Steve Bamford Golf Tips

Steve Bamford's Corales Championship Tips 2020

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Congratulations to all Bryson DeChambeau backers at up to 25/1. Let’s be frank, he dominated both Winged Foot and the U.S. Open field with his buccaneering driving and amazing tee-to-green performance. Everything was razor-sharp and he landed his first Major Championship in confident manner. With his poor play in the immediate build-up I never got close to Bryson, but his record in the north-east of the United Stated and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix greens is stellar. I pretty much covered the week with Xander Schauffele at 16/1 each-way, but for the second week running had a 36-hole leader who failed to convert.

This week we move from New York to the Dominican Republic. This is the third ever Corales Championship on the PGA Tour, with Brice Garnett and Graeme McDowell taking the first two renewals. The PGA Tour has signed a 4-year contract with Grupo Puntacana, the owner of the Puntacana Resort & Club, which will see this tournament on the schedule through this 2020/21 season. And that throws up the very strange situation where the Corales will be played both this week and in March 2021, so twice in a single season.

This week’s tournament is a full PGA Tour event offering up 500 FedEx Cup points, a full 2-year exemption and a $4 million prize fund. Whereas next March’s running will revert to an alternate position alongside the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. That’s as clear as my understanding!

Before we talk the Corales Championship, the number of new visitors to Golf Betting System is increasing by the week, with The Masters the small matter of 7 weeks away. Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published Tuesday) the Golf Betting Show on YouTube and our hugely popular private group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: We’re starting to get accustomed with the Corales Golf Club which has played host to a couple of Korn Ferry events and 2 PGA Tour events. Set by the coast, it plays to a long 7,668 yards and is a Par 72, but with temperatures pushing 30 degrees Celsius each day, the ball travels a mile in these parts. As part of the Puntacana Resort, the course is not the most difficult even at web.com Tour level, so expect plenty of attacking play this week. The inland front-9 is where the heavy scoring happens, with the back-9 featuring plenty of coast-lined holes and some longer par-3s, par-4s and par-5s.

Corales Golf Club, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Designer: Tom Fazio 2010; Course Type: Resort, Coastal; Par: 72; Length: 7,668 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 4; Fairways: Supreme Paspalum; Rough: Supreme Paspalum 2″; Greens: Supreme Paspalum; Tournament Stimp: 11ft; web.com Course Scoring Average 2016: 69.67 (-2.33), Difficulty Rank 25 of 26 courses. 2017: 70.34 (-1.66), Difficulty Rank 22 of 28 courses. PGA Tour Scoring Average 2018: 71.50 (-0.50), Difficulty Rank 26 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.07 (-0.93), Difficulty Rank 30 of 49 courses.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes, other Tom Fazio designs include:

  • Atunyote GC – Turning Stone Championship 2007-10
  • Conway Farms GC – BMW Championship 2013, 2015, 2017.
  • Eagle Point – Wells Fargo Championship 2017
  • Raptor Course Greyhawk GC – Fry’s.com Open 2008/09

Fazio has also had re-design input into:

  • Riviera Country Club – Genesis Invitational.
  • Quail Hollow – Wells Fargo Championship to 2016, 2018, 2019 & 2017 PGA Championship.
  • Merion – 2013 U.S. Open.
  • Oakmont – 2016 U.S. Open.
  • Seaside Course at Sea Island – RSM Classic.

Course Overview: The Corales course opened in 2010 and is a Tom Fazio design. A little like El Camaleon which hosts the Mayakoba Golf Classic in the autumn, the Corales is split between inland and coastal sections. Away from the shore, the course features a number of water hazards and fairways marked with coconut trees, but in the main the inland section is more than scoreable.

6 holes play along the coast, including the home stretch across holes 16 to 18, known as the Devil’s Elbow. From a grass perspective this week, we’re dealing with Paspalum greens, so for PGA Tour stop-offs think again about El Camaleon, Coco Beach G&CC host of the Puerto Rico Open and TPC Kuala Lumpur which had Paspalum green complexes for CIMB Classics between 2013 – 2017.

As part of the Corales Puntacana Resort complex, the course is clearly designed around the needs of amateur golfers, so this isn’t intrinsically a hard test. The outbound set of 9 holes is where some serious scoring is essential. With the longest par-4 measuring 465 yards and 2 par-5s which only measure 563 yards (4th) and 515 yards (7th), the front side of the golf course is there for the taking. Indeed it has averaged 1.50 (2016), 1.66 (2017), 1.09 (2018) and 1.07 (2019) shots below par across the 2 web.com renewals and 2 PGA Tour tournaments hosted here. The inward-9 is more stringent with both par-5s playing over 600 yards and the closing Devil’s Elbow putting up far sterner resistance. 2018 saw the back-nine play 0.59 over par, with 2019 at 0.15 over par.

