Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: Mexico Championship

You might need to be on a computer to view this whole spreadsheet properly because of it’s size, but here is a link to my cheat sheet for this event. WGC-Mexico

The Course

  • Club de Golf Chapultepec
  • Naucalpan, Mexico
  • Par 71
  • 7,330 yards
    • 7,870 feet above sea level (balls carry roughly 10% further)
      • Calculating each shot becomes difficult
      • Course plays under 7,000 yards due to altitude
    • Very narrow, tree-lined course
    • Kikuyu grass rough, poa annua/bent grass greens
    • Slight correlation to Riviera from last week (Genesis Open)
      • Distance, accuracy, recovery, bending/setting up shots
    • 3rd year hosting the tournament
    • Tough greens

Key Stats

  • SG: approaching-the-green
    • SG: off-the-tee
  • Scrambling
  • GIR
  • Proximity
  • Birdie or better
  • Bogey avoidance
  • Driving accuracy
  • 3 putt avoidance

The Field

This week we have a little change of pace with a smaller field and no cut line. Currently the field is set at 72 golfers with qualifiers being either top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, top 10 in FedEx standings, top 10 on European Tour, and top 2 from each of the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australia, and Sunshine Tour (whatever that is). J.B. Holmes had planned a family vacation this week so he will not be in attendance — maybe we’ll be able to finish on time this week, and Si Woo Kim has also WD. The final alternates that have qualified are Byeong-Hun An, Charles Howell III, Satoshi Kodaira, Tom Lewis, and Adrian Otaegui. (Updated: Out- Andrew Putnam, In- Ryan Fox).

Big Dogs ($9,500 and up on DK)

I won’t spend too much time in this category because most of these guys are either in great form or have had success on this course or both. These are my favorite picks for each format but I could also see Brooks being a good GPP play if he goes massively overlooked, same with Tiger — those are my backup tournament plays. Also, DJ and Rickie are probably my backup cash lineup plays. You really can’t go wrong in this category but with the lack of depth this week, and with a small field, I actually prefer to look for more value in the low $9,000’s and $8,000’s. 

Everyone seems to have their sleeper European picks that are near the bottom of the barrel but I would suggest to not get too cute with those picks, most won’t pan out. So stars and scrubs might not be the best formula this week but still don’t be afraid to take a shot on one of the dark horses from overseas. 

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Justin Thomas ($11,800 DK – $12,000 FD) – if JT shot +2 on the final round at the Genesis Open last week he would have walked away with a “W”. Last year at this event he lost to Phil in a playoff. Those two outright 2nd place finishes paired with his 1st in SG: approaching-the-green and SG: tee-to-green is why I’ll be going back to JT this week.
    • Bryson DeChambeau ($10,000 DK – $11,500 FD) – Bryson is statistically at the top of his game right now, he hasn’t finished outside of the top 20 in his last 11 tournaments. The only thing that scares me is that he hasn’t played here before but I think he’s smart enough to figure out the effect that the high elevation will have on the distance of each shot.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Rory McIlroy ($11,100 DK – $11,600 FD) – Rory has placed inside the top 5 in all three of his most recent events. This year he is ranked 165th in one putt percentage so just imagine what he is going to look like when the putts start to fall.
    • Jon Rahm ($10,700 DK – $11,700 FD) – Rahm has gone six straight events with top 10 finishes. He’s slowly become one of the best lag putters on Tour, only three putting 1.39% of the time (which puts him at 6th best this season). There’s no doubt that this ability to save par by avoiding meltdowns on the green has been a big part of his recent success.

Value ($7,600$9,300 on DK)

A case could be made for just about anyone $7,600 or higher this week so feel free to mix things up and listen to your gut this tournament. But these are some of my recommendations if you want reassurance. 

