Written 13th November 2019
Mayakoba Golf Classic Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
El Cameleon Golf Club - Playa Del Carmen, Mexico - Par 71, 6,987 Yards
We head south of the border this week on the PGA Tour as the players travel to the popular resort of Playa Del Carmen one hour from Cancun for the 12th staging of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Between 2007-2012 this event was played in February alongside the World Matchplay, but took its place as a full Tour event in 2013. With the move to November conditions became easier, and the average winning score has dropped -15 to -20 in this calm, sunny Mexican oasis. El Cameleon was designed in 2007 by Greg Norman, and is a fairly player friendly resort venue where low scores would always be expected from these players. Unusually for a PGA Tour course these days it measures under 7,000 yards, and has a links like feel to it beside the gulf of Mexico.
The oceanside location of El Cameleon is it's primary defence. Winning scores here are often dictated by the wind. This week the forecast is calm and I'd expect a winning score somewhere between 20 and 24 under par. The fairways are tight and mostly lined with trees which do offer some protection from the wind, but that shouldn't be a factor this week and with Cameleon playing at its easiest I'm going to be looking at players with high birdie percentage stats to challenge on what could play as little more than a fancy pitch and putt.
If the players miss the fairways they will have mostly clean lies, and the trees are the only real hazard they could face ahead of the approach shots. Some of the greens are small, and all are slow, allowing the players to be aggressive with the approaches. Par 4 scoring will be important, as will a good mid iron game. The greens are as you would expect from a resort venue with little significant bunkering, rough, or runoff areas to protect them meaning even errant shots will be punished far less than at most Tour events.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
It is testament to how highly competitive the PGA Tour has become these days that defending champion Matt Kuchar (16/1) leads the market at such a high price. It's unusual that we see favourites this long, but it is hard to select anyone that should justifiably be shorter given the array of young and established talent competing week after week on Tour at the moment. Kuchar won this event last year on 22 under par having opened with successive 64s, although the win became better known for the controversy surrounding the relatively small fee he paid to his caddy David Ortiz; something that has continued to blight his reputation ever since. On the course Kuchar hasn't been seen for three months since the end of the wraparound 2019 season, although his golf had been pretty solid up until then. Matt hits the ball straight, finds greens, and his success this week will be almost solely dependent on the putter. Given that unpredictability and the sideshow that is already developing around his return to Mexico this week, I'm happy to leave Kuchar alone.
Following Kuchar in the market we have an international trio who can all be very hit and miss in any given week. Australian Jason Day (18/1) makes a first, and perhaps surprising, appearance in this event as he continues to find his game following two rather average appearances in Asia. The last two years have been tough for Day who has battled injury and illness in his family, and he currently looks a world away from contending for a Tour title. I for one would love to see him back in contention, but i don't think that's likely to happen here. Highly rated Norwegian Viktor Hovland (18/1) is given the same chance as Day as he makes his third appearance at Mayakoba. His previous two visits have yielded mixed results with 7th in 2016 followed by a missed cut last year. Hovland has lots of birdies in him and is surely not far from his first PGA Tour win. He started the new season solidly with a 10th at The greenbrier and a couple of average showings in Asia. This could be his week, but it's hard to justify him as the second favourite in this field and I'll be leaving him alone. Tony Finau (18/1) recently won an online poll for the most overrated golfer and, whilst he has obvious talent, his relatively poor output makes that hard to dispute. Finau turned up in Asia, but did little else with finishes of 53rd and 59th in limited fields. He also has a 7th place and a missed cut at Mayakoba before finishing 16th last year. Finau is an enigma and could conceivably turn his fortunes around with a win here, but he won't get my backing to do so being at the top of the market.
