World Wide Technology Championship First Round Leader Picks & Predictions: Where's the Value at Mayakoba?
First Round Leader Picks & Predictions For the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba
The World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba has carried several different names over the years, but it has remained a consistent part of the schedule on TOUR, since its inaugural staging in 2007.
With every renewal held at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon, we have a great bank of data to peruse, when looking for a potential First Round Leader candidate. So while you are analyzing the latest World Wide Technology Championship odds, let us take you through the history of this event, from a first-round perspective, as we look to spot the value in a volatile market.
With World No.2, Scottie Scheffler, World No.9, Collin Morikawa, World No. 11, Viktor Hovland, World No.14, Tony Finau, and World No.16, Billy Horschel all in the field, the top of the OWGR is well represented here at Mayakoba.
That does mean there is normally some value to be had, and a glance at the World Wide Technology Championship Odds confirms that. So without further ado, let's establish what we are looking for in a First Round Leader candidate at this event.
We can look back at the last 10 First Round Leaders of this event, and when they teed off, to get a sense of any patterns when it comes to day one leaders at the World Wide Technology Championship.
World Wide Technology Championship: First-Round Leader Strategy for Mayakoba
Here were the first-round leaders in round 1 of the World Wide Technology Championship over the last ten renewals of the event.
All tee times below are displayed in Local Time
2021 - Matthew Wolff 61 (-10) - 8:12 am - (AM Tee Time)
2020 - Russell Knox 65 (-6) - 12:30 pm - (PM Tee Time)
2019 - Danny Lee 62 (-9) - 7:00 am - AM Tee Time (First of the Day)
2018 - Dominic Bozzelli, Kramer Hickock, Matt Kuchar 64 (-7) - (2AM/1PM Tee Times)
2017 - Patton Kizzire 62 (-9) - 7:00 am AM Tee Time (First of the Day)
2016 - Chris Kirk 63 (-8) - 12:20 pm (PM Tee Time)
2015 - Aaron Baddeley, Derek Fathaeur, Justin Leonard, Shawn Stefani 65 (-6) - (All AM Tee Times)
2014 - Daniel Berger, Hudson Swafford, Tony Finau, Robert Garrigus, Steven Wheatcroft, and Will MacKenzie 65 (-6) - (All AM Tee Times)
2013 - Robert Karlsson 63 (-8) - 11:05 am (AM Tee Time)
2012 - Will Claxton 66 (-5) - 12:30 pm (PM Tee Time)
Six of the last ten renewals have seen the first-round leader come exclusively from the morning wave, three times, the player has teed off in the afternoon, and once, the co-leaders were split across both waves.
So when you look at the World Wide Technology Championship Odds, consider the fact the morning wave has done well here, and ensure you are checking the tee times before placing your bets. Afternoon starters can clearly succeed here, so it is definitely worth spreading your bets across morning and afternoon starters, but if you need to split two players, a morning tee time definitely holds the edge.
The wind speed will be consistent throughout the day, with guts hitting 10 kts at both 10 am and 4 pm, so there doesn't appear to be a draw bias based on the weather, as it stands.
Check back on that as the week progresses, but given the jungle and mangrove borders here, the wind won't always be a factor around this course anyway.
With plenty of course form to peruse, it is best to look at those that are either consistently good here or have at least had some spike rounds. If taking on a debutant, look for those that have played well at the Corales Puntacana Championship, the Puerto Rico Open, or the Mexico Open, as these events all feature Paspalum Greens.
Who Are The Fastest Starters in this Field?
Here are the top-5 fastest starters in the World Wide Technology Championship field, based on the 2021/22 Round 1 Scoring Average rankings.
- Ranked 4th in Round 1 Scoring Average in 2021/22
- Round 1 Scoring Average last season - 68.38
- Lowest Round 1 Score in 2021/22 - 62 (Sony Open)
- Ranked 5th in Round 1 Scoring Average in 2021/22
- Round 1 Scoring Average last season - 68.46
- Lowest Round 1 Score in 2021/22 - 63 WWT Championship @ Mayakoba (This Event)
- Ranked 6th in Round 1 Scoring Average in 2021/22
- Round 1 Scoring Average last season - 68.50
- Lowest Round 1 Score in 2021/22 - 64 (Sony Open)
- Ranked 7th in Round 1 Scoring Average in 2021/22
- Round 1 Scoring Average last season - 68.70
- Lowest Round 1 Score in 2021/22 - 63 (RSM Classic)
- Ranked 11th in Round 1 Scoring Average in 2021/22
- Round 1 Scoring Average last season - 69.04
- Lowest Round 1 Score in 2021/22 - 64 (Three Events)
Until we have more data on the 22/23 PGA Tour Season, we will continue to look at last season's rankings, as that includes events right up until the TOUR Championship, with a lot of the rankings attributed to golfer's play in 2022. This means the data is still relevant enough for this event.
