GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Mayakoba Golf Classic | 3rd-6th December 2020 | Sky Sports
The curtain draws to a close on the PGA Tour this week as a fine field heads to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. El Camaleón Golf Club doesn't usually see this strong a field but with Tiger Woods' Tournament of Champions cancelled, the likes of Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka make the trip.
The Greg Norman design measuring 7,017 yards as a Par-71 is a unique track etched into a tropical jungle on the ocean's front. It's a coastal course that is affected by the elements with smaller-than-usual Paspalum greens.
With that in mind, we'll look to other venues for pointers like Corales Puntacuna, Puerto Rico, Harbour Town (RBC Heritage), Waialae (Sony Open), TPC Southwind (FedEx St Jude), Colonial, TPC Kuala Lumpar (CIM and the Ellie Mae Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour.
It's all about being accurate, both off-the-tee and hitting into those small greens as is par-4 scoring and putting on Paspalum.
The aforementioned duo open the betting market, JT at 6/1 and BK at 12/1, and they are closely followed by a trio of the Tour's most in-form players right now in Harris English, Abraham Ancer and Daniel Berger. All shorter than 20/1. Of those, it's hard to write off JT who ranks second in my model this week with English not too far behind.
Although this tournament has never been one for the favourites, so my staking plan this week starts a little way down…
Emiliano Grillo (55/1 Betfair)
Unfortunately, the player that rates out best for me this week is Emiliano Grillo (55/1 Betfair
), so I can't ignore him.
Only four other players in this field rank higher for GIR over their last nine events whilst he also rates out inside the top-10 for ball-striking and approach, and inside the top-25 for par-4 scoring and driving.
The Argentine hasn't won since 2015 and that's mainly down to his putting, though he seems to do best on these Paspalum surfaces.
His best finishes on the PGA Tour over the last few years have been at TPC Kuala Lumpar (runner-up), Colonial (T3) and Puerto Rico (T3 and T2, a playoff defeat). Meanwhile, he has missed just one cut in his last 11 events which only goes to show the sort of form he's in right now, and during that run, Grillo has finished inside the top-3 at the 3M and inside the top-10 at the Barracuda.
If he can continue his hot-streak, then perhaps this is the venue at which he ties it all together.
Adam Long 60/1 (SkyBet)
I rate Adam Long 60/1 (SkyBet)
and his chances this week as he's in great nick. His last two outings have been a T11 in Houston and a T30 at Sea Island (RSM), where at both events he rated out inside the ten best players for driving accuracy (10th & 6th), GIR (8th & 7th), total accuracy (2nd & 1st) and ball-striking (6th).
It is on short birdie-making tracks that he thrives, that much was seen in storming to the 2019 Desert Classic at PGA West, winning at 26-under-par.
Earlier this year he was fifth at Corales, following on from his 7th place finish there in 2018, whilst he was runner-up here at El Camaleon last year by one shot.
Alex Noren 66/1 (Betfair)
I backed Alex Noren 66/1 (Betfair)
at similar odds the other week and he badly let us down with an awful missed cut but truthfully, he's not actually playing that badly.
He bounced back at Sea Island last time out with a T18 whilst he has also finished T3 at the 3M, 8th at the Northern Trust 9th at the Barracuda, 17th at the US Open and 22nd in the USPGA this year.
On his day, the Swede is a supreme ball-striker who can deal with windy conditions immensely plus he's a prove winner on the European Tour, he's just yet to replicate that across the pond. One of those wins has been at the tight-lined Wentworth, so perhaps that can be a neat fit for a ET player. As is the Open de France that both Noren one 2015 Mayakoba winner Graeme McDowell has won at twice.
Joel Dahmen 70/1 (Betfair)
Going back to the model for another bet this week, and I am very happy to take him at these odds – Joel Dahmen 70/1 (Betfair)
. He is playing some sneaky good stuff right now, missing just two cuts in his last 11 events. Those two tournaments were the Northern Trust and the US Open, so we can ignore these in relation to this week.
Over the last nine tournaments alone, Dahmen is 2nd for good drives, 10th for birdie or better and inside the top-25 in this field for GIR, par-4 scoring and scrambling.
He was sixth here last year and soon followed that up with a T12 in the Sony. He's also contended at some pretty neat events, including Pebble Beach (T14), the Genesis (T5), the API (T5), the USPGA (T10) and the ZOZO (T8). To be performing at these venues, you need to be nifty with your irons and many pose the threat of wind too, so perhaps El Camaleon is right up his street.
Brian Stuard 110/1 (SkyBet)
And finally, I'll back a pair of absolute longshots who also rate out better than their odds suggest Brian Stuard 110/1 (SkyBet)
and Cameron Percy 300/1 (Betfair)
We'll start with Stuard who has been a runner-up twice at this venue. He also has four top-8s in seven starts at the Sony. Look, he's this long for a reason and really we're looking for a place with him but he often only flashes at the same tracks and after back-to-back cuts, just maybe he's set for good'un here.
He will hit the fairway as much as anyone else, we just need those irons to be dialled in and the putter to behave. A second-round 63 last time out at the RSM also shows he's currently capable of going low.
Cameron Percy 300/1 (Betfair)
Aussie veteran Percy is also worth a shout, especially at these mega-odds. He has never won on the PGA Tour but has contended at TPC Stonebrae (Ellie Mae Classic) with a runner-up finish and has regularly shown up at events in his own country, the link there being the windy conditions.
His best finish this year was four starts ago at Corales when he finished T8. Over the last nine tournaments in this field, Percy is actually 5th for SG: Approach, 14th for GIR, 15th for good drives and 33rd for par-4 scoring. At 300/1, he's worth a dabble that's for sure.
Mayakoba Golf Classic – Emiliano Grillo (55/1 each-way Betfair)
Mayakoba Golf Classic – Adam Long 60/1 (each-way SkyBet)
Mayakoba Golf Classic – Alex Noren 66/1 (each-way Betfair)
Mayakoba Golf Classic – Joel Dahmen 70/1 (each-way Betfair)
Mayakoba Golf Classic – Brian Stuard 110/1 (each-way SkyBet)
Mayakoba Golf Classic – Cameron Percy 300/1 (each-way Betfair)