Mexico Open Winner

For someone polarizing the game so much right now, he features quite heavily in course designs these days. From Spain last week we move to yet another maiden tour course design by Greg Norman, this time the Vidanta course in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Once again we are somewhat blind this week with no tournament golf having been played here before.

However, there is a fair bit more information out there than there was for the Lakes Course last week on the DPWT. This week we play a par 71 at just short of 7500 yards. This has been extended by 245 yards for this week's event and upgraded from a par 73 normally. Wide fairways present themselves here so it really should suit the longer hitters in the field who have room to open their shoulders this week.

Mayakoba, another Norman design is worthy of mention but must be treated with caution as that is a much shorter track with plenty more penalties for straying off line. With the Paspalum fairways and greens, I'd be more inclined to look towards Coco Beach and Corales which hold the Puerto Rico and the Punta Cana events.

With a bit more of a desert feel to the equation this week a glance towards the AMEX form in California may be worth studying. Unlike Mayakoba, this is at sea level so there is no help for those short of length from the tee. Water will come into play on a fair amount of holes this week so expect a resort-level type feel to scoring with a hot putter almost certainly needed to win. With Paspalum surfaces though we can throw out the form book somewhat with the putting stats.

Jon Rahm looks a better proposition around 5/1 here this week than he has in a handful of other events over the past 12 months where he has been the standout player in the field. This field is considerably weaker and when Chris Kirk (not won on PGA tour in seven years) and Cameron Tringale (still a maiden) sit 7th and 8th in the betting then respect must be given to those up top, especially Rahm.

Rahm has shown by winning the Amex how he can cope even with a birdie fest and similar conditions await this week. Nevertheless, even if he does shoot in the high teens under par, you'd expect a few alongside him and it could be a shoot out down the stretch even if he does make the final few groups on Sunday. For that reason, the 5/1 holds little value and I'd prefer to chance further down the market.

Gary Woodland at 22/1 (Eight Places)

One from the top certainly worth betting is Gary Woodland. Woodland has been progressing steadily now for a while and bar a few mishaps with his short game may have had a win already this season. He was in command at the Arnold Palmer before dropping three shots in the final two holes with a total mess around the green on 17 proving his undoing.

Nevertheless, he has been threatening all year and now arrives at a course that should really play to his strengths. His long game has been impressive all year, even so last time out at the Masters where a missed cut was down to an uncharacteristic horror show with the putter.

The upside with Woodland is important here as if we are to take his top 10s this season at the CJ Cup, Honda, Arnold Palmer and Texas, these are in much stronger fields than what is presented this week and any kind of similar showing to those four efforts should put him in the placings at the very least. If he plays to that ability I expect him to be there challenging and at five times the price of Rahm rates the much better bet.

2pts each-way G.Woodland 22/1 (1/5 8)

Mexico Open Winner

Cameron Champ at 45/1 (Eight Places)

Cameron Champ has been backed early doors and it is clear to see why. 2021 was proving to be a struggle before an 11th place finish at the John Deere paved the way for a win next time out at the 3M Open. 2022 has taken a similar journey to date before a mighty top 10 at the Masters out of the blue. Augusta suits a bomber like Champ, and so should this Mexican layout and if he can carry that form with him from Georgia then he must hold a huge chance.

He tops the Driving Distance stats this year and that does look like a vital part of the plan to compete this week. Always a shade inconsistent but worth noting that each of his wins thus far on tour have come after a solid showing in the previous tournament. Champ fits the bill and could give a bold showing.

1.5pts each-way C.Champ  45/1  (1/5 8)

Mexico Open Winner

Matt Jones at 50/1 (Eight Places)

With the wind expected to blow in parts this week and Vidanta being a coastal track, Matt Jones must be considered. Jones has built up an impressive CV playing well on courses that are exposed to wind. Last time out this was a runner up finish in Texas to back up his runner up finish earlier in the year at another coastal layout in Hawaii.

Throw in the fact he has won the Honda Classic and Houston Open and we have someone who can adapt well to these conditions. 5th and 14th in Puerto Rico as well as two top 20s on his last two visits to PuntaCana further back up the Coastal link as well as boosting his Paspalum credentials. Jones hits the ball a long way and this wide-open venue should really play into his hands. 

1pt each-way M.Jones  50/1  (1/5 8)

Mexico Open Winner

Wyndham Clark at 80/1 (Eight Places)

Having backed Clark and Tringale last week I believe the former is worth following once again this time in Mexico. Clark ranks 3rd in Driving Distance this season and given his upturn in form the past few weeks must be backed around the 80/1 mark. As I noted before the Zurich his ball-striking had improved an awful lot when finishing 35th at Harbour Town. He partnered well with Tringale last week also and his game certainly appears to be in good nick.

A trip to Mexico in a weak field (bar the jolly) should prove fruitful and his swashbuckling style off the tee should give him an advantage around here. That, in turn with his improved approach play, could give him one of his better chances of the season. Two visits to PuntaCana and Puerto Rico have resulted in 22nd and 10th placed finishes which bodes well for another Paspalum course this week.

1pt each-way W.Clark  80/1 (1/5 8)

Mexico Open Winner

JT Poston at 80/1 (Eight Places)

Aaron Wise could certainly take to this track but his price around the 33/1 mark doesn't make much appeal here. Instead, I'll opt for JT Poston at more than double that price. His approach play has suffered all season but has turned a corner recently, gaining in that department on his last two stroke play starts at the Heritage and Texas Open. He narrowly missed out on the playoff in Harbour Town finishing one shot off Spieth and Cantlay's total.

Although I don't think Mayakoba's form is all too important this week, he has played well there nonetheless and his two visits to Puerto Rico and Punta Cana have resulted in 10th and 19th placed finishes respectively. Not one to rely upon but should he bring that Harbour Town form with him then this course could suit.

0.75pt each-way JT Poston  80/1 (1/5 8)

Mexico Open Winner

Joseph Bramlett at 125/1 (Eight Places)

Finally, I'll have a few quid on triple-figure poke Joseph Bramlett who sits 6th in Driving Distance this year and who could benefit from a birdie fest here to boost his 2022 form. It has been a struggle all season long with his sole top 20 coming at the coastal Waialae track in Hawaii. With more room off the tee, this week than Waialae Bramlett has a chance to really use his power to his advantage.

His approach play since the turn of the year has been solid and he can be relied upon to take his chances on approach should his driving not let him down. On the greens is where he has suffered but we know from history Paspalum surfaces can throw up some strange results and Bramlett may just be able to capitalise upon that chance this week.

He hasn't missed a cut in four trips to Puerto Rico with his best finish being a top ten there in 2020. Furthermore, two made cuts from two tries at Corales with his best being 13th there last year suggests he is more than capable on coastal/paspalum tests. 

0.75pt each-way J.Bramlett  125/1  (1/5 8)