What Score Is Required To Lead After Round 1?
A 63 is a great target for the Round 1 lead this week. Over the past 10 renewals, the average round 1 leading score here has been 63.6, and a 63 would have been good enough to lead outright on 7 occasions. Last year, Matthew Wolff hit an incredible 61, and a 62 was needed in both 2017 and 2019, but 63 is the sensible target, as we round down the average.
World Wide Technology Odds: Top 5 in the First Round Leader Market
Here are the top 5 among the World Wide Technology Championship Odds, when it comes to the First Round Leader Market.
In the table below, you will find the best price and the implied chance of each of the top 5 in this market.
World Wide Technology Championship Odds: First Round Leader Selections
Aaron Wise +3500 ($1250 First Bet Insurance with Caesars)
When the World Wide Technology Championship odds came out, Aaron Wise was the first I looked for given both his course and current form. Unfortunately, I thought his outright number was too short, as he was priced alongside Tony Finau, but I will chance him in this market at twice the price.
Aaron Wise is a perenially fast starter, and he proved that last season, sitting 5th in Round 1 Scoring Average. That continued a trend he has shown throughout his career, having held a round 1 lead once on both the Canadian Tour and Korn Ferry Tour, and going close numerous times at this level.
16 times on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise has finished round 1 within two of the first-round lead, and he also tied the lowest score with a 65, at the 2018 Pebble Beach Pro-Am but as his came at Monterey Peninsula, and Kevin Streelman and Beau Hossler shot their 65's at the Spyglass Hill, they edged in front.
Wise opened with a 67 to sit two back of the first-round lead here in 2020, and he found himself in the same position a year later, despite shooting a 63 12 months ago. Were it not for the heroics of Matthew Wolff's 61 last year, Wise would have finally got that round 1 lead his general Thursday play deserves.
In 2022, Wise was one back of the first-round lead at the Mexico Open, another event that features Paspalum greens, and he was also two back at the U.S. Open, one back in terms of 72-hole scoring at the TOUR Championship, and on his last start at the CJ Cup, he sat one back again on Thursday.
Wise has played here five times and has finishes of 2nd, 10th, and 15th among his past four starts, showing a liking for this event. We have already touched upon his two fast starts here in 2020 and 2021, but he also opened with a 65, before finishing 55th on his debut. When 10th in 2018, he also shot middle rounds of 65 and 63, to show his ability to go low on this layout.
With a closing 63 in 2020, an opening 63 last year, and another on moving day in 2018, he has hit the target score here three times in his past four appearances, making him a great candidate for this market.
Aaron Wise will tee off #10 tee at 12:30 pm with J.J. Spaun and Sepp Straka
Emiliano Grillo +5000 ($1000 Risk-Free Bet with BetMGM)
I couldn't get to Emiliano Grillo in the outright market, in the same way, I didn't get to Aaron Wise, as Tony Finau and Brendon Todd both made stronger appeals in their respective price ranges. With that said, at +5000 I think Grillo makes perfect sense in this market, just like Wise.
Wise and my next selection were my two favorite selections before the tee times can out, but it turned out they were both in the afternoon wave, and I really wanted a morning starter in this part of the World Wide Technology Championship Odds board.
At 50-1 Grillo represents great value to lead here on Thursday, having been within one of the first-round lead here in both 2018 and 2020, and within two of the first-round lead twice at the correlating Puerto Rico Open, which also features Paspalum greens.
This looks like an event that Grillo is destined to win at some point, having finished 8th, 9th, 10th, and 15th here. When 8th in 2020 he was the 36-hole leader.
When he opened 66-63 in 2020, he held a four-stroke advantage going into the weekend and couldn't convert, but for him to cash for us in this market, all we need is for him to replicate that Friday 63 from two years ago.
So far this season Grillo has opened the Fortinet Championship with a 67 and finished 25th, finished 5th at the Sanderson Farms Championship, charged by a second-round 65, and also finished 4th at the ZOZO Championship, closing with rounds of 65-64. He has yet to miss a cut this season, and if he can bring that good form to a course he loves, we could see a quick start for the Argentine.
Grillo has been within two of the lead 30 times in his career, most recently at the 2022 3M Open, and four times in his career he has led or co-led an event after day one. Two of those came on the PGA Tour at the Canadian Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he can make it three, at his favorite layout.
Emiliano Grillo will tee off #10 tee at 7:39 am, with Collin Morikawa and Seamus Power
Matt Kuchar +6500 ($1000 No Sweat First Bet with FanDuel)
Matt Kuchar loves these sorts of courses, and he won at this very one in 2018, so we know what he can do at El Camaleon.
