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PGA Preview: Mayakoba Classic

Nov 12, 2019

The Asian swing is over, but the international swing continues for the PGA Tour. This week, the golfers visit Mexico after playing in Asia and Bermuda. We finally get back to a regular cut event after three straight no-cut tournaments in Asia. Matt Kuchar, Viktor Hovland, Jason Day, Tony Finau, and Billy Horschel are the consensus top-five golfers this week on DraftKings, FanDuel, and in the betting markets.

DraftKings gives you $50,000 to select six golfers (average roster spot of $8,333), whereas FanDuel provides you with $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000. This week, I am doing something a little different with my recommended picks, as I plan on taking a balanced approach. There are some higher-priced golfers that I personally like and often play (e.g., Scottie Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann, and Viktor Hovland), but I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of them this week. This doesn’t mean that the higher-priced options are bad plays, it’s just that I don’t recommend paying for any of them unless you like them. There is no clear-cut favorite. They all have flaws, so you should play the guys you like. I have provided the eight core plays that I will be starting the bulk of my lineups with, and I’ll then be sprinkling in a higher-priced play here and there.

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Tournament Notes

  • The tournament is played at the Fairmont Mayakoba Resort on the El Camaleon Golf Club near Cancun, Mexico. The par-71 course measures 7,017 yards this year. Thirty yards were added to the 16th hole this year.
  • There are 132 players scheduled to tee it up this week with the top-65 (and ties) making the cut and playing the weekend.
  • The Paspalum greens should be slow this week (about 11 feet on the Stimpmeter).
  • This course is typically one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour with the average winning score from the last six years approaching 20-under par.
  • Past champions that are scheduled to play this week include Matt Kuchar (2019 season), Patton Kizzire (2018 season), Pat Perez (2017 season), Graeme McDowell (2016 season), Charley Hoffman (2015 season), and Harris English (2014 season).
  • Four of the last five winners have been at least 35 years old. Matt Kuchar was 40 years old when he won last year.
  • There are four former runner-up finishers in the field this week (Brian Stuard, Shawn Stefani, Russell Knox, and Danny Lee).
  • Russell Knox is the only player coming into this week with three straight top-10 finishes here. Scott Piercy is the only other player with back-to-back top-10 finishes here.
  • In the last five years, Brice Garnett is the only player with four top-25 finishes. Shawn Stefani, Scott Piercy, Emiliano Grillo, Danny Lee, Russell Knox, and Charles Howell III are the only players with three.

Core Plays

Denny McCarthy ($8,400-DK // $10,100-FD)
His T15 at the Bermuda Open gave him his eighth top-35 finish in his last 10 events. It was also his fourth top-20 finish in a row. Going into Bermuda, he had back-to-back ninth-place finishes. He has made the cut here in each of the last two starts. However, his best finish has only been T41.

Danny Lee ($8,300-DK // $9,800-FD)
Lee comes in with good form and course history. In his last two PGA events, he finished T10 at the ZOZO and runner-up at the CJ Cup. Both of those events were against strong fields. If you look at the last eight rounds played, he is first in total shots gained and second in fantasy scoring. In addition to his recent form, he also is a course having finished runner-up last year to go with a T25 the year before and a T3 during the 2015 event.

Harris English ($8,000-DK // $9,900-FD)
He comes in with great form, having finished in the top-six in three of his last four events. In the last 24 rounds, he is fifth in total strokes gained and seventh in fantasy scoring. Overall, he has made the cut in 15 of his last 17 events. As far as course history is concerned, he only finished T68 last year after missing three cuts in a row. However, he won the event in 2014.

Harold Varner ($7,900-DK // $9,700-FD)
He has played the weekend in nine straight PGA events. Most recently, he had top-30 finishes at the ZOZO and the CJ Cup. During his last nine events, he’s also cracked the top 20 three different times, including a T3 at the Northern Trust. He also has a T6 and a T5 in his last three starts at this event.

Brian Gay ($7,900-DK // $9,400-FD)
He has made the cut in five straight PGA events. Included in this mini streak is a T3 at Bermuda, a T7 at the Shriners, and a T23 at the Safeway. He won this event way back in 2008 (when it was at a different course). Overall, he has made the cut in all nine of his starts, including four top-25 finishes.

Brice Garnett ($7,600-DK // $9,300-FD)
He’s made the cut in seven of his last nine events, including two in a row. His best finish during that span was a T6 at the Wyndham back in early August. In his last 24 rounds of golf, he ranks 21st in total shots gained. He’s been playing okay, but when combined with his course history, he makes for an interesting option this week. In his last four starts here, he has three top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place finish last year. His only finish outside the top-10 was a T25 two years ago.

Si Woo Kim ($7,400-DK // $9,200-FD)
In the last four years here, his finishes have been T26, Third, W/D, and T17. He comes in with a streak of playing eighth straight weekends on the PGA Tour. His best finish was a T5 at the Wyndham eight events ago.

Xinjun Zhang ($7,300-DK // $8,900-FD)
He has top-40 finishes (including a T4, T16, and T7) in his last four events. Last year’s Korn Ferry Tour regular-season points leader finished T20 in his only start here two years ago. In the last 24 rounds, he ranks 13th in total strokes gained and 14th in fantasy scoring.

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Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.

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