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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Puerto Rico Open (2024)

You know what I love more than golf? Bonus golf!

Playing opposite this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational is the Puerto Rico Open at the Grand Reserve Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Although playing opposite of the API, this is one of the stronger fields we’ve seen in the history of this alternate event as only 69-golfers will play at Bay Hill.

This event has also served as the jump-start for many of the Tour’s biggest names as the likes of Tony Finau and Viktor Hovland had used this event as their maiden PGA Tour victory. Ten of the 15 winners of the Puerto Rico Open have used the event as their first victory.

Due to it being an alternate event, we get a chance to see the rookies and the up-and-comers of the PGA Tour battle it out.

The Field

Despite being an alternate event, this week’s field includes seven golfers within the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR.)

Rasmus Hojgaard, twin brother of PGA starlet Nicolai Hojgaard, opens as the odds-on-favorite to win coming over from the DP World Tour.

Joining Rasmus (75) of those within the top 100 of the OWGR competing this week are Robert MacIntyre (68,) Aaron Rai (78,) Ryo Hisatsune (84,) Justin Suh (91,) Ben Griffin (94) and Victor Perez (94.)

Other notable names in this week’s field include Daniel Berger, Chris Gotterup, Chan Kim, Brandon Wu, Nate Lashley and Cameron Champ.

Nico Echavarria comes in as the defending champion of this week’s event, besting Akshay Bhatia by two strokes a year ago. Echavarria will be back this week to defend his title.

The Puerto Rico open has also never seen a back-to-back winner. Echavarria will look to become the first.

Other former winners of this event playing this week include Ryan Brehm (2022,) Martin Trainer (2019) and D.A. Points (2017.)

The Course

Grand Reserve Country Club, formally named the Coco Beach Golf Club, sits at the foothills of the El Yunque Rainforest. It is a diverse and flat course that is extremely wind-exposed.

It plays at just over 7,500 yards as a par 72.

The course features an exposed layout and the winds will almost certainly be a factor throughout the tournament. Those who have experience in playing in windy conditions will see an advantage.

There is water in play on 13 of the holes as well.

The greens are Paspalum and are average sized compared to Tour standards.

Going low will be imperative this week for any potential winner. All but one of the former champions of this event shot double-digits under par en route to victory.

Five of the last six winners have shot 19 under par or better to win this event.

The Weather

As of the time of writing this, there is a 40-percent chance for precipitation on Thursday with light thunderstorms and a chance of isolated thunderstorms on Saturday. Temperatures will remain around 83-or-84 degrees across each of the four days. Winds too will range from seven-to-ten miles-per-hour this week. If the forecasted thunderstorms can avoid the area, we’ll be in line for a great week of golf.

Key Stats

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT) / Average Driving Distance

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Scrambling

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Birdie or Better Percentage

Betting Card

Brandon Wu (+3000)

Wu comes in at the top of my model this week. He’s currently 33rd on Tour in GIR%, 35th in SG: PUTT, 38th in SG: APP, 53rd in bogey avoidance, 60th in birdie or better percentage, 85th in average driving distance, 117th in SG: OTT and 121st in scrambling. Although Wu is fresh off a missed cut last week at the Cognizant Classic, he placed T13th recently at the Mexico Open at Vidanta and T18th earlier this season at the Sony Open in Hawaii. I’m playing a unit on him. In this field, I’d continue to play Wu down to +2500.

Chan Kim (+4000)

Kim is second in my model to just Wu and it is rather close. He comes into this week in some good form, placing T28th last week at the Cognizant Classic and placed T8th the week prior at the Mexico Open at Vidanta. He also placed T14th earlier this year at The American Express. Kim is currently 16th on Tour in birdie or better percentage, 25th in bogey avoidance, 51st in SG: OTT, 60th in both GIR% and SG: APP, 86th in average driving distance, 91st in SG: PUTT and 103rd in scrambling. I’m also playing a unit on him. I’d continue to play Kim down to +3500.

Rafael Campos (+5500)

Campos is a monster off the tee and that is one of the vital parts of success here at the Grand Reserve Country Club. He’s currently sixth on the entire PGA Tour in SG: OTT and 20th in average driving distance. He is also 35th in GIR%, 41st in SG: APP, 91st in birdie or better percentage and 113th in SG: PUTT. His downfalls come in the form of a 135th placement in bogey avoidance and 157th in scrambling. He can get himself in some trouble there. I’m hanging my hat on his ability to gain strokes off the tee combined with a quality approach game this week. He’s also made the cut in his two PGA Tour events he’s played this season at the Mexico Open at Vidanta and the Farmers Insurance Open where he placed T20th. On top of that, he is from Puerto Rico. Claiming his nation’s open would be one of those feel good stories of golf. I’m playing a unit on him. With all of that being said, I’d continue to play Campos all the way down to +4000. His +5500 offers great value.

Hayden Springer (+8000)

Like Campos, what I love about Springer this week is his ability to get plus distance off the tee and in turn, gain strokes on the field. He’s currently fifth on the entire PGA Tour in SG: OTT and 14th in average driving distance. What he then does is combine that with some elite putting as he’s currently eighth on the PGA Tour in SG: PUTT. Springer is also 58th in birdie or better percentage, 96th in SG: APP and 110th in GIR%. His downfall comes in the form of a 150th placement in scrambling. Springer also comes into this week making the cut in his last two Tour appearances at the Farmers Insurance Open and Mexico Open at Vidanta. I’m playing a unit on him. Springer is one of favorites this week and would play him down to +6500.

Tom Whitney (+11000)

Unlike the previous suggestions I’ve talked about, Whitney is not long off the tee by any means. Instead, what he does is play with elite iron play. He’s currently fifth on the entire PGA Tour in GIR% and sixth in SG: APP. He’s also 97th in birdie or better percentage, 98th in bogey avoidance, 103rd in SG: OTT, 128th in SG: PUTT, 136th in average driving distance and 169th in scrambling. Whitney has missed the cut in three-of-four events he’s played this season but did place T13th at the Farmers Insurance Open. He had a great start last week at the Cognizant Classic firing a minus-four 67 at PGA National but a rough Friday pushed him beyond the cut line. I’m playing a unit on him. He’s a longshot for a reason so I wouldn’t play him beyond +10000.

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