As with all coastal golf, winning scores tend to be dictated by wind. Korn Ferry Tour renewals here were won by Dominic Bozzelli (2016) at -20/268 and Nate Lashley (2017) at -24/264. Tough weekend 15-25 mph winds in 2018 took their toll on scoring with -18/270 being Garnett’s winning total and he won by a chunky 4 shots. 2019 saw Graeme McDowell again win at -18/270, with 15-20 mph winds on Thursday and light winds from that point onwards.

The par-3, par-4, par-5 splits over the 4 renewals have been -2 -9 -13 for Bozzelli, -5 -8 -7 for Lashley, -4 -4 -10 for Garnett and -2 -6 -10 for G-Mac. Undoubtedly the 16 looks at the longest holes tends to be the key here.

corales championship tips

Winners: 2019: Graeme McDowell (-18); 2018: Brice Garnett (-18). web.com Winners: 2017: Nate Lashley (-20); 2016: Dominic Bozzelli (-24).

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Pat Perez, Brian Stuard, Patton Kizzire, Graeme McDowell, Mackenzie Hughes, Wes Roach, Charles Howell III, Brice Garnett, Vaughn Taylor and Chris Stroud.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the WGC-St Jude Invitational, Barracuda Championship and Hero Open, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) Corey Conners; 2) Brian Stuard; 3) Henrik Norlander; 4) Henrik Stenson; 5) Johnson Wagner; 6) Ryan Armour; 7) Bo Hoag; 8) Denny McCarthy; 9) Kyle Stanley; 10) Bronson Burgoon / Wes Roach; 12) Chris Baker / David Hearn; 14) Sam Ryder; 15) Doug Ghim; 16) Will Gordon; 17) Michael Gellerman; 18) Emiliano Grillo / J.J. Spaun; 20) Anirban Lahiri / Rob Oppenheim.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) J.J. Spaun; 2) Emiliano Grillo; 3) Bo Hoag; 4) Chris Baker; 5) Thomas Detry; 6) Rob Oppenheim; 7) Doug Ghim / Kyle Stanley / Henrik Stenson; 10) Will Gordon; 11) Corey Conners / Kristoffer Ventura; 13) Arjun Atwal / Charley Hoffman / Pat Perez; 16) Mark Anderson / Luke List / Keith Mitchell; 19) Mackenzie Hughes; 20) Josh Teater.
  • Scrambling: 1) Mark Anderson; 2) Anirban Lahiri; 3) Chris Baker; 4) David Hearn; 5) Bronson Burgoon; 6) Ben Martin / Mattias Schwab; 8) Rob Oppenheim / Tim Wilkinson; 10) Adam Schenk; 11) Michael Gligic / Peter Malnati; 13) Ryan Blaum / Brian Stuard / Zack Sucher; 16) Thomas Detry / Adam Long; 18) Mackenzie Hughes; 19) Kurt Kitayama; 20) Doug Ghim / Fabian Gomez.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) Peter Malnati / Grayson Murray; 3) Mackenzie Hughes; 4) Ricky Barnes; 5) Beau Hossler; 6) Kristoffer Ventura; 7) Ryan Brehm / Sam Burns / Cameron Percy; 10) Vincent Whaley; 11) Thomas Detry; 12) Rob Oppenheim; 13) Adam Long; 14) K.H. Lee; 15) Charley Hoffman; 16) Will Gordon; 17) Aaron Baddeley / Peter Uihlein; 19) Branden Grace; 20) Nelson Ledesma / Pat Perez / Roger Sloan.