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Scott Shapiro's WGC-Mexico preview

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February 18th, 2020

After a strong series of tournaments in California, the PGA tour takes a quick stop in Mexico for the WGC-Mexico Championship, before heading to Florida for a month run that includes the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

The WGC-Mexico moved to Club de Golf Chapultepec in 2017. Dustin Johnson has won two of the three tournaments since it moved from Doral Golf Resort in Florida, including last year when he dominated the field gaining 12 strokes tee to green and eight and a half strokes on the greens.

The Par 71 is a no cut event featuring a field of 72 golfers. The course in Mexico City is listed officially at 7,355 yards, but plays significantly shorter due to the elevation. Like Riviera and Torrey Pines, it features poa annua greens.

I put an emphasis this week on a strong approach game, birdie making, scrambling and the ability to score on Par 4’s and Par 5’s.

Odds to win the WGC-Mexico Championship

GolferWGC-Mexico Championship Odds
Rory McIlroy
+550
Dustin Johnson
+650
Jon Rahm
+900
Justin Thomas
+1000
Adam Scott
+1600
Webb Simpson
+1600

Here is my betting card for the event:

Xander Schauffele (+2000)

Outside of his missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, Schauffele has been extremely consistent to start the 2020 campaign. His best finish of the season thus far came in another no-cut event in Hawaii, the Tournament of Champions, where his tee-to-green was immaculate, but he lost to Justin Thomas in a playoff. Xander has fared well in these no-cut events during his career on the PGA tour because of his ability to overcome a poor early round with an extremely low one on Saturday or Sunday.

Schauffele fits this layout well ranking fourth in the field over his last 24 rounds in shots gained tee-to-green, eighth in shots gained approach, fourth in Par 5 scoring, and seventh in Par 4 scoring. Plus, he has performed well with his flat stick on poa greens of late. Overall, he ranks fourth in my model for the week and offers extremely fair value at 20-1 in BetAmerica’s outright market. 

Xander has finished in the Top 20 in this event each of the last two years and sets up well for a big run this week. He is my top choice.

Justin Thomas (+1000)

JT disappointed in a big way last week in Los Angeles, but having the weekend off to regroup should only help his chances in Mexico. His success at this tournament since it moved to Club de Golf Chapultepec can only be rivaled by Rory McIlroy or DJ, and they are significantly shorter prices in BetAmerica’s outright market. JT has finished in the Top 10 at this event each of the last three years, including a runner-up finish to Phil Mickleson in 2018.

Thomas struggled with his tee to green game on Thursday at Riviera and then could not buy a putt on Friday, but he still rates out extremely well heading into this week. In fact, he ranks first in the field in strokes gained tee to green, third in strokes gained approach, second in Par 5 scoring, and seventh in greens in regulation gained over his last 24 rounds.

I am not afraid to go back to JT in what should be a great bounce back spot at a better price than we would have got if he played well at Riviera.

Louis Oosthuizen (Top 5 Finish +700)

Betting the 37-year-old South African as an outright winner has been an exercise in futility on the PGA Tour, but it is not for a lack of top efforts in big events. Oosthuizen has finished second in the Masters (2012), PGA Championship (2017), and U.S. Open (2015), but has never won a PGA event in North America.

Louie has not had a ton of success in this event since it moved to Mexico City, but he fits the course well with his strong approach game and his ability to score on Par 4’s and Par 5’s. I expect him to play well in his first start on this continent in 2020.


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