Regular readers of our weekly golf preview will have noticed we achieved our second win of the season last week after correctly tipping Rickie Fowler to win the Honda Classic. While the prediction didn’t exactly involve us sticking our neck outs, it did feature three other players that finished in the top 25. Further reinforcing that the players highlighted below are not only great tips for the win, but also other bets on top 10s and top 25s when available.
With that in mind, here’s who we’re looking at this week:
For once, a course hosting a WGC has some truly unique characteristics. Club de Golf Chapultepec, in the mountains of Mexico City, offers challenges in altitude, unfamiliar greens and plenty of trees. The trees are probably the most talked about feature of the course ahead of this week’s World Golf Championship event.
The retro tree-lined layout isn’t long, but most of the pros are going to have to leave the driver in the bag as they navigate their way through the trees. The course is officially listed at 7,330 yards, however, when considering the appreciable distance a course at altitude can add to distances achieved, it is likely to play closer to 6000-6500 yards.
The course, which has been used in the past to host the Mexico Open (only one player in the field, Robert Diaz, played in the last edition of that event in 2014), will provide plenty of birdie opportunities if the players can keep it away from the impenetrably thick trees and out of the rough (despite the rough only being at 2inches). Expect to see lots of 2-irons and other safety players from the World’s best.
Adam Scott won the event, then hosted at Doral, by beating third-round leader Rory McIlroy in a rollercoaster final round. Scott had won the week before in the Honda Classic, surviving a quadruple bogey on Saturday to remind the Tour he’s good no matter what sort of putter he uses (this was shortly after the anchored putter ban).
At Doral, Scott started the day three shots back of Rory, hit two balls in the water, made two double bogeys, and still won. Another great escape effort that saw him become only the second player to win back to back titles on the Florida Swing (the other, Tiger Woods). Those early bogeys put him six behind after six holes, but the Australian played his final 13 holes in six under par to outclass the field.
He’s at $26 to defend this week, but we think he’s better suited to a top 10 bet.
Dustin Johnson $7.50
This is the first time Johnson tees up as the World number one. Johnson’s imperious driver won’t get much of a workout but it might not matter. He ranks third on Tour for greens-in-regulation (GIR) and while some of that is down to hitting wedge into every green, it also points to a deadly accurate iron game no matter what the club. Reports suggest he’s hit the 2-iron well here during the practice rounds. Won three WGCs.
Jordan Spieth $9
Leading the Tour in GIR and posting top 10s all over the place. His worldwide streak of five in a row ended with a tie for 22nd at Riviera, however, he still looks ominous on a course that won’t see his lack of length disadvantage him.
Rickie Fowler $21
Coming off a win at the Honda Classic, Rickie is in hot form. Leads the PGA Tour in bogey avoidance, which isn’t a stat that comes into play on a course that will give up a lot of birdies, but outlines his how pure ball striking ability and impressive short game. An okay record at altitude, with a tie for 4th at the 2014 BMW Championship.
Henrik Stenson $13
A beautiful iron manipulator, Stenson’s struggled with injury woes but is still stringing together performances wherever he plays, including finishing second in his last tournament in Dubai. Four WGC top 5s, no wins.
Jon Rahm $29
A debutante this week in WGC events who won’t be phased by the calibre of the field. Coming off a win at Torrey Pines and a T16 at the Waste Management and T5 at Pebble Beach. Priced attractively.
Tyrell Hatton $51
Hatton continues to post top-10s like they’re going out of fashion. After contending at nearly every event on the European Tour, Hatton ventured over to the Honda Classic at PGA National and finished 4th. Featured in the final group with Fowler, but let his best golf get away from him. Would’ve taken lots away from it, including a huge injection of belief.
Francesco Molinari $67
Our outsider for the week is the Italian maestro, Francesco Molinari. Often out-powered by the bigger hitters, he thrives on smaller setups where straight is required and could surprise this week. Won the 2010 WGC in Shanghai and finished 3rd at the 2011 WGC-Cadillac event.
*Odds from Sportsbet.
This is tricky when the World’s top 50 are all available and the odds are accordingly low. We’ll take a punt on Hatton in a bid to go back to back on correct predictions.