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 20 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the WGC-St Jude Invitational, Barracuda Championship and Hero Open, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Will Gordon; 2) Vincent Whaley; 3) Ryan Brehm / Sam Burns; 5) Emiliano Grillo; 6) Kristoffer Ventura; 7) Corey Conners; 8) Keith Mitchell; 9) Luke List; 10) Michael Gligic; 11) Kurt Kitayama; 12) Beau Hossler; 13) Chris Baker; 14) J.J. Spaun; 15) Thomas Detry; 16) Brandon Hagy; 17) Bronson Burgoon; 18) Patrick Rodgers / Jhonattan Vegas; 20) Josh Teater; 21) Anirban Lahiri; 22) Scott Brown; 23) Bill Haas; 24) Bo Hoag / Denny McCarthy.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Emiliano Grillo; 2) Chris Baker; 3) Doug Ghim; 4) Rob Oppenheim; 5) Nelson Ledesma / J.J. Spaun; 7) Patton Kizzire / Josh Teater; 9) Corey Conners / Charley Hoffman / Denny McCarthy; 12) Henrik Stenson; 13) Luke List; 14) Adam Long; 15) Brian Stuard; 16) Mark Anderson / Mackenzie Hughes / Grayson Murray; 19) Hank Lebioda / Henrik Norlander; 21) Adam Schenk; 22) Sam Burns / Matthew NeSmith; 24) Thomas Detry; 25) Zac Blair / Cameron Percy.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Rhein Gibson; 2) Brandon Hagy; 3) Michael Gligic; 4) Doug Ghim; 5) Charles Howell III; 6) Hank Lebioda; 7) Mackenzie Hughes; 8) Bo Hoag; 9) Seamus Power; 10) J.J. Spaun / D.J. Trahan; 12) Adam Long; 13) Peter Malnati; 14) Tim Wilkinson; 15) K.H. Lee / Wes Roach; 17) Kyle Stanley; 18) Joseph Bramlett; 19) Fabian Gomez / Adam Schenk; 21) Beau Hossler / Anirban Lahiri; 23) Kiradech Aphibarnrat; 24) Roger Sloan; 25) David Hearn.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) J.J. Spaun; 2) Doug Ghim; 3) Emiliano Grillo; 4) Kristoffer Ventura; 5) Josh Teater; 6) Chris Baker; 7) Sam Burns / Rob Oppenheim; 9) Luke List; 10) Corey Conners / Thomas Detry; 12) Kyle Stanley; 13) Michael Gligic; 14) Nelson Ledesma; 15) Adam Long; 16) Mark Anderson; 17) Adam Schenk; 18) Keith Mitchell; 19) Hank Lebioda; 20) Will Gordon; 21) Mackenzie Hughes; 22) Denny McCarthy; 23) Anirban Lahiri / Matthew NeSmith; 25) Wes Roach / Roger Sloan.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Peter Malnati; 2) Vincent Whaley; 3) Beau Hossler / Mackenzie Hughes; 5) David Hearn; 6) Rob Oppenheim; 7) D.J. Trahan; 8) Thomas Detry; 9) Cameron Percy; 10) Brice Garnett / Patton Kizzire; 12) Patrick Rodgers; 13) Sam Burns; 14) Charles Howell III; 15) Adam Long / Pat Perez  / Sepp Straka; 18) Denny McCarthy; 19) Kristoffer Ventura; 20) Matt Jones; 21) Bronson Burgoon / Grayson Murray / Peter Uihlein / Xinjun Zhang; 25) Brian Stuard.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Kristoffer Ventura; 2) Rob Oppenheim; 3) Vincent Whaley; 4) Thomas Detry; 5) Mackenzie Hughes; 6) Chris Baker / Sam Burns; 8) Doug Ghim; 9) Adam Long; 10) Nelson Ledesma / Roger Sloan; 12) Beau Hossler / Michael Gligic / Peter Malnati; 15) J.J. Spaun; 16) Pat Perez; 17) Denny McCarthy; 18) Ryan Brehm; 19) Kyle Stanley; 20) Corey Conners; 21) Emiliano Grillo / Hank Lebioda; 23) David Hearn; 24) Bo Hoag / Adam Schenk / Brian Stuard.

