Corales Puntacana Club & Resort Championship Power Rankings
With the WGC-Dell Matchplay demanding most of the attention this week, we thought it would be most beneficial for gamers if we focused ours on the only 72-hole event on tap. The Dominican Republic’s Corales Puntacana Resort will play host to those players on tour ranked outside of the top 70 in the OWGR and not competing down in Austin for the WGC title. This is the second playing of this tournament as a full PGA-Tour event having been recently promoted from the Web.com tour in 2018. The course is a par 72 Tom Fazio design that checks in at 7,670 yards — the winners’ share of FedExCup points is 300. It also features a tough test on the back-nine called the “Devil’s Elbow” where the final three holes are carved into a cliffside overlooking the Bay of Corales.
Brice Garnett is set to defend his first ever title this week and we also have the unique pleasure of having two of the Web.com tour players who have hoisted here competing as well, Nate Lashley and Dominic Bozzelli. There are also five locals getting the opportunity to peg it down on the PGA-Tour this week headlined by Corales Puntacana Head Golf Professional Hiram Silfa. Major Champions Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, David Duval, Angel Cabrera, and Trevor Immelman also will be on hand. Also, if you are an NFL fan tune in on Thursday and Friday to see how Tony Romo can perform on his second sponsor’s exemption in as many years at Puntacana. He missed the cut last season with a Friday blowup.
10) Aaron Baddeley
Widely considered by many to be one of the best putters on tour, Baddeley has had a nice start to the season with six of ten cuts made. His T2 in Puerto Rico proved that he has the experience and moxie necessary to show up and crash leaderboards at these PGA Tour lite events that are taking place parallel to a larger WGC events. Top twenties in two of his last three events and 45th in strokes gained putting, veterans won’t be surprised when they see his name high on the leaderboard in the Dominican.
9) Paul Dunne
Starting to get into dart territory here, but the former 2015 British Open star has some nice course history as well as some recent form that is nothing to shake a stick at this week. The 128th ranked player in the world from Ireland tied for fifth here last year and is three for five on the European Tour in 2019. He is oozing with talent, will be looking to find his way into the top ten this week, and earn himself more opportunities to play on the PGA Tour.
8) Graeme McDowell
The former major champion has been popping up on leaderboards again in 2018-19. Gmac has made eight of his last nine cuts and has worked himself back into relevance after falling off of many a fantasy gamer’s radar. Putting has been the secret for Graeme this year currently sitting at 15th on tour in SG: Putting at almost .7 shots gained per round. He has a missed cut in his only appearance here last year, but Gmac will be ready to roll.
7) Trey Mullinax
The veteran has made eight of his last nine cuts on tour and heads to the DR looking to strengthen his FedExCup ranking of 114th. Mullinax ranks 20th in driving distance and yet shows he is able to convert that into greens hit also ranking in the top 36 in greens in regulation. With a T22 here last year Mullinax will be someone to keep an eye on this week and as the season progresses.
6) Joel Dahmen
The 18 hole Co-Leader at the Valspar failed to convert and ultimately fell into 30th place. However, gamers should see this as an extension of current form that dates back to the turn of the year. With 10/14 cuts made in 2018-19 and a top 13 here last year, Dahmen is a dangerous player headed into this week.
5) Denny McCarthy
He shot two rounds in the 60s over the weekend at the Valspar to backdoor his second top 10 of the season. He tied for fourth in Puntacana last year and will look to improve on that this week. One of the better putters out there as he comes in ranked sixth on tour in SG: Putting. If Denny can get off to a hot start with the putter look for him to be on the first page Sunday.
4) Joaquin Niemann
Stumbled a little on the weekend at Valspar after putting himself in position to contend falling to 37th. His form is not a question at this point, as he has found his stride on his second full year on tour with 10/12 cuts made. Niemann is also 30th on tour in strokes gained on approach which will bode well for the sophomore this week.
3) Nate Lashley
A former champ here who has been having a solid year in an attempt to re-earn his full-time tour card through a major medical exemption. In fact, he will be using the last start of said extention and needs a solo 25th this week to satisfy the terms and get his card back. Lashley is six of seven on the year in cuts made and has four top 20s. He is 24th on tour in Greens in Regulation Percentage and 28th in Strokes Gained Putting. T28th here last year, lock him in with confidence to earn his card back at one of his preferred tracks.
2) Jhonattan Vegas
The Venezuela native will have the added benefit of speaking in his native tongue this week in the Dominican Republic. Beyond that, Vegas is someone to highly consider as he will bring in great form fresh off a T3 at the PLAYERS. Vegas has shot up the FedExCup rankings to 51st and is hungry to get back into the winner’s circle. Vegas is a notoriously streaky player and will be a popular pick in the DR.
1) Sungjae Im
The PGA-Tour rookie is following up a tremendous 2018 campaign on the Web.com with an equally impressive start to his PGA-Tour career. He is fourth in the rookie ranking behind three first-time winners in Cameron Champ, Adam Long, and Martin Trainer and actually sits ahead of all rookies in the FedExCup rankings at 17th. He has four top 10s, 11 cashes, and three top fours in 16 starts so far this season. Fresh off another high showing at the Valspar, Im has definitely proved he is the man to beat this week.