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Course: El Camaleon Golf Club (Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
Yardage: 6,987 – Par 71
Purse: $7.1 M
Field: 140 players
Recent OHL Classic Winners
2012: John Huh
2013: Harris English
2014: Charley Hoffman
2015: Graeme McDowell
2016: Pat Perez
Patrick Cantlay took home his first PGA Tour victory at the age of 25 last Sunday, winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in a playoff over Alex Cejka and Whee Kim. Cantlay birdied four holes in a row on the back nine Sunday, but he didn’t make it easy on himself, bogeying the final two holes. He would need two playoff holes to separate himself from Cejka and Whee to capture his first ever title.
Cantlay is only 25 years old but six years ago people thought he’d be a tour regular with a handful of wins under his belt by now. Cantlay was the No. 1 ranked amateur golfer from March 2011 to April 2012, holding the record for most consecutive weeks at No. 1. Between the ages of 18 and 20, Cantlay would open eyes around the golf world over and over. As a freshman at UCLA, he won the Haskins and Nicklaus Awards as the best player in college golf. In 2011 at age 19, he finished 21st in the U.S Open, then he followed that up by shooting 60 at the Travelers Championship. It was obvious Cantlay was cut out for superstardom. Unfortunately, things got harder before they got easier for Cantlay. The death of his caddie and best friend in 2016, and a stress fracture in his L5 vertebrae in 2013, derailed his career for three years. Before the start of the 2017 season, Cantlay hadn’t played a professional event since November 2014. It’s been a tough road, but he’s shown that the talent is still there, and with his back finally healthy, he could be poised for a true breakout year.
This week, the boys will head down across the border to Mexico for the OHL Classic. Held at El Camaleon Golf Club, Rickie Fowler will be playing in his first event of the 2017-18 season. The scorching hot Pat Perez along with Patrick Reed, Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson, Gary Woodland, and Kevin Chappell will all be there and cost a hefty chunk of salary to obtain. This is the doldrum season, there won’t be many big stars at tournaments until the Tournament of Champions in January at Kapalua. This time of the year lesser-known players should emerge and present themselves as great sleeper options for the future.
El Camaleon Golf Club is one of the only sub-7000 yard courses that you’ll see on the PGA Tour schedule. Measuring out to 6,987 yards and playing at a par 71, length is obviously not a necessity this week. With this course being shorter El Camaleon’s challenge comes from its tight layout. The fairways are narrow, but aside from that the hazardous areas that come into play are very close to the fairways. That means both driving accuracy and good drive % are both important this week. If the player doesn’t hit a ton of fairways, it is important that they at least keep their ball in playable attackable positions, and that is what good drive % measures. With many players hitting irons and fairway woods off the tees, a good range of shots should be in the 150-175 range. Approach proximity from 150-175 yards will prove key this week. Finally, players will need to keep racking up birdies all week to stay in contention. Over the last four years, the average winning score at El Camaleon has been 19-under par, so players who rank highly in birdie or better % will need to have that skill on display.
Rickie Fowler ($11,800) — Rickie is teeing it up for the first time in the 2017-18 golf season, so he hasn’t played since the President’s Cup at Liberty. In this type of a field there is no one who can even compare to Rickie’s talent. The second and third highest priced players are Pat Perez and Patrick Reed. While both are nice players, they are no match for Rickie’s talent. I’d rather spend up to get Rickie than take my chances with someone else leading the team.
Zach Johnson ($9,100) — Zach Johnson had a solid outing a few weeks ago at the Safeway Open finishing T13. This short track should fit nicely as Zach is one of the shorter hitting pro golfers. Johnson ranks in the top 15 on tour in approach proximity from 150-175. Zach Johnson had one of his quietest years since prior to his breakout Masters victory in 2007. At age 41 he shouldn’t be past his prime yet, especially considering how his game is so predicated on the short game. If Zach can have a bounceback season he’ll be underpriced for a handful of weeks.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,600) — The 25-year-old Argentinian may not be living up to his lofty expectations yet, but he can play out there with the best of them. Grillo has made all three cuts this season, and ranks amongst the top in good drive percentage. He’s above average in approach proximity from 150-175 yards, and had a nice finish here last year, finishing in tenth place at the 2016 OHL Classic.
Nick Taylor ($7,400) — Nick Taylor was one of my favorite low-priced picks last season, and he’s proving yet again that he can be a valuable pick in daily fantasy this season. He’s made all four cuts this season with his worst finish T32. The Canadian southpaw is a jack of all trades ranking above average in birdies, good drive % and approach from 150-175. He’s been one of the safest low-mid 7K range players for the past 12 months.
J.J. Spaun ($7,100) — J.J Spaun was at or near the top for about 70 holes last week. He had a disastrous finish going double bogey, double bogey on the final two holes. Aside from perhaps some nerves getting in his way, his swing looked great all week leading the field in strokes gained approach, and he also hit the fourth most greens. He currently ranks in the Top 20 in approach proximity from 150-175 yards, and he’s been solid off the tee as well.
Camillo Villegas ($6,900) — At this price, they are all risky picks, but Villegas gives you some upside with a decent chance to finish inside the Top 25. He finished T28 here last year, and he’s been playing some decent golf making all four cuts this season with on Top 25 finish at the CIMB Classic.
Sleepers to consider: Peter Malnati, Patton Kizzire, Kevin Streelman
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