Fantasy PGA Preview: OHL Classic at Mayakoba
With the final tournament left in the 2014 calendar year, the PGA boys head to sunny Playa del Carmen in Mexico to compete in the OHL Classic. This tournament is the last chance for players to earn valuable world ranking spots that might lead them into the category of “Top 50 players in the world at year’s end” – a title that can open up many doors for players in the 2015 calendar year. After the OHL Classic, we will be taking a pause until the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which starts up January 9th.
HSBC Champions recap
As I always like to say for these non cut events, you are never fully out of it and you are never fully in it until Sunday afternoon (in this case Saturday night). I will honestly say I was never fully in it from start to finish. Fall events seem to have my number.
My picks were okay – four players in the 20s, one player right at the halfway point of the leaderboard, and my sleeper pick that forgot to set an alarm clock. In hindsight I should have gone with the consensus value player in Marc Leishman. However, in a 100K golf tournament with only 75+ players and no cut, I felt like throwing in a long shot that might pan out might be more useful for Grinders.
As for the tournament itself, I went with Bubba Watson, which did not matter. I was very high on Charl Schwartzel the week prior to this event and Darren Fichardt this week, so I rolled both them out and proceeded to get rolled over. If you have read my articles or watched a GrindersLive PGA show, you have heard me say South Africans are my Achilles heal. In the end, Bubba Watson beat out another South African for the title. It was a very interesting final round grouping. Bubba destroyed Clark off the tee and it turned out to be a David vs Goliath duel in the playoff. In the final two rounds and the playoff, Bubba went birdie, eagle, birdie on that 18th hole. The eagle shot was simply amazing and as clutch as they come. It was Watson’s first WGC title.
Sanderson Farms Championship Recap
As I stated last week, the PGA held two events last week. For those not able to qualify to the World Golf Championship event, we had a weaker field event in Jackson Mississippi. The Sanderson Farms Championship was moved from its regular British Open slot to the fall series, a move which is more beneficial for the event and doubled its strength of field from last season – a whole 19 points from 21 to 40. Still, it is by far the weakest field so far this season on the PGA Tour.
In the end, it was Canadian Nick Taylor shooting a 66 on Sunday to beat out Boo Weekley and Jason Bohn (in this week’s field), to raise the title. Taylor is also competing in this week’s Mayakoba event. Just a insight to how that might translate to this week: Woody Austin won the Sanderson Farms event last season, and the following week he finished 5th last at the Canadian Open. I won’t count Nick Taylor out for this week, but in golf anything can happen.
OHL Classic at Mayakoba
The OHL Classic will be held at the El Camaleon in Playa del Carmen Mexico. The course is a par 71 track that runs 6987 yards long. The course was designed by Greg Norman and it feature three different terrains throughout the course. There’s dense tropical jungles, mangrove forests, and oceanfront stretches of sand and it is bisected by massive limestone canals. In fact, only three holes on the entire course do not have water in play.
The winning score for this course should be in the range of -13 to -19. When the golfers are on the oceanside of this course, they will have to deal with the wind, but when they get deep in dense jungle wind should not be a factor. It will be a nice test for all the players this week.
On the first three days of this tournament, there will be between a 10 to 40% chance of rain, but come Sunday that percentage rises to 80% with thunderstorms. It might come to a Monday finish if the weather does not cooperate.
|Chris Stroud comes into this event with the most top finishes at this event for all the players in this year’s field. His 2014/15 season has not started strong, with a missed cut in the opening event (The Frys) and a 39th finish in the limited field of the CIMB Classic. His history this event is hard to ignore. His last three starts here have resulted in three top 10 finishes. In 2008 he placed 12th. He has made six of seven cuts at this event.|
|McGirt comes into this event making three straight cuts. His last start (Sanderson Farms) was a 7th place finish. The two events prior to that were in much stronger fields where he placed 32nd and 33th respectively. His history at this event is three cuts made in three starts. In those 12 rounds he has been under par 8 times. He is currently sitting in the top half of the PGA in both greens in regulation (63rd) and putting (42nd). That combination was how Harris English won last year.|
|When we are talking about stats, there is one stat leaderboard players love to climb: the consecutive cuts made leaderboard. Summerhays is sitting 14th on that list with 9 cuts made in a row, dating back to last season. He is one behind William McGirt (written above), and three below Jerry Kelly (written below). This season Summerhays’ finishes have not been spectacular, but they have been consistent and steady. He is solid with the putter (42nd in putting) and last week finished 18th in greens hit in regulation.|
|Bo Van Pelt||$8,300|
|Last season Bo Van Pelt started off in solid fashion during the fall series, then proceeded to fall off after that. The start of his 2013/14 season was horribly inconsistent. This season he has made three straight cuts and is looking to finish off the 2014 calendar year with a fourth straight cut made. Dating back to last season Van Pelt has only missed one cut since the Players, that being the Canadian Open. This season could be Van Pelt’s bounce-back season.|
|As mentioned above, Jerry Kelly is sitting at 12 consecutive cuts made (8th best on Tour). His last missed cut was at THE PLAYERS. He has made three consecutive cuts this season and is coming off a 22nd place finish last week. Kelly has played this event six times – he has missed the cut only once and has one top 10 finish. This field is wide open this week, so going conservative might be the best play.|
|If you need a player sub 6K price range, look at Kyle Reifers. After a two year run on the Web.com Tour, Kyle Reifers has returned to the PGA Tour. Since returning, he has made the most of his starts, making the cut in all four appearances. Last week he finished 14th at the Sanderson Farms event and he was 5th best in the combination of greens in regulation rank (18th) and putting rank (12th). On the year Reifers has an all-around ranking of 18th on Tour.|
There you have it folks: my picks for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Good luck to all.