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Hideki Matsuyama ($9,000 DK – $10,900 FD) – this season Hideki is 4th in SG: approaching-the-green, 2nd in SG: tee-to-green, and he just moved into 1st in scrambling. He played here two years ago where he finished 25th and he is coming off of three consecutive top 15 finishes.
    • Webb Simpson ($8,300 DK – $9,800 FD) – we’ve only seen Webb once since the Sentry TOC and that was at the Waste Management where he finished 20th. Last year at Chapultepec he was 37th but he’s 2nd in SG: approaching-the-green, 4th in scrambling, and 3rd in bogey avoidance so I love his floor for this tournament.
    • Marc Leishman ($8,700 DK & $10,800 FD) & Matt Kuchar ($7,700 DK – $9,800 FD) – Kuch’s price tag has dropped quite a bit in this loaded field, he’s shooting slightly worse but is still coming off of back to back top 30’s. Maybe the thought is that he will get heckled like he did early last week, or even worse, now that he’s back in Mexico. Either way — his value is too good in this spot to not at least think about taking a chance. And I’ve done this before but Leishman and Kuch are still the same guy in my eyes. Marc’s showing at Riviera last week (T4) should translate nicely here… he’s expensive Kuch this week.
      • Tommy Fleetwood ($8,200 DK) & Gary Woodland ($7,900 DK) – where these two are priced at on DK leads me to believe that they are going to be highly owned, which is why I put them down as good cash plays. If you want to use them in GPP too that might not be a bad idea because the win equity is absolutely there.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Xander Schauffele ($9,100 DK – $11,100 FD) – it’s tough to tell where ownership is going to fall this week, especially for Xander. He’s wedged between current winner and last years winner (Phil) and what seems to be everyone’s favorite value play this week (Hideki) — and below him is a guy that can score in bunches (Finau). Xander’s proximity game is 199th this season and he’s still managed to see a couple of wins. If he can dial it in he’ll certainly have a shot at winning two consecutive WGC’s.
    • Tony Finau ($8,900 DK – $10,700 FD) – Tony is starting to trend in the right direction after missing the cut at the Waste Management with a 38th at Pebble Beach and 15th at Riviera. I see him being able to club down at Chapultepec with his power which should really help his inaccuracy off the tee and give him another shot to improve yet again this week.
    • Byeong-Hun An ($7,600 DK – $9,200 FD) – one guy that I haven’t heard much talk about this week but I kind of like is Ben An. He’s 8th in SG: tee-to-green and 10th in SG: approaching-the-green. A big problem with him has been, like Finau, accuracy off the tee but right now he is the 2nd longest driver this season so I see him clubbing down and increasing his tee-to-green game.

Sleepers ($7,500 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Cameron Smith ($7,400 DK – $9,700 FD) – this season Cameron Smith is 7th in SG: approaching-the-green and 22nd in par 4 scoring. He’s also in solid form: in his last five events he’s averaging 26th place, with the most recent four tournaments being played on American soil (he won’t be dealing with a big time zone change).
    • Keegan Bradley ($7,000 DK – $8,900 FD) & Emiliano Grillo ($6,900 DK – $9,400 FD) – both of these guys are 20/22 in cuts made over the last year, this is mostly due to their excellent ball striking. Both are outside of the top 200 in SG: putting (yikes). They will get scoring chances and should have a good floor but whether or not they end up near the top of the leader board will be determined by their performance on the greens this week (don’t hold your breath).
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Tyrrell Hatton ($7,300 DK – $9,200 FD) – the proximity and SG: approaching-the-green numbers still aren’t where they need to be but Hatton is managing to hang in there with a 15th place at the Waste Management. He has great course history here with a 10th and 3rd place finish so if he goes over looked due to his stats and missed cut last week, he can be a great sleeper this week.
    • Joost Luiten ($7,300 DK – $7,800 FD) – Joost finished 3rd in Abu Dhabi and 6th in Saudi Arabia in two of his most recent, larger tournaments. He has played here twice and has finished near the middle of the pack both times but the experience and fact that he has finished under par each year is a good sign.
    • Thorbjorn Olesen ($7,000 DK – $8,300 FD) – when Thorbjorn plays in PGA events/significant events he either misses the cut or finishes pretty high, good news this week… there’s no cut. Saudi International = missed cut, Dubai = 7th, Abu Dhabi = missed cut, WGC-HSBC = 7th. Those are four of his most recent big events. Proceed with caution.

Dark Horses

  • Risky (GPP)
    • Hao-Tong Li ($7,400 DK – $8,900 FD) – Li is like Thorbjorn but even worse. This dude is probably the most likely to either win or come in dead last. He’s coming off of a 2nd place finish behind Dustin Johnson in Saudi Arabia but last year in this event he shot +14.
    • Kevin Kisner ($7,200 DK – $9,100 FD) – Kisner is one of the best putters on Tour and at a course that doesn’t play too long and has really tough greens its no wonder that he’s had some success here with an 11th and 29th place finish the last two years.
    • Tom Lewis ($7,000 DK – $7,000 FD) – He made the cut in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia with two top 10’s in those events, one of which being a 3rd place finish. He was a late add to this tournament and I’m pretty sure FD dropped the ball with their pricing because it’s the same as what he is on DK (which shouldn’t happen).
    • Richard Sterne ($6,700 DK – $7,400 FD) – I haven’t heard anyone mention this dude — he’s officially my dark horse pick so nobody else better play him this week. I have money on him as the first round leader too because he’s been getting off to hot starts lately. In Abu Dhabi he was 1 stroke off the leader in the first round and in Saudi Arabia he was 2 strokes back. In those tourneys he went on to finish 2nd and 13th respectively. Also, the Joburg Open is an event in South Africa that has drawn comparisons due to the similar elevation. Guess who is a two-time winner there…
Mark Lee

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Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.