The PGA TOUR continues its run of visiting non-U.S.-based courses this week as it heads to Mexico for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. This is the 16th running of this event which first took place back in 2007. There are 13 golfers in the field ranked inside the top 50 of the OWGR this week with several top players returning to action.
The course this week has a lot of similarities to last week. We’re again in a more tropical setting and visiting a resort-style course. El Camaleon is a 7,021 yards par 71 that is set near the ocean in Mayaboka. It has been the host of this event since its inception in 2007 and hasn’t seen many changes since that time. While this event used to see higher scoring when it was held in March, the calmer weather and winds in November have made this one of the lowest-scoring events of the fall swing. The winners at Mayakoba have now reached 20-under par or better in four of the past five seasons, as the receptive and slower paspalum greens mean nearly every hole can yield a birdie.
The venue sets up as a traditional par 71 with three par 5s and four par 3s. The par 3s are unique in that three of the four play well under 200 yards and set up as some of the easier holes on the course. The par 4s are where the course does have some teeth, as three of the par 4s stretch out over 450 yards in length and all three of these tougher holes come in the final six-hole closing stretch. With the shorter par 3s and plenty of par 4s that will require approaches from 150 yards or less, wedge play and short iron proximity stats will be essential at El Camaleon. Players tend to hit a very high percentage of greens in regulation at this venue and with rain in the early week forecast, we can again expect players to not have to worry about scrambling much this week.
Off the tee, this week does set up as moderately more difficult than last week, in the sense that driving accuracy will be of more importance. Fairways are slightly harder to hit at El Camaleon than the average PGA TOUR venue and if a player is going to get in any real trouble this week (e.g. hit it in the jungle or native area) then it will almost certainly come off the tee. The last three winners here (Viktor Hovland and Brendon Todd) ranked well inside the top 20 in driving accuracy stats for the week.
Overall, this is a week to worry about overall ball striking more than pure power stats. Looking for players trending well in Strokes Gained: Approach, short iron proximity and who are gaining strokes off the tee through fairways hit or gained (and not through distance) is what to look for when researching stats.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,100)
Given what we’ve seen from Grillo over the past six months, this could be a great spot for him to pop up and grab his second PGA TOUR victory. The Argentine has improved his play on and around the greens and that’s led to him grabbing four top-five finishes over his past 10 starts. Most of those top finishes have come on courses with easier scoring conditions, as well, as he posted runner-up placings at both the John Deere Classic and 3M Open over the late summer.
Grillo is certainly more of a technical ball striker than a pure power player and his accuracy off the tee should be rewarded this week. He ranks top 50 in accuracy off the tee in 2022-23 and is still trending strongly with his irons, ranking in the top 30 in Strokes Gained: Approach stats over the past 24 rounds. Grillo has also been a very reliable producer for fantasy purposes, ranking top 10 in birdie or better percentage over that same time frame. He’s played El Camaleon six times in the past and posted three top-15 finishes at this course. At just over $9,000 he makes for a great upper-tier value target to build around.
Jason Day ($9,200)
While it will be tempting to pay up for one of the more elite names in this field, I also like targeting the former World No. 1 Day in this range. Always an injury risk, Day’s swing changes are clearly starting to pay off as the Aussie enters this week off the back of T8 and T11 finishes over his past two starts. Day’s also coming in off a week of rest and with the way his game has been trending of late, this setup could be ideal for him to post another top finish — and potentially even a comeback victory.
Day has now gained 5.4 and 4.1 strokes on his approaches in his past two starts, respectively, and has also been showcasing a much more consistent off-the-tee game as he currently ranks 32nd in driving accuracy stats on the TOUR. With easy-to-hit greens, we also won’t have to worry much about whether his short game is in form or not this week. Look to Day when building balanced lineups on DraftKings as the setup should be ideal for him given his improved ball striking.
Ryan Moore ($6,300)
This event has seen a number of veteran type winners over the years. Matt Kuchar, Pat Perez and Graeme McDowell all grabbed wins at this event in their late 30s and early 40s, so it’s not outlandish to think that Moore may be able to take a step up this week and contend. The four-time PGA TOUR winner has struggled over the past few seasons, but there have been signs his game is slowly starting to take shape again.
The best part of Moore’s game has always been his accuracy and short iron play and he comes into this week having now gained strokes on approach in four straight starts. That’s yielded two top-30 finishes, and that kind of result would not be terrible for DraftKings purposes, given his incredibly cheap salary this week. Moore has shown he’s capable of more on these shorter types of setups, though, and it was only last summer that he produced a shock runner-up finish out of nowhere at the 2021 John Deere Classic. As a low-owned, low-priced GPP flyer, Moore offers great salary relief and underrated upside this week.
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