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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Mexico Open (2024)


For the third consecutive season, the PGA Tour heads to Mexico for the Mexico Open at Vidanta Vallarta.


Although returning to the Tour, being just the third playing, this event and course is one of the newer events the Tour has to offer.


This event was also played during the last week of April during its last two installments.


The event originated from the Mexican Golf Open which dates back to 1944. It is considered Mexico’s national championship.


The Mexico Open takes over for the WGC Mexico Championship which is no longer being held.


The Field

Being a regular PGA Tour event and following two signature events in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational, along with the WM Phoenix Open, the field we’re seeing this week is one the weakest of the season.


It’s headlined by defending champion Tony Finau who outlasted the likes of Jon Rahm to win by three strokes.


Rahm also won this event in 2022 during its inaugural playing.


Along with Finau, there are just three other golfers within the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings in this week’s field. Those names include Nicolai Hojgaard (34,) Emiliano Grillo (40,) and Ryan Fox (41.) 


Other notable names in this week’s field include Stephan Jaeger, Thorbjorn Olesen, Thomas Detry, Patrick Rodgers, Keith Mitchell and Taylor Pendrith.


The Course

The Signature Course at Vidanta Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta is a Greg Norman design and will host its third PGA Tour event with the return of the Mexico Open.


This Par 71 championship course played as a top-ten course in total yardage last season at just shy of 7,500. 


The course extends along the Ameca River with spectacular views of the nearby Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The inclusion of indigenous trees, native grasses and jungle that surround the core course adds to its natural beauty.


Fun fact, the course features the world's longest golf cart suspension bridge spanning the Ameca River from Nayarit to Jalisco.


Getting off the tee is of the utmost importance this week as this course can best be described as a “bombers paradise” as it is a flat track with wide fairways and very little rough.


As previously mentioned, the course plays to the tune of just shy of 7,500 yards, placing it in the top-ten courses in total yardage a year ago. It offers generous fairways and non penal rough. Therefore the course rewards the longest drivers in the field.


Long iron play too will be something we look very closely at this week as a year ago, 35-percent of total approach shots came from beyond 200 yards. That is nearly double the PGA Tour average.


The plethora of 200-yard-plus approach shots come from the combination of three 195-plus yard par-threes, four long par-fives and six par-fours that play over 450 yards.


The Signature Course at Vidanta Vallarta features slow and sticky Paspalum grass throughout.


Although the greens too are Paspalum, they play fast with plenty of subtle breaks and undulation and played to the tune of 12 on the Stimpmeter a year ago. The green complexes too are on the larger side when it comes to PGA Tour standards.


The greens are also well protected by bunkers, with 106 total on the course, and are surrounded by tricky collection areas. Although featuring the tricky collection areas around the greens, Paspalum levels the field when it comes to around the green play.


Water too is in play on 14 holes this week and along with numerous sandy waste areas, will serve as a line of defense to the course in capturing wayward shots.


The course too is known for its high winds that come from the Pacific Coast line. Golfers well coursed in windy conditions will see an advantage this week.


The Weather

As of the time of writing this, weather will seem to be a non-factor outside of the coastal winds. There is a zero percent change of precipitation across all four days this week. Additionally, highs are set to remain at 82-or-83 degrees for all four days. Winds will remain around six-to-seven miles-per-hour for all four days as well but that doesn’t project the possibility of the coastal winds we’ve talked about. In all, it appears we’re in line for four great days of golf this week.


Key Stats

  • Average Driving Distance

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT)

  • Approach Shots from 200-plus Yards

  • Birdie or Better Percentage

  • Sand Saves Percentage

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Bogey Avoidance


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

This is a price range I’m going to avoid this week. Finau is the odds on favorite to win this week and that comes with a hefty $12,000 price tag. Although in a vacuum he warrants such a price in this field but recent play does not suggest that. Beyond that we have Emiliano Grillo at $11,100, Thorbjorn Olesen at $10,300 and Thomas Detry at $10,100. Nothing there catches my eye. The name I’m going to go with however is Nicolai Hojgaard ($10,700.) He’s the third most expensive guy on DraftKings but with that comes a lot of good things. He’s in some good form, placing T39th at last week’s The Genesis Invitational and T31st at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He also placed solo second at the Farmers Insurance Open this season as well. He’s currently 31st on Tour in average driving distance, 35th in SG: OTT, 42nd in SG: PUTT, 54th in SG: APP, 86th in bogey avoidance, 128th in birdie or better percentage, 142nd in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards and 164th in sand saves percentage. He doesn’t jump off the page at me according to my model. I guess you could say this is more of a gut play than anything but at this point, he may be the best golfer in this entire field. He also played this event a year ago where he placed T33rd. I’m also playing two units on him at +1800, a very fair number in my opinion. I also stated early last fall that Hojgaard would win on Tour this season so I have to have him on my card when he does so.