American Billy Horschel (20/1) is next, following an impressive 6th place at the Zozo Championship followed by a top 25 at the WGC Champions. Horschel is a highly talented player who is getting back into regular contention. He finished 21st in this event last year, and my concern is that this event might be too "easy" for a player that generally raises his game for more gruelling challenges. Joaquin Niemann (25/1) who we tipped successfully to win The Greenbrier back in September is another who can go low and could well contend. There's little to no reason for him being a bigger price than fellow breakthrough graduate Hovland, and if you're looking at a young and exciting player to win this week, I wouldn't put you off having an interest in Niemann.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
For my headline tip in the US this week I'm going for Scottie Scheffler who I see as a rising star on the PGA Tour, and one who I'm convinced will win this year. Scheffler has seen his results improving drastically of late with a 7th place finish at The Greenbrier being backed up with another top 5 finish last week on the Korn Ferry Tour in Bermuda where he posted 18 under par. That performance will have acclimatised him well for what is in store in the humidity of Mexico this week, and will also have given him confidence with the putter leading into what I've already referred to as a glorified pitch and putt contest. Scheffler is a very tidy player who makes few mistakes, very similar in many ways to last year's winner Matt Kuchar. What Scottie needs is a good putting week, and with that already lined up from his performance in Bermuda, I see this as the perfect opportunity for him to contend for that maiden title.
Scheffler was born just over the border in Dallas, Texas and several of his friends and family have made the trip to Mexico to watch him this week; giving extra motivation were it needed to the 2016 Q School graduate. Scottie has played this tournament just the once, posting a respectable 30th as a twenty year old three years ago, and that is a great platform for him to build on. I can see Scheffler putting four solid rounds together, and being right in contention Sunday. He knows those rounds will have to be 5 or 6 under par but that's well within his capabilities and i'm happy to back him at this generous price with 3 points e/w at 33/1.
Other Betting Tips
The price of New Zealander Danny Lee has surprised me this week. Danny has a strong affinity with El Cameleon having finished 2nd in both 2014 and again last year when he lost to Matt Kuchar by a single shot having posted opening and closing 65s. Lee was going through a run of good form at that time, but the same can be said this year. Danny finished 2nd to Justin Thomas at the CJ Cup in Korea, and followed that up the next week with a top 10 at the Zozo Championship in Japan. At the CJ Cup, Lee posted 18 under par and he has the ability to shoot very low scores. His only career win to date came at The Greenbrier nearly 5 years ago, and that has been far too big a hiatus for a player of Danny's abilities. With his game in such good shape, and given his previous strong showings at Mayakoba, it would have been impossible to leave Lee out of the picture this week. I recommend 2 points e/w at 50/1.
American Pat Perez is a similar profile to Lee and another that I feel is overpriced here this week. Perez won this event back in 2016 with a total of 21 under par ahead of fellow American Gary Woodland; on a score that would have won the event for 7 of the last 8 years. Pat hits the ball long and straight, and needs his wedge play and putting to be hot to contend, and that is usually the case for him when he gets to these low scoring venues. In his last appearance in North America Perez posted another 21 under par score to finish third at the Greenbrier, and has followed that up with two respectable finishes on the Asian leg of the PGA Tour. Undoubtedly more comfortable in these conditions, Perez is another good value selection at the price. He finished 6th here last year two years after that win and I expect him to be in contention once again this year. I shall be backing him with 2 points e/w at 50/1.
Joel Dahmen is a relatively late bloomer on the PGA Tour, having enjoyed his most successful season to date at the age of 32. Dahmen is a very solid player who rarely misses fairways and greens, and who should set himself up a lot of birdie chances this week. Dahmen is another who is capable of going low, and he showed that also at The Greenbrier where he posted 18 under par to join Perez in the top 10. That strong finish was followed up by some mid field finishes in Asia. That Dahmen is receiving invites to these limited field events at the Zozo and Nine Bridges shows how far and fast his game is developing, and i think he will take that to the next level now and begin to challenge for titles this season. There is no conceivable reason why he should be such a long price here. He is making his third visit to Mayakoba; the other two yielding finishes of 40th and 23rd when he was far less of a consistent player than he is nowadays. I expect him to better both of those finishes and to contend for a place at the very least. I recommend a staking plan of 1 point e/w at 125/1.
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