Winners & Prices: 2019: McDowell 40/1; 2018: Garnett 66/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2019: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 85. Wind SSE 8-14 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Friday: Cloudy with isolated showers. High of 85. Wind SE 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 83. Wind NE 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 83. Wind NE 7-14 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Partly cloudy and humid with a high of 84. Wind ESE 8-14 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy and humid with a high of 84. Wind ESE 8-14 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a high of 83. Wind NE wind 15-20. Sunday: Cloudy with scattered showers. High of 82. Wind NE 15-20 mph, with gusts of 25 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Light rain shower early AM. Dry rest of day. High of 85. Winds out of the E-E/SE 8-16 mph with 0.05 inches of rain. Friday: Dry. High of 85. Winds coming out of the E/SE 7-14 mph. Saturday: Dry. High of 84. Winds coming out of the E-SE 7-15 mph. Sunday: Very light rain shower AM. Dry rest of day. High of 85 with winds coming out of the ESE-SE 7-15 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Partly cloudy with a high of 85 degrees. Wind WSW 7-12 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 88 degrees. Winds SSW 7-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. Afternoon gave way to scattered showers totalling 0.25” of rainfall. High of 82. Wind SW 10-15. Sunday: Scattered showers in the morning followed by partly cloudy and breezy conditions in the afternoon. High of 80. Wind WNW 10-15.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is here. I’m expecting typical equatorial conditions with temperatures approaching 30 degrees Celsius. And with forecasted winds only in double-digits (barely) on the Friday, I’m expecting scoring to be nice and low. There has been plenty of rain in the build-up and with the possibility of showers across the tournament, I’m expecting pretty much ideal conditions for this.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of Corales GC winners since 2018 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2019, Graeme McDowell (-18). 286 yards (53rd), 73.2% fairways (31st), 72.2% greens in regulation (16th), 60.0 % scrambling (47th), 1.52 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2018, Brice Garnett (-18). 288 yards (51st), 80.4% fairways (20th), 66.7% greens in regulation (24th), 75.0 % scrambling (15th), 1.54 putts per GIR (1st).

Tournament Skill Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 52nd, Driving Accuracy: 20th, Greens in Regulation: 20th, Scrambling: 31st, Putting Average 1st.

So let’s take a view from players as to how Corales GC has played in recent years and what specific skills it requires:

Graeme McDowell: “No, I love the golf course. I think the golf course is really, really good. The front nine is kind of shortish and tricky and the back nine is actually very long. Eighteen (Devil’s Elbow) is a beautiful hole. I played it yesterday and it was kind of downwind and you’re able to bite off a lot of the corner. When I was here last year, we had more of the north wind and you had to go way left and play a long second shot in.  Made a bunch of birdies and it comes to a halt when you’ve got 5-wood into 10 and 5-wood into 11. Listen, happy with that. That was a bit more like it. But like I say, I was very clean today, hit a lot of nice shots, hit a lot of better iron shots. I feel pretty good on these greens. I’ve got a house in the Bahamas and play a lot on this Paspalum type stuff, so I kind of feel like I practice more on this type of stuff. In a funny way that kind of stands me in good stead here as well.”

Brice Garnett: “Yeah, I think last year I just kind of approached the golf course wrong. Everybody’s kind of in play off the tee box. I kind of got out of my element, out of my game. To me, this is a second-shot golf course. Everybody’s in play off the tee and it comes down to a putting competition. I would say one of my best aspects of my game is probably my tee ball. I wouldn’t say this helps me tremendously, but there’s a lot of tee balls with the wind off the right and that’s what I prefer. Today I was able to hit a lot of fairways and get good looks from there. Well, I think last year I was focused too much on bombing the driver. That’s just not my game. My game is put it in the fairway and try to take advantage from there. So this year my wedges have been great. I’ve played the par 5s great, and I’ve putted good, too. So I’ll just kind of stick more to my game plan and not let the width of the fairways or the length kind of deter me from my game.”

Keith Mitchell: “I played it two years ago and I’ve played enough on Paspalum that I know that when you’re putting on Paspalum, if there’s ever any doubt, it’s usually straighter than you think and usually hit it a little firmer than you think. But no, it was both. The wind, it all depended on where you were when the wind and the rain picked up to determine if it was – your luck on that hole. 15 was the hardest hole and we played it right into the wind..

Jonathan Byrd: ” It was a solid day. It’s kind of, it’s one of those courses that I think if you’re disciplined on your second shots, that you can have a fairly solid day because there’s plenty of room off the tee. But I really drove the ball pretty well. I didn’t feel quite as great about my swing today, I felt a little out of rhythm, but I kept hitting some pretty good tee shots. I really only hit about two bad shots today, maybe just one on a par 5 and I still made birdie. It was a clean day and I made some good putts and hit some good pitch shots on the par 5s. Yeah, I just feel I’ve got to take advantage of every day. You’ve just got to stay aggressive on this golf course. If you get a little passive, you’ll make a lot of pars, but you’ve got to be intent on making some birdies because guys are going to shoot low scores.”

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the 4 winners here at Corales:

  • 2019 – Graeme McDowell: Round 1: 81st, Round 2: 7th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Brice Garnett: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Nate Lashley: Round 1: 53rd, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2016 – Dominic Bozzelli: Round 1: 45th, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 1st.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 4 winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2019 – Graeme McDowell: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 1 ahead.
  • 2018 – Brice Garnett: Round 1: 1 ahead, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 1 ahead.
  • 2017 – Nate Lashley: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 5  back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2016 – Dominic Bozzelli: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: level.