$9,000-$9,900

Outside of Finau, my favorite to win this week is Keith Mitchell ($9,900.) I absolutely love what he brings to the table this week. He is currently fourth on Tour in both SG: OTT and proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, eighth in GIR%, 42nd in bogey avoidance, 46th in average driving distance, 53rd in birdie or better percentage, 91st in SG: PUTT, 96th in SG: APP and 135th in sand saves percentage. He’s also had some great performances to start the season, including a T17th in his last outing at the WM Phoenix Open and a T9th earlier this year at The American Express. I’m playing a unit on him at +3300 as well. Also consider Erik van Rooyen ($9,500.) Rooyen is currently sixth on Tour in bogey avoidance, 18th in GIR%, 27th in SG: OTT, 38th in birdie or better percentage, 40th in average driving distance, 56th in SG: PUTT, 58th in SG: APP, 133rd in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards and a 156th in sand saves percentage. He did miss the cut in his last outing at the WM Phoenix Open but prior to that placed top 25 in three-of-four events, highlighted by a T20th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He also played in this event last year where he placed T33rd. I’m also playing a unit on him at +4000.


$8,000-$8,900

Right below Mitchell in my model this week is Davis Thompson ($8,900.) The 24 year-old has quietly had some quality performance to start his 2024 campaign. He placed T15th in his last outing at the WM Phoenix Open and placed T21st earlier this year at The American Express. Thompson is currently 14th on Tour in SG: APP, 20th in birdie or better percentage, 24th in both proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards and SG: PUTT, 27th in GIR%, 46th in sand saves percentage, 50th in average driving distance and 78th in bogey avoidance. Now, his downfall does come with accuracy off the tee as he ranks 162nd in SG: OTT but with these wide open fairways, I’m not overly concerned, especially as he comes with plus distance. I’m also playing a unit on him at +4500 to win. Also consider Jake Knapp ($8,700.) Knapp placed T28th in his last outing at the WM Phoenix Open and also went T3rd a few weeks back at the Farmers Insurance Open. He is currently sixth on Tour in sand saves percentage, 22nd in average driving distance, 52nd in SG: PUTT, 57th in SG: APP, 59th in GIR%, 64th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 89th in SG: OTT, 91st in bogey avoidance and 124th in birdie or better percentage. 


$7,000-$7,900

I’m really high on Sam Stevens ($7,100) and what he has to offer this week. He’s currently 16th on Tour in average driving distance, 18th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 31st in SG: OTT, 58th in SG: PUTT, 59th in GIR%, 74th in birdie or better percentage, 86th in sand saves percentage, 90th in SG: APP and 98th in bogey avoidance. He’s made the cut in all four events he’s played on the season as well, highlighted by a T24th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a T28th at the WM Phoenix Open. I’m also playing a unit on him at +7000. Also consider Jhonattan Vegas ($7,600.) Vegas is currently fifth on Tour in both SG: OTT and GIR%, 27th in average driving distance, 29th in bogey avoidance, 48th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 50th in SG: APP, 128th in birdie or better percentage and 170th in sand saves percentage. His major red flag is his flat stick as he ranks 163rd in SG: PUTT. He’ll need a few to fall in his favor this week but the rest of the game is there.


$6,900-

If you’ve noticed by now, I’m leaning on guys who are long off the tee and there are few longer than Parker Coody ($6,500.) Coody has made two-of-three cuts to start this season and placed T25th in his last outing at the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s currently eighth on Tour in average driving distance, 18th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 21st in SG: OTT, 37th in SG: APP, 53rd in sand saves percentage, 56th in GIR%, 84th in birdie or better percentage, 138th in bogey avoidance and 148th in SG: PUTT. I’m playing a unit on Coody at +11000. Also consider Patton Kizzire ($6,800.) Kizzire has missed the cut in his last two events but did place T13th at the Sony Open in Hawaii which some correlate to this week’s venue. He did play in this event last year but missed the cut as well. Kizzire is currently fifth on Tour in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 6th in both average driving distance and SG: OTT, 12th in sand saves percentage, 36th in SG: PUTT, 69th in bogey avoidance, 126th in birdie or better percentage, 137th in SG: APP and 148th in GIR%.


Betting Card

  • Nicolai Hojgaard (+1800) - 2u

  • Keith Mitchell (+3300) - 1u

  • Erik van Rooyen (+4000) - 1u

  • Davis Thompson (+4500) - 1u

  • Sam Stevens (+7000) - 1u

  • Parker Coody (+11000) - 1u

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