Steve Bamford's Mayakoba Golf Classic Tips
Mayakoba Golf Classic Tips
You have to say that the Mayakoba Classic is a secondary event on the PGA Tour but all the same it offers a great chance to make some real profit. Expect the unexpected! Played at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico, the Greg Norman designed course is a real brute. On the Mexican coast, it's hit by all the elements you’d expect especially wind. It’s a strict Par 70 and ranked as the 14th toughest course on Tour in 2009, so this won’t be a Mexican holiday for the players.
Considering the best players in the world (bar Woods and Lefty!) are in Arizona, the field is interesting although lacking in any real depth. Choi, Howell III, Slocum, Stadler, Weekley, Merrick, Duval, Elkington, Pettersson, Appleby and Jerry Kelly are all playing allied to guest European adventurers Nick Dougherty, Pablo Martin and Thomas Levet. Accuracy, patience and strong wind play are paramount to victory. Course experience is a real benefit as the course is formed of seashore paspalum, only played on here in Mexico and in Puerto Rico. If you don’t hit the fairway you are in serious trouble round here. So tee to green allied to a strong GIR% and closeness to pins are key.
I’m going for a mix of talent who all have experience of El Camaleon, coupled with decent records on tough courses:
I’m going to shock you! The player who finished 6th in the Masters and 10th in the PGA Championship last year IS NOT playing at the WGC Matchplay. Indeed John Merrick is a true enigma. The 4th season professional from California has ‘all’ the game but saves it for the toughest of tests. That’s why I think he’ll thrive in Mexico this week and like Brian Gay in 2008, he could score his first PGA Tour event win this week. 3rd here in 09 backed up with 6th and 13th finishes in Puerto Rico highlight his liking for this format.
I thought long and hard before staking any cash on perennial under-achiever Baird. However his game fits tough, tight coastal courses perfectly and his high position in this week’s Mayakoba Predictor model simply can’t be ignored. His knees start knocking once in contention, but as Brian Gay did here in 2008, these secondary events are often the breakthrough event for perennial ‘chokers.’ A prime example of this being Bo Van Pelt’s victory at Milwaukee last year when the Open Championship was taking the spotlight. Take a quick look at Briny’s record and Top 10 & 20 finishes at tough coastal tracks like Harbour Links, Waialee & Innisbrook jump out of the page.
The Texan might not appear in the Predictor model this week, but I’m chilli hot on Hayes this week. A brilliant 5th place last week at Pebble Beach was a superb performance. However it’s the way he plays the game that really appeals to me. Growing up and being based in Texas makes him a superb wind player. He ranks 10th in driving accuracy so far this season, combined with 4th in putting. But two KEY skills here will be 3 putt avoidance and scrambling from rough. J.P. ranks in the Top 5 for each discipline.
‘Horses for courses’ is a phrase that can be used across a multitude of sports not just the sport of kings. Tim Wilkinson is a player who comes alive on tough, windswept courses. Here’s hoping for blowy conditions! The Arizona based New Zealander is in his 3rd season on the PGA Tour although he has never gained a full card. Consistency is not a word associated with Wilkinson, BUT there is no doubt he comes alive with the smell of sea salt in his nostrils. 3 T10 finishes near the coast plus a superb 2nd behind Zach Johnson at the tight and wind affected Texas Open in 08 highlight that he can be a real factor this week.
I’m sorry - obvious but I just had too! The Mayakoba Predictor model No 1 pick and the defending champion. With Ogilvy and Dustin Johnson defending their respective SBS and AT&T Pebble titles so far in 2010, I’m thinking that Wilson has both the game and the form to do exactly the same in Mexico this week.
All odds and bookmaker offers correct at 19:30GMT 16.2.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Check out Paul Williams' tips for the WGC Accenture Match Play here - starts Wednesday so be quick!