Kuchar shot two 64's and a 65 on his way to victory here in 2018, and a year later he shot a final-round 62 as defending champion, to show his ability to score at Mayakoba. If you go way back to 2008, he also shot a third-round 64, so on four occasions, he has shot rounds of 64 or better here.
He was co-leader here on day one in 2018, before going on to win wire-to-wire, and that was his 11th of 13 career round 1 leads.
Kuchar's career dates back to 2000, but in that time he has been within two of the first-round lead 60 times in total, including his 13 lead. That is quite the strike rate, especially as he has continued that run right into the modern day.
Kuchar hasn't led after round one since the 2020 Genesis Invitational, but he was two back twice in 2022, at the Texas Open and the PGA Championship, and he can certainly roll back the years again here.
Looking at the start of his 2022/23 PGA Tour season, Kuchar has gotten off to a decent start with 12th and 29th place finishes, to his name, where has ranked 17th and 6th in SG Approach, and 9th and 15th in SG Tee to Green in that time.
Kuchar ranked 6th in Round 1 Scoring Average on the PGA Tour last season, and he will look to carry on in the same vain this week.
Matt Kuchar will tee off #10 tee at 12:08 pm with Andrew Landry and Lucas Glover
Greyson Sigg +8000 ($1000 No Sweat First Bet with FanDuel)
If a course was tailor-made for Greyson Sigg, it would probably look a lot like El Camaleon, and while he could only finish 33rd on his debut here last year, he closed with a 64, and that is enough evidence for me to suggest he can shoot the lowest round of the day at this course.
Sigg is 4-4 in made cuts this season, with a 9th at the Sanderson Farms Championship, and an 11th last week his two best efforts so far.
He started his season in Napa with an opening-round 67 at the Fortinet, to sit in sixth place and four back of Justin Lower who held a two-shot lead on day one. He closed the Sanderson Farms with a 67 to finish 9th there, and just last week he opened with a 64 to sit two back on day one, shooting a Saturday 66 as well, so he's in good form.
Sigg hasn't held the first-round lead at this level, which is no great surprise having been around for just one full season, but he sat two back on Thursday last week and was in the same position at the Mexico Open in May, which is another Paspalum course.
On the Korn Ferry Tour, Sigg led or co-led after round 1 twice, and across all Tours, he has been within two 10 times since turning pro in 2017.
Last week, Sigg carried on his good form, finishing 11th in Bermuda, where he ranked 11th in Ball Striking. Considering he's not a long hitter and Driving Distance is included that was impressive, and in the metrics that matter here, he was 6th in Driving Accuracy and 9th in Greens in Regulation.
All in all, this is the perfect test for Sigg, who is capable of starting fast, and while we do not have the evidence to suggest he can win yet at this level, we do know he can shoot a low round.
Greyson Sigg will tee off #10 tee at 7:06 am with Byeong Hun An and Hayden Buckley
Garrick Higgo +10000 ($1000 Risk-Free Bet with BetMGM)
I am backing Garrick Higgo in the outright market this week and looking at the World Wide Technology Odds this week, I am pretty keen on him in this one too.
Higgo closed the Bermuda Championship with a 64 last week, which included 10 birdies and a double bogey, and that was charged by him ranking 3rd in Ball Striking for the week. Higgo has it all, as he ranked 14th in Driving Distance, 21st in Driving Accuracy, and 3rd in Greens in Regulation last week, and a continuation of that on Thursday should lead to another low round.
Last year, Higgo finished 64th here, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The South African shot a second-round 63 12 months ago, and it was only a final-round 75 that saw him tumble down the leaderboard, out of the top 20.
Higgo turned professional in 2019, so has only held one first-round lead (on the Sunshine Tour) but 9 times already he has been within two of the Thursday lead, on various tours.
Looking at the way he has played the Bermuda Championship over the past two years, and the 63 he shot here on Friday last year, I am confident Higgo is capable of the lowest round of the day, given his early tee time.
Higgo shot that 63 in the afternoon last year, and I am keen to see what he can do with this early tee time, as he comes off a blistering final round at the Bermuda Championship.
All Higgo has ever done is win, since turning pro, winning twice on the Sunshine Tour, in 2019 and 2020, three times on the DP World Tour, across 2020 and 2021, and again on the PGA Tour at the Palmetto Championship last year. He now needs to refine his game and make more cuts, to remain a permanent fixture on the PGA Tour, but it is that current volatility that can lead to him firing the lowest round come Thursday.
This is a second straight week of backing Higgo in this market, and while he didn't go low enough last week, all the time he is at these sorts of prices in this market, I will keep backing him, as I suspect it will pay off this season.
Garrick Higgo will tee off #1 tee at 7:50 am with K.H. Lee and Tyler Duncan
Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!