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The PGA Tour is in Playa del Carmen, Mexico this week for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Tony Finau, Jason Day, and defending champion Matt Kuchar headline a 132-man field set to take on El Camaleon Golf Club in the second-last official PGA Tour stop of 2019.
2018: Matt Kuchar (-22)
2017: Patton Kizzire (-19)
2016: Pat Perez (-21)
2015: Graeme McDowell (-18)
2014: Charley Hoffman (-17)
2013: Harris English (-21)
Here are the favorites, along with their best finishes at El Camaleon:
|Player||Odds||Best Mayakoba finish|
|Matt Kuchar||18-1||1st (2018)|
|Jason Day||18-1||T-28 (2009)|
|Tony Finau||18-1||T-7 (2014)|
|Viktor Hovland||18-1||T-7 (2016)|
|Billy Horschel||22-1||T-13 (2011)|
|Joaquin Niemann||22-1||T-31 (2016)|
|Abraham Ancer||25-1||T-9 (2017)|
|Charles Howell III||28-1||T-4 (2017)|
|Russell Knox||28-1||T-2 (2015)|
Kuchar, Day, Finau, and Viktor Hovland are all co-favorites this week at 18-1, a testament to the narrative that truly anyone can win the Mayakoba. Oddsmakers' inability to determine a legitimate favorite fails to create value for any of the top guys, making this range one to avoid.
At very short numbers, Billy Horschel (22-1), Joaquin Niemann (22-1), and Abraham Ancer (25-1) should also be passed over. Each player has a top-12 finish within his last two starts and could very well win this week, but there's little value betting them compared to other names lower on the board.
Russell Knox (28-1) is by far the most interesting player under 30-1. He's finished inside the top 10 in each of his previous three starts at El Camaleon, including a playoff loss in 2015. He finished T11 in his last event at the Bermuda Championship hosted at a similar seaside course.
There's drastically more value to be found beyond the favorites. In this wide-open tournament, the tight talent gap between players priced at 28-1 and players priced at 50-1 makes it tough to justify betting names near the top of the board.
Scottie Scheffler and Aaron Wise are both 33-1 and shared third place at the Bermuda Championship two weeks ago. The concern with these two young stars is that their biggest weapons, their drivers, will be neutralized on the short El Camaleon.
Kevin Kisner (40-1), Chez Reavie (40-1), Harris English (50-1), and Rory Sabbatini (50-1) all fit the bill of the prototypical Mayakoba winner. These veterans rely on accuracy rather than distance off the tee and possess solid iron games. Each one also has impressive history at the Sony Open, making them all intriguing options at juicy numbers.
There are plenty of long shots worth considering this week, but don't get carried away chasing triple-digit odds. Only one of the last six winners at Mayakoba was listed greater than 60-1: Pat Perez at 125-1 in 2016.
Gay won the 2008 Mayakoba Golf Classic and consistently plays well at short courses, especially those along the coastline. McDowell took home the 2015 edition of the Mayakoba and earned a title in Punta Cana last season, another coastal venue in the Caribbean. Piercy finished top-six in each of his last two outings at El Camaleon and is a former runner-up at the Sony Open.
Charley Hoffman (100-1) and Patton Kizzire (125-1) are former winners of this event at giant numbers. Keith Mitchell (125-1) and Mackenzie Hughes (200-1), meanwhile, have both won on the PGA Tour and enjoyed great results on courses bordering the ocean.
Russell Knox (28-1)
If Knox is going to collect his first PGA Tour win since 2016, he's going to do it at El Camaleon. He's come close his last three trips to Mayakoba, claiming two top-three results. His T9 in 2018 followed terrible lead-in form, which isn't the case this year.
The Scotsman has gained strokes through approach shots in 13 of his last 15 events where that data was collected and had a T11 result in Bermuda at his most recent tournament.
Kevin Kisner (40-1)
Kisner's price is way too valuable to pass up. He's proven his ability to win on the PGA Tour in the past, and all three of his victories came on shorter courses where accuracy was a premium. The American has also finished inside the top five twice at the Sony Open.
Passed over by Tiger Woods for one of the four Presidents Cup captain's picks, Kisner should be highly motivated to perform this week - not only to prove the American captain made a mistake, but to show he's ready to represent the red, white, and blue should Brooks Koepka be unable to compete in Australia.
Harris English (50-1)
A former winner who enters the week in good form is an easy bet at 50-1. In four starts this season, English has three top-six results while gaining a bunch of strokes both off the tee and with his irons. His two top-five showings at the Sony Open are also encouraging signs that the 30-year-old is primed for another win at El Camaleon.