Incoming form of winners:

  • Graeme McDowell: 46th Valspar/54th Arnold Palmer/ MDF Honda/42nd Puerto Rico.
  • Brice Garnett: 31st Valspar/MC Honda/MC Genesis/35th Pebble.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2019 – Dahmen/Dunne/Jones 1AM/2PM -6/66 40/1, 50/1, 45/1.
  • 2018 – Garnett AM -9/63 – 60/1

For the record, here’s the breakdown of Paspalum PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 2 – Graeme McDowell, Pat Perez.
  • 1 – Scott Brown, Alex Cejka, Brice Garnett, Charley Hoffman, Patton Kizzire, George McNeill, D.A. Points, Martin Trainer, Johnson Wagner.

Year 3 at Corales offers up a little more details on what we’re potentially looking for this week. Both Brice Garnett and runner-up Keith Mitchell ranked in the top 25 for par-5 Birdie or Better Conversion arriving in the Dominican Republic. That’s far too neat a trend to continue, but runner-up last year Mackenzie Hughes also ranked in the top 60 for that particular statistic. Profiting on the 16 looks at the longest holes is an excellent recipe for success around this pretty stock Par 72.

The same par-5 Birdie or Better angle cannot be said for winner Graeme McDowell, but we know with G-Mac that coastal affairs are exactly what he excels at. The 2010 U.S. Open winner at Pebble Beach, McDowell’s wins on the PGA Tour have also come at Harbour Town (2013), Mayakoba (2015) and naturally here. So all 4 victories on the coast. You can also add the 2020 Saudi International to that list played at Royal Greens G&CC. That course is played around 4 lakes, with a stretch of the course being on the Red Sea. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have also noted that McDowell’s wins in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Saudi Arabia were all on Paspalum putting surfaces.

Described as a second shot golf course, a player who can find plenty of greens consistently has to be a key element this week, so I’m using my 8-week Greens in Regulation tracker as a basis for those who are confident with their fairway metals and irons arriving at the Corales.

My selections are as follows:

Adam Long 2pts EW 25/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Adam Long seems like a good fit for the test this week. Across my 8-week Strokes Gained trackers he sits in the top 15 for Approach, Around the Green, Tee to Green, Putting and Strokes Gained Total, so his game is in good shape right now. That’s no mean feat considering that across that window he’s played in the very strongest fields with the PGA Championship, FedEx Cup Playoffs and last week’s U.S. Open all thrown-in. He’s also up 50 spots in the Official World Golf Rankings since the PGA Tour resumption. He’s made 6 consecutive cuts which includes 3rd at the 3M Open, 51st at the PGA Championship and last week’s 13th at Winged Foot, which for me was pretty impressive.

The 2019 Desert Classic champion, where he beat Phil Mickelson in a head-to-head battle, Long for me, always comes alive on non-Par 70 formats where scoring is low. So that top 15 in New York, his best ever Major finish, must boost his confidence as he arrives in the Dominican Republic.

Born and raised on the coast in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Jupiter, Florida resident will be comfortable with both the humid conditions and the agronomy this week at Corales Golf Club and that shines through with his 3rd place last year at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Another mixed mangrove and coastal set-up, Long opened with a -8/63 which got him to the front of the pack, and he went on to battle with the likes of Harris English, Carlos Ortiz, Vaughn Taylor and eventual winner Brendon Todd on the Paspalum greens at El Camaleon, eventually falling a stroke shy of a play-off. RESULT: 5th

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Pat Perez 1.5pts EW 40/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Pat Perez often comes to the party when low scoring is the order of the day and his record on the PGA Tour in late summer and autumn is excellent. Since 2012 he’s landed 9th at the 2012 CIMB Classic (October), 7th at the 2016 Shriners Open (November), 1st at the 2016 OHL Classic (November), 1st at the 2017 CIMB Classic (October), 5th at the 2017 CJ Cup (October), 7th at the 2018 CJ Cup (October), 6th at the 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic (November), 3rd at the 2019 Shriners Open (October), 8th at the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic (November) and last time out he finished 9th at the Safeway Open (September). Pretty impressive and as we know when eagles and birdies are the currency of the week, Pat tends to levitate up the leaderboard. His 3 wins on the PGA Tour have come with winning totals of -33/327 (2009 Bob Hope Classic), -21/263 (2017 CIMB Classic) and -24/264 (2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic), with his 2 latest wins coming on Paspalum putting surfaces.

