Pamela Maldonado breaks down her top picks for the Mexico Open from Vallarta, Mexico.
PAT MALDONADO: The PGA heads down south to play at the Vidanta Vallarta Resort, a Greg Norman design that was just opened in 2016. I'm Pat Maldonado. And I've got my picks for the Mexico Open.
Because the course itself is a resort-style course, it is flat. It is wide. There's really no elevation. But there are loads of bunkers which is typical of a Norman design. It is a par 73 for resort guests. However, for the PGA they converted some of the par 5s into par 4s, now making it a par 71.
The course is over 7,400 yards with paspalum fairways and greens. Some of the stuff that I'm looking at is driving distance, long irons, and paspalum experience. Because it is a new course on TOUR and because we have no course history, I am looking at Greg Norman course history instead.
There's two players I like to contend to win this tournament outright, starting first with Aaron Wise, +175 for a top 20, 30:1 for a win. The Cape Town player is Top 55 in driving distance and has a couple of Top 15 finishes at Mayakoba which is another Greg Norman design.
He's typically a player who does loose strokes with [? this flat ?] stick. However, Wise gained nearly three strokes putting at the RBC which is the last event that he played. Plus, he gained nearly four strokes putting at last year's PGA Championship which is another paspalum surface. Wise is good off the tee. He has a good approach shot. What lacks is his short game.
But because this course is a friendly course layout, is easier to putt on, it evens out the playing field. So Wise has as good a shot as any.
Player two, Gary Woodland, +100 for a Top 20, one of the shorter odds up on the board at 20:1 for a win. Woodland is finally healthy and seems to have found his form once again. Top 15 in driving distance. Top 15 in the field for strokes gained on the approach of 175 or longer. Top 25 in par 5 scoring which matters because there's only a few.
Woodland has gained strokes ball striking in six of his last eight events, resulting in a few Top 10s, including T8 at the Valero, another Greg Norman design. The only two missed cuts that Woodland had as of late at the PLAYERS and at the Masters.
Two really tough fields, this event isn't that. So those are two players that I like to possibly win the Mexico Open, Aaron Wise and Gary Woodland. You can find odds for both players at the Yahoo Sportsbook. Bet $10 and win $200 in free bets by signing up at betmgm.com/yahoovip. New customers only. Must be 21 or older. And terms do apply.