Lee is Mexican Hot

Matt Cooper
Rotoworld

Recap of the day

Morning wave: A day late, of course, but Danny Lee was on fire first thing, completing 13 holes in 10-under-par for the day and eyeing a sub-60 lap. Twitter got excited … and he duly three-putted the 14th green for bogey. Nonetheless, his 62 set a superb pace and no-one in the ideal morning conditions could match it. Brendan Todd and Adam Long got within a stroke with their 63s, Vaughn Taylor carded a 64 and Billy Horschel a 65.

Afternoon wave: First out was Mark Hubbard and he thrashed a 64 to tie Taylor. Soon afterward Chris Baker looked set to better Lee’s score at the top of the leaderboard, but he registered late birdies to fall back into the same tie for fourth with Hubbard, Taylor and Zach Johnson.

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Leaderboard: -9 Danny Lee, -8 Brendan Todd, Adam Long, -7 Vaughn Taylor, Mark Hubbard, Chris Baker, Zach Johnson, -6 Billy Horschel, Harris English

Notables: -5 Graeme McDowell, Abraham Ancer, -3 Viktor Hovland, -2 Matt Kuchar, -1 Tony Finau, Jason Day

Revised outright betting

Lee 5/1, Horschel 10/1, Todd 12/1, English 12/1, Ancer 16/1, Johnson 16/1

 

Delay update

The second round is scheduled for Saturday and, because of limited daylight in November, the tournament will not end until Monday.

 

Saturday weather forecast

Partly cloudy, temperatures in the low 70s, a low chance of rain and a blustery wind of about 15 mph.

 

Leaders at 36 holes

Danny Lee (62) – A sensational start to his week, thrashing five birdies and an eagle-3 on the way to the turn, then adding a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th. That bogey at the 14th followed, but he coasted home having landed 16-of-18 greens in regulation.

Brendon Todd (63) – A bogey-free journey that witnessed four birdies on each nine. He found only 6-of-14 fairways, but 15-of-18 greens in regulation.

Adam Long (63) – Needed just 1.357 putts per greens in regulation as he collected six front-nine birdies (against one bogey). Added three back-nine par breakers.

 

Fate of the favorites

Viktor Hovland (68) – Plenty of problems, but he plugged away, swapping five birdies and an eagle with four bogeys. Found 12-of-18 greens and saved par just 2-of-6 times.

Jason Day (70) – Landed a shocking 4-of-14 fairways which contributed to a tally of 11-of-18 greens in regulation. Was 4-under through 14, but then went double bogey-bogey.

Tony Finau (70) – Limped to the turn, exchanging two bogeys and a birdie on the back nine, then added seven pars and two birdies on the way home.

Abraham Ancer (66) – Opened on the back nine and clipped four birdies in a row from his second hole. Thereafter could add just the one further birdie, but went bogey-free all day.

 

Road to victory at El Camaleon

2018 Matt Kuchar – R1: 1, R2: 1, R3: 1

2017 Patton Kizzire – R1: 1, R2: 1, R3: 1

2016 Pat Perez – R1: 20, R2: 11, R3: 3

2015 Graeme McDowell – R1: 10, R2: 1, R3: 3

2014 Charley Hoffman – R1: 7, R2: 9, R3: 3

Notes: The first winner at this course, Fred Funk in 2007, went wire-to-wire and so have the last two winners here. Otherwise, nine of the 12 winners have been top ten after 18 holes and none was further back than T23.

 

Fate of the R1 leaders at El Camaleon – where did they finish?

2018 Matt Kuchar 1st, Kramer Hickok 29th, Dominic Bozzelli 48th

2017 Patton Kizzire 1st

2016 Chris Kirk 7th

2015 Derek Fathauer 4th, Shawn Stefani 25th, Justin Leonard 29th, Aaron Baddeley 46th

2014 Tony Finau 7th, Will MacKenzie 9th, Steve Wheatcroft 44th, Robert Garrigus 49th, Daniel Berger 51st, Hudson Swafford 51st

Notes: Considering the last two years have witnessed two wire-to-wire winners it’s extraordinary that ten of the last 15 players to have shared the 18 hole lead have ended the week outside the top 20.

 

Focus on – Graeme McDowell

A smart start for the 2015 champion at this course, with a 5-under-par 66. It remains somewhat remarkable that the Northern Irishman has a distinctly clear trend in wins on the PGA Tour. His first was the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach – windy and by the sea. He added a victory in the 2013 Heritage at Harbour Town, also windy and by the sea. Ditto his win here four years ago. And it was case of repeat when he won in the Dominican Republic in March.

 

Focus on – Abraham Ancer

The Mexican went bogey-free in round one to match McDowell’s 66 and whilst that leaves him in a great position, it also asks a question of him: Can he maintain the pace? Because this is the fifth time he has played the tournament and, whilst in 2017 he got off to a poor start and finished like a train for T9, in 2016 and 2018 he painted excellent first rounds only to travel in the opposite direction to 2017. He shot 65s in both of those years for early top five positions but ended both weeks outside the top 20.

 

Focus on – Charley Hoffman

Tough times for the 2014 winner here. His opening circuit of 73 leaves him well outside the top 100 and struggling to make the cut. He was T2 in April’s Texas Open, but since then he has landed just one individual top 20 in 15 starts since – and 11 times he was outside the top 40.

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