WGC Mexico Tips & Betting Preview

Niall Lyons has four picks, but has gone big on a certain Northern Irishman...

Niall Lyons
Tue, 19 Feb, 4:54 PM

I talked last week about knowing the right time to back Rory McIlroy and having potentially acquired the right judgement about when to write him on our betting slips. I was glad he brought in profit for the column and even though he missed a slightly ajar door on Sunday evening I was once again impressed by his patience and consistency. We move to Mexico and the altitude of Chapultepec for the next WGC and this promises to be a classic just like last year.

A lot has been written and talked about a European style golf course, similar to Crans where the same credentials translate well to the golf course. Bello, Hatton, Fleetwood and Fisher have figured here over the only two renewals at this track so it is worth noting for sure. Mickelson and Dustin have obliged in getting into the winner's enclosure though and it's important not to take our eye of the worlds best as their domination continues, despite Thomas' flaky finish on Sunday.

I am really keen on RORY MCILROY (best price $12) this week. Having backed at $15 last week and just a couple of pts shorter here in Mexico and good place terms available I am having a hefty enough bet. Rory led here in 2017 after 36 holes before a lacklustre weekend ruined his chances. That maybe was the beginning of a trend but he isn't far from coming out of it. Two rounds in the 60s for his final rounds in the past few weeks have resulted in top 5 finishes in high class events and it looks like continuing this week.

He is slowly improving his finishes and things look ominous for a win for the Irishman any week now. His putting isn't much of a problem these days and leading strokes gained off the tee and flying high in the tee to green stats suggest this could be Rory's week. Couple this with form of 2-7-3 at Crans and a win at Wentworth make Rory the strongest bet of the year for me thus far.

LEE WESTWOOD (best price $81) sits at an eye-watering number on the exchange and must equally be supported in your bookies shop. The Englishman has seen an upturn in fortune over the past six months culminating in an impressive victory at the Nedbank a few months ago.

Westwood has indeed looked a much more confident golfer and even though he is still tortured on the greens at times he still has a bit of winning left in him. He may have been rejuvenated by the form of Mickelson, Howell and Kuchar and co but there's no doubting he is returning to some serious form that can compete in championships like these. Before the Nedbank win he finished a satisfactory 5th at the tough Valderrama.

Since then top 20s followed at the DP World Tour and Abu Dhabi. 7th in the Dubai Desert was another solid week before succumbing to the cut in Saudi Arabia. That event doesn't worry me plenty will have wanted to make a quick getaway. His only outing here included a 66 and 67 but tumbled out of contention with a final round 78. With a win and a host of form at Crans he looks the liveliest European outsider.

I considered whacking Dustin as well as Rory as I think one of them is sure to place and secure a small loss on the week at worst. However, I'll leave that decision to yourself and if you wish to back Dustin each way also I certainly would not advise against it. Instead, I'll take a chance on another European raider in the shape of MATT FITZPATRICK (best price $81).

Some of Matt's wins come out of the blue and although he is having an ok time of it lately this would be somewhat of a surprise. Nevertheless, he has the Crans form in abundance and has the ability sooner or later to take one of these titles. Hong Kong, Crans, Woburn have all been scenes of some of his best performances and he looks sure to compete well at Chapultepec at some stage over the next few years. He started the year off impressively enough and I wouldn't worry so much about his missed cut at Pebble last time out with the format/weather. 

There is no doubt in my mind there was an overreaction to BRANDEN GRACE's (best price $126) performance at the Phoenix with going off silly short for the pats two weeks since. Ctl+Alt+Del has been hit though and we see him back at 3 figures for a track that again should suit his game. He has done nothing special around this track nor since his 2nd place in Arizona but the $126 out there remains a shade big for me. He has won in Johannesburg at altitude which is a plus and he has the neat and tidy game here to give it a good shot.

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