The Course – El Camaleon GC, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
6,987 Yards, Par 71
It’s the final PGA Tour event of 2014 with El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico playing host for The OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Previous winners here include Harris English (2013), John Huh (2012), Johnson Wagner (2011), Cameron Beckman (2010), Mark Wilson (2009) and Brian Gay (2008).
Looking at previous winners here, it appears that accuracy off the tee is a key indicator along with GIR. Key stats on this course are driving accuracy, GIR and par 4 scoring. Good wind players will also fare well at this venue as it’s located on the Caribbean Sea. It may also be worth looking at players who have played well on other similar seaside courses such as Waialae Country Club, host of the Sony Open in Hawaii and Harbour Town Golf Links, which hosts the RBC Heritage.
This course was designed by Greg Norman and is classed as one of the easiest courses on The PGA Tour. It has three par 5’s, four par 3’s and 12 par 4’s. The fairways here are quite large and forgiving but there are hazards to be wary of. It winds between three different landscapes – Tropical jungle, dense mangroves, sand lined oceanfront and thick vegetation.
Harris English won here last year shooting the tournament record of 21 under par 263 for the tournament. The weather is to be a bit cloudy but very warm and dry with some moderate winds. With the weather being good, expect the scoring to be low.
Brian Stuard 33/1
I think Stuard could be a popular selection among us golf punters this week given his history at this event. Stuard has been runner up here twice in two appearances finishing second to Cameron Beckman in 2010 and again to Harris English last year, so he seems to be a horse for the course. Despite a poor start to the season, he played well at The CIMB Classic recently, finishing T13 on nine under par for the tournament.
Stuard also played very well in Waialae at The Sony Open finishing solo sixth and also put in a good week at The RBC Heritage in Harbour Town finishing T5th earlier in the season, which are similar set ups to this week’s venue. After taking last week off and with such a good record here at El Camaleon and a good performance recently at The CIMB Classic, this could be the week Brian Stuard breaks through with a win.
Jason Bohn 33/1
Bohn has started the new season well despite missing the cut at The Frys. He finished T18 at The Shriners in Vegas and followed that with a T2 last week at The Sanderson Farms Championship shooting 68,71,66,69 on his way to a 14 under par finish. He is another player that has played well here in the past finishing T3 last year and had a top 20 here in 2011 finishing T19th.
When you look at his stats, he seems to fit the bill ranking 48th in driving accuracy, seventh in GIR and 20th in strokes gained tee to green. He also ranks 20th in approaches from 100-125 yards, which is a good stat for approaches into some of the short par 4’s. After a good performance last week and a good previous record here, Bohn looks like a good bet here this week.
Rory Sabbatini 35/1
Rory Sabbatini is another player that has started the season well with a T22 at The McGladrey Classic and a T8 at The CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He has proven to be another horse for the course at El Camaleon finishing T3 here last year and T5 in 2011. Sabbatini had a disappointing season last year finishing with only three top 10’s, one of which came at The RBC Heritage earlier in the year where he finished T9th on five under par, which is a good indicator for this week.
Staswise he ranks seventh in GIR, 26th in strokes gained tee to green and sixth in par 4 performance. He also ranks first in GIR from 100-125 and GIR from 75-100 yards, which is a good stat for the short par 4’s. Sabbatini is a complete horse for the course and comes here after a good finish at The CIMB Classic. I expect that good form to continue here this week.
Hudson Swafford 50/1
Hudson Swafford is another player to enjoy a promising start to the 2014/2015 season. He started with a T8 at the Frys.com Open, which included a final round 67 to finish on 11 under par. He followed that with a good week at The Shriners Open in Vegas shooting 69,67,68,69 showing superb consistency to finish T18. At The McGladrey Classic, he continued showing good consistency shooting rounds of 70,67,66,67 to finish T12 and 12 under par for the tournament.
Swafford is hitting just over 60% of fairways so far this season and ranks 45th in GIR, 18th in birdie average, third in par 3 performance and 19th in par 5 performance. Despite this being his first visit to this event, I reckon he can continue his good form here in a relatively weakened field.
Will MacKenzie 50/1
MacKenzie had a superb start to the season getting into a playoff with Robert Streb and Brendon De Jonge at The McGladrey Classic. He dramatically bogeyed the par 4 16th in the final round to drop one stroke behind the leaders and then went on to birdie the par 3 17th to get into the playoff. He was knocked out of the playoff and had to contend for second, but played super golf all week. He showed great consistency shooting rounds of 65,68,65,68 to finish on 14 under par for the tournament. MacKenzie also played in the CIMB Classic, which was his first visit to Kuala Lumpur finishing T52 after a disappointing final round 76.
He has played well here at El Camaleon in the past finishing T12 last year and hasn’t missed a cut in his last three appearances. MacKenzie also seems to fit the bill statswise ranking 29th in driving accuracy, third in strokes gained tee to green and first in strokes gained total. After coming close in a similar field at The McGladrey, MacKenzie has the game and potential to have a good week on a course he has played well on in the past.
Brian Stuard 1.5 pts EW 33/1
Jason Bohn 1 pt EW 33/1
Rory Sabbatini 1.5 pts EW 35/1
Hudson Swafford 1 pt EW 50/1
Will MacKenzie 1pt EW 60/1
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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