The PGA Tour takes a break from the Florida Swing for the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City.
The 7,345-yard, par-71 Club de Golf Chapultepec will again serve as host of the 65-player event, which is now in its second year after Dustin Johnson edged Tommy Fleetwood for the win last season.
Johnson thrived in the high altitude of Mexico City, ranking fourth in driving distance at 321.4 yards and leading the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green and approach shot proximity. He was T-49 in fairways hit and 21st in strokes gained: putting. Four of the top 5 driving distance leaders last year finished inside the top 7, and three players ranked outside the top 20 in SGP.
The greens are smallish at Chapultepec, which probably plays closer to 6,600 yards because of the altitude. I’d still favor guys who hit it far because they will get plenty of wedge opportunities. Straight hitters off the tee will do well, too, as this is a tree-lined golf course.
To win this week, a player must drive it well and hit plenty of greens, so stats-wise, we’ll place emphasis on strokes gained: tee-to-green, greens in regulation and par-4 scoring, since players only have three par-5s this week.
Here are the top 25 fantasy golf options for the 2018 WGC-Mexico:
1. Justin Thomas: Coming his second win of the season, at Honda, and was T-5 here last year despite a final-round 72. Top 13 in SGTTG, GIR and driving distance.
2. Dustin Johnson: Defending champion hasn’t finished worse than T-16 all season and is ranked third on Tour in SGTTG and second in par-4 scoring.
3. Tommy Fleetwood: Runner-up here last year and coming off a solo fourth at PGA National. European Tour’s leader in GIR and debuted on the PGA Tour’s SGTTG list at No. 2.
4. Jordan Spieth: Has gone T-20, T-9 since missed cut in Phoenix. Shot 63 in the third round here last year en route to a T-12 finish. He’s hitting greens (T-7 in GIR) and ranks 12th in SGTTG. Putter continues to heat up.
5. Jon Rahm: Two weeks off should help him shake off some recent weekend struggles. Won the CareerBuilder Challenge last month and was T-3 last year in Mexico. Ranks T-4 in par-4 scoring and his No. 31 SGTTG is negatively affected by his sub-par iron play, as he is driving it statistically better than everyone except DJ.
6. Phil Mickelson: Enters Mexico event riding three straight top-6 finishes. Driving is getting better and he’s been one of the Tour’s best iron players this season, though ranks 173rd in GIR. (He’s gaining 1.22 shots approaching the greens.) T-7 here a year ago. Also is fifth in SGP.
7. Alex Noren: Solo third at Honda and runner-up a month ago at the Farmers Insurance Open, he’s poised to greatly improve on his T-55 here last year. Ranks 16th in SGTTG and an elite ballstriker. Also is seventh on Tour in SGP.
8. Justin Rose: T-38 with no rounds in the 60s here last year, but he is well rested and hasn’t finished outside the top 25 since last year’s PGA Championship with 11 top-10s in 12 starts during that span, including three wins. Consistently great ballstriker who should fare better the second time around here.
9. Sergio Garcia: Made his PGA Tour season debut last week and tied for 33rd at the Honda. T-12 in Mexico last year. Has the tee-to-green game to contend here again.
10. Patrick Cantlay: Making his Mexico debut after tying for fourth at Genesis and winning earlier this season in Las Vegas. Ranks 19th in SGTTG and 25th in GIR. Just needs to make more putts, but this course should suit him well.
11. Tony Finau: Most recently was T-2 at Genesis, his second runner-up finish of the season, and now enters Mexico debut. Leads Tour in driving distance by 8 yards and ranks sixth in SGTTG.
12. Paul Casey: Shot 67-66 on the weekend to share 16th last year in Mexico. His T-49 at Genesis snapped his top-20 streak at five. Ranks fourth in SGTTG and 19th in GIR. Needs to make more putts and play the par-4s better to contend this week.
13. Rickie Fowler: Two missed cuts in his last three Tour starts as he hasn’t hit it as great tee to green this season. However, he is still ranked 34th in SGTTG and T-4 in par-4 scoring. Closed in 67 last year to finish T-16 here.
14. Ross Fisher: Has been runner-up three times in his last seven worldwide starts and was T-3 here last year after a closing 65. Blends a nice mix of power and accuracy off the tee and hits greens.
15. Webb Simpson: Making Mexico debut, but also coming off T-5 at Honda. Ranks 40th in SGTTG, T-4 in par-4 scoring and sixth in putting.
16. Gary Woodland: MC, T-49 since winning in Phoenix, but he ranks 21st in SGTTG, third in GIR, T-23 in par-4 scoring and is 11th in SGP. T-38 last year in Mexico.
17. Thomas Pieters: Showed some promise with a T-13 and strong ballstriking performance at Honda. Rose from 144th to 93rd in SGTTG, but obviously still needs to improve in all tee-to-green stats. Was T-5 here last year with no rounds in the 70s.
18. Brian Harman: Owns five top-8s this season on Tour, but has gone T-20, MC, T-33 in his last three starts. Doesn’t hit it far, but he’s straight, and he ranks 33rd in SGTTG, 10th in GIR and T-4 in par-4 scoring. Making Mexico debut this week.
19. Branden Grace: T-15 in the last WGC last fall in Malaysia and T-32 here last year. Ranks 20th in SGTTG and 13th in GIR. Also T-41 in SGP.
20. Daniel Berger: Opened Honda with 67 before fading to a T-29 finish. Four top-15s in last six starts. Ranks 60th in SGTTG, but he showed he can play this course last year with a T-16 finish that included a second-round 66.
21. Kevin Chappell: Two top-10s in last four starts with nothing worse than T-31. T-55 here last year but did close in 69. Ranks T-4 in SGTTG and T-10 in par-4 scoring.
22. Tyrrell Hatton: Surprisingly missed cut at Honda, but was top 20 with two wins in 10 starts prior. Also was 10th in Mexico last year. Better around the greens than from tee to green.
23. Matt Fitzpatrick: Hasn’t pegged it since MC in Dubai, but was T-19 or better in 10 straight events entering that event. T-16 last year in Mexico.
24. Bubba Watson: T-38 here last year, but is a different player this year and his win at Riviera was proof of that. Ranks 64th in SGTTG, and is top 25 in par-4 scoring and driving distance.
25. Rafa Cabrera Bello: T-38 last year in Mexico. Ranks 12th in SGTTG and GIR. Has gone T-26, T-26, T-29 in last three Tour starts after starting season with three straight top-11s.