Mexico Championship Round 1 3-Ball Picks and Predictions: Will Patrick Reed Get Off to a Hot Start?

Mexico Championship Round 1 matchups, 3-Ball picks, and analysis from Andy Lack. Find out who to target in the matchup markets this Thursday. Andy Lack is here to kick off the tournament with some early winners.
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Mexico Championship Round 1 3-Ball Picks and Predictions: Who Should You Be Backing to Start Hot?

For the first time all PGA Tour season, we are tasked with a completely new event on a never before seen golf course. Of course, I am referring to the Mexico Championship, which will be held at the Vidanta Vallarta Greg Norman Signature course in the beautiful Vallarta, Mexico. The Norman design is a Par 71, measuring 7,456 yards on the scorecard, with Paspalum fairways and greens.

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While we have never seen PGA Tour pros compete here, we can still model out how this course will play based on other PGA Tour events that have been held at long, Paspalum golf courses in tropical climates. The Corales Punta Cana Resort and Club Championship and the Puerto Rico Open are both alternate field events held at similar golf courses to Vidanta Vallarta. From a bird's eye view, Vidanta is generous off the tee, with large, flat, and slow greens. The course's biggest defense is its sheer length and the potential for high winds. For this reason, I will be looking primarily toward players who hit the ball a long way off the tee, are above average long iron players, are comfortable on slower greens, and have an affinity for easier scoring conditions.

Let's dig into my Round 1 3-Ball picks.

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Mexico Championship 3-Ball Picks

Mexico Championship Round 1 3-Ball: Kevin Na (+165) vs. Tony Finau (+175) vs. Abraham Ancer (+175)

Selection: Tony Finau (+175) (Bet $100 to Win $175)

Let's begin with Tony Finau, who admittedly, hasn't had the most inspiring season. With that being said, the former Puerto Rico Open champion appears to be turning it around. Finau's ball-striking has been solid all year, it's really been the flat-stick that's been his kryptonite. Still, the World No. 25 has now gained strokes putting in back-to-back starts for the first time all season. Even more encouraging is the fact that he will be returning to Paspalum, a surface he's experienced success on before.

As far as his competition, I have a hard time understanding why Kevin Na is a slight favorite over Finau right now, especially on this golf course. Na is one of the shorter players in the field off the tee, and he rates out well below average in long iron proximity as well. A large plurality of his best finishes have come on shorter golf courses. I imagine he will be playing catch-up this week and forced to be overly reliant on the putter. Ancer is in a similar boat in terms of course fit. A second-place finish at Quail Hollow last year is his only Top-five finish on a 7,400 yard plus golf course in his career. That's not even mentioning the fact that we aren't even completely sure if he is entirely healthy. Ancer has mysteriously withdrawn from two of his last three tournaments, and he might only be here to satisfy his sponsors and represent his home country in Mexico's national open. Outside of the poor course fit, questionable form, and health, I would imagine he has a lot of media obligations on his plate as well this week. I expect Finau to roll in this 3-Ball.

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Round 1 3-Ball: Lanto Griffin (+140) vs. Chad Ramey (+150) vs. Richy Werenski (+260)

Selection: Lanto Griffin (+140) (Bet $100 to Win $140)

Lanto Griffin was not a player that I expected to be so fond of this week, but my numbers suggest he is completely undervalued at his price point in all markets. The former Houston Open champion has above average distance off the tee and is Top-10 in this field in strokes gained approach, birdies or better gained, and strokes gained total in easy scoring conditions. The numbers indicate that he's been playing far better than the recent results would suggest, and in this poor of a field, that's enough for me.

As far as his competition, Chad Ramey certainly presents a challenge. He has a win and a fifth-place finish in his only two appearances at the Puerto Rico Open and Corales Punta Cana Championship. With that being said, his game has been trending in the wrong direction since his recent win. The 29-year-old missed the cut last week at the Zurich, and prior to that, lost 4.1 strokes ball-striking at the Heritage. Outside of those two strong aforementioned performances, he has failed to record a Top-30 finish this season. Werenski is an even easier fade. He rates out for me as the sixth-worst player in this entire field, which almost feels like an accomplishment. With nine missed cuts in 12 starts this season, I don't think he is currently playable. Griffin is the easy choice here.

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Round 1 3-Ball: Sebastian Munoz (+140) vs. Brendon Todd (+180) vs. Patrick Reed (+200)

Selection: Patrick Reed (+200) (Bet $100 to Win $200)

While this is certainly my most squeamish selection, I think we might have reached an inflection point with Patrick Reed. Based on talent and pedigree alone, he is in a completely different class than Sebastian Munoz and Brendon Todd, yet he is priced as the biggest underdog in this 3-ball. It's challenging to make a case right now for the former Masters champion, but he has recorded back-to-back Top-35 finishes in his last two-stroke play events at the PLAYERS Championship and Masters. While he has been heavily reliant on his putter, I am encouraged by the fact that he now travels to a course with extremely generous landing areas, which should mitigate some of his disastrous off the tee play. We've also heard reports that Reed has been in Mexico at the resort for over a week practicing and getting comfortable on these Paspalum greens.

As far as his competition, Brendon Todd arguably struggles from tee-to-green just as much as Reed, and if I'm forced into a putting contest between both players, I'm still riding with the nine-time PGA Tour winner. Munoz certainly presents a threat, but I have major concerns about his health, as he has withdrawn from his last two tournaments. The last time we saw him was at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship over a month ago. In terms of course fit, Munoz likely checks the most boxes, but I still can't justify the price. Reed is a pure talent and number play that I'm happy to take my chances with.

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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