Just two more events remain on the PGA Tour’s fall schedule. This week, El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba Resort will host the 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Typically a birdie fest since its move to the fall in 2013, the Mayakoba Golf Classic features a 128-player field headlined by Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau. The defending champion is Patton Kizzire, who last year joined a list of past winners that includes Pat Perez, Graeme McDowell and Charley Hoffman.
Last season, El Camaleon played as the second easiest fall venue, yielding a 70.32 scoring average. But at 6,987 yards, this par-71 layout doesn’t just require guys to go out, smash drivers and make a bunch of birdies with wedges. There are many hazards here and players often take less than driver on the tee. This is very much a second- and third-shot golf course.
One look at the past champions and it’s clear that strong iron play and short game are the keys to winning. With that in mind, look at strokes gained approach and around the greens, greens in regulation, scrambling and driving accuracy.
Here are my top 20 fantasy options for the week:
1. Rickie Fowler: Trending big-time with three straight top-10s and a T-4 finish last week in Las Vegas. Shot 18 under and placed second in Mayakoba debut last year. Ranks 19th in SG approach and 15th in strokes gained putting.
2. Gary Woodland: He’s on fire, finishing T-12 or better in five straight starts. Set 54-hole record of 195 in 2017 en route to second-place finish. Ranks T-8 in GIR.
3. Emiliano Grillo: Yet to finish outside top 10 in two Mayakoba starts and has shot higher than 69 just once in eight rounds. Ranks fourth in SG approach. Finishes this fall include T-2 at CIMB and T-14 at HSBC Champions.
4. Tony Finau: Struggled with ballstriking in Las Vegas, finishing T-36. But he was second in China the week prior. Missed cut here last year after T-7 in debut. Ranks seventh in SG around the green.
5. Si Woo Kim: Has opened new season with three top-25s, including a T-15 last week in Las Vegas. Was solo third last year at Mayakoba. Leads Tour in strokes gained putting by more than a half-stroke.
6. Abraham Ancer: Tied for ninth last year at Mayakoba and has already notched two top-5s this fall, including a T-4 last week at Shriners. Ranks fourth in strokes gained putting and T-16 in driving accuracy.
7. Scott Piercy: Followed T-5 at CJ Cup with T-10 in Las Vegas. Finished T-4 last year at Mayakoba and has two other top-20s in seven starts.
8. Luke List: Has sandwiched T-7 in 2017 with MCs. Ranks T-4 in scrambling, sixth in SGTTG and T-18 in GIR. Hasn’t played since T-4 at Safeway.
9. Jordan Spieth: Making Mayakoba debut this week after disappointing T-55 showing in Las Vegas, his second straight T-55 finish. Said he’s putting old driver and 3-wood back in play, though, and he ranks 30th in strokes gained putting after one event.
10. Chez Reavie: Followed Mayakoba-best T-4 in 2017 with T-14 last year. Ranks 15th in driving accuracy and 18th in SG approach. Hasn’t looked great this fall aside from a T-7 at CJ Cup.
11. J.B. Holmes: Ranks third in SG around the green and 15th in SGTTG. Has only played Mayakoba once, missing the cut in 2007. But he has two finishes of T-13 or better this fall and hasn’t finished worse than T-23.
12. Charles Howell III: Has missed just one cut in nine Mayakoba starts while cracking the top 10 in three of his last five trips. Ranks T-8 in GIR. Followed T-5 at CIMB with T-61 at CJ Cup.
13. Sam Ryder: Solo third at Shriners was his second top-4 finish of the fall. Ranks fifth on Tour in SGTTG. Missed cut last year at Mayakoba, though.
14. Ryan Moore: Tied for sixth last year in first Mayakoba start since T-23 in 2014. Hasn’t finished better than T-36 since playoff loss at Safeway, though. Ranks 20th in driving accuracy.
15. Billy Horschel: Missed cut last year in third career Mayakoba start, but was T-13 in 2011. Coming off T-11 finish in China.
16. Joaquin Niemann: Makes Mayakoba debut this week, but has the tee-to-green game to make an instant impact here. Coming off T-10 finish at Shriners.
17. Zach Johnson: Tied for 23rd in Mayakoba debut last year, but doesn’t have a top-10 finish since the Valero Texas Open last season.
18. J.J. Spaun: Followed T-28 in 2017 with T-14 at last year’s Mayakoba. Strong ballstriker has cracked top 15 in two straight, including last week at Shriners.
19. Aaron Wise: Tread lightly because his record here isn’t anything special. But he is riding a streak of three straight finishes of T-16 or better.
20. Anders Albertson: Makes Mayakoba debut this week. Followed T-5 at Sanderson Farms with a T-28 in Las Vegas. Ranks 13th in SG approach and T-18 in GIR.