regain some confidence with his putter ranking inside the top 15 in Strokes Gained: Putting over his past three tournaments on Poa Annua greens.
Sergio Garcia ($8,600)Garcia had a nice return back to the PGA at Riviera ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last week, but he lost four strokes putting leading to a mediocre finish. Being inside the top 40 at the Genesis isn’t terrible, but Garcia’s been great here recording two top-10 finishes in back-to-back starts at Club de Golf Chapultepec. His solid ball-striking should continue at a course where he’s hit the ball well, finishing inside the top 6 in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the past two years. He should also be able to find the short grass this week, ranking 12th in fairways gained over the field in his past three tournaments. If he can have an average putting week, he could be in contention come Sunday.
Matt Fitzpatrick ($8,000)We’ve seen some crossover with course condition and layout at Club de Golf Chapultepec and the Omega European Masters played at Crans-sur-Sierre GC in Switzerland, a tournament that Fitzpatrick has won in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018. This doesn’t mean Fitzpatrick will automatically have success in Mexico — his best finish is a T16 back in 2017 — but he’s striking the ball well, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green and eighth in fairways gained over the field in his past three tournaments.
Lee Westwood ($6,900)Westwood’s stats aren’t going to jump off the page, but his recent win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was impressive beating players like Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Matthew Fitzpatrick. He’s also done well at the Omega European Masters over the past two years. It’s not imperative to roster golfers at this salary, but he’s one of a few in this range who’s won of recent and the type of upside we should be looking at this price.
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