You could say he’s a lover of Paspalum putting surfaces as his current form on those kinds of greens on the PGA Tour reads 33/1/1/34/6/8. 13th (2007), 16th (2013), 1st (2016), 6th (2018) and 8th (2019) at El Camaleon, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico translates brilliantly to both 2018 Corales winner Brice Garnett and 2019 Corales winner Graeme McDowell. In reality, Garnett’s top 10 finishes are a rarity anyway on the PGA Tour, but 6th (2014), 7th (2015) and 5th (2018) tells a story. G-Mac of course won at El Camaleon in 2015.

Last time out, Pat shot a -5/67 at Silverado Country Club and never looked back, contending across the whole week, eventually finishing 9th. A change in the position of his golf ball in his stance when putting led to a 7.286 Strokes Gained Putting number at the Safeway which was good enough for 2nd in the field. Marry that up with the fact that in this field he ranks 13th for Greens in Regulation, 20th for Putting Average (Putts per GIR), 15th for SG Putting and 16th for SG Total across my 8-week trackers and, all in all, Perez looks in a good spot for his Corales debut. RESULT: T21

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Kristoffer Ventura 1.5pts EW 40/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

It’s undoubtedly taken Kristoffer Ventura time to settle down on the PGA Tour. After all, here was a player who when graduating from the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour matched Scottie Scheffler, Robby Shelton and Xinjun Zhang as a 2-time winner that season. And whilst Scheffler recorded amazing results across the biggest tournaments and both Shelton and Zhang gave good accounts of themselves, both making the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Ventura in the main struggled. 18th was his best finish across his first 11 events, before a 20th on the Paspalum greens at the Puerto Rico Open broke a streak of 6 straight missed cuts and 7 missed cuts from 8 tournaments.

But since the resumption we have seen a player re-born. 4th (TPC Sawgrass), 8th (TPC San Antonio – AT&T Canyons) and 15th (Ohio State GC) on his 3 Korn Ferry appearances, Ventura, who grew up in Mexico until he was 12 before moving to Norway, has also started to deliver on the main Tour. 21st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, 19th at the Barracuda Championship and 37th at the Wyndham Championship all contained low rounds. 19th, 22nd and 18th after 54 holes across Detroit, Truckee and Sedgefield also highlighted that the 25 year-old was frequenting later groups on Sunday.

And then with the start of the new season we saw a breakthrough. Opening rounds of 69-66 saw the Oklahoma State University graduate in 12th spot after 36 holes. He pushed forward again with another -6/66 on Saturday to play in the second from last group with Cameron Percy. And whilst the Australian veteran showed his standard Sunday mettle shooting +5 in his first 6 Sunday holes, Ventura showed real presence of mind and fortitude to card a bogey free 70. In the meantime landing 7th and his first PGA Tour top 10.

But the current state of his game is best described by my 8-week skill set trackers where in this field, he ranks 11th for Greens in Regulation and 6th for Putting Average (Putts per GIR). From a Strokes Gained perspective he ranks 6th for Off the Tee, 4th for Tee to Green, 19th for Putting and 1st for Strokes Gained Total. In the top 6 for Strokes Gained Putting at the Safeway, if his tee-to-green game remains in rude health this week, he could fly in such a weak field. RESULT: T52

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J.J. Spaun 0.5pt EW 160/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

J.J. Spaun is also worth a punt this week. 1st for Greens in Regulation, 5th for SG on Approach and 1st for SG Tee to Green across my 8-week trackers, we find him at a triple-digit price. 9th at the Safeway Open last time out, Spaun has a decent enough record by the coast and likes to shoot very low totals. 9th at Torrey Pines (2017), 6th at Harbour Town (2018), 14th at El Camaleon (2017), 2nd at Sea Island (2017) and 3rd at El Camaleon (2018). J.J. has proven that he can play by the coast, very much like previous champions here in the guise of G-Mac and Garnett.

He’s also capable of putting well on Paspalum greens as 1st (2016) and 13th (2018) for Putting Average (Putts per GIR) at El Camaleon highlight nicely. And you can’t deny that Spaun has kept flashing low scores from July onwards. A -6/66 on Thursday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, a -5/67 to start at the Barracuda Championship and then a Saturday -6/66 and Sunday -4/68 last time out at the Safeway Open, to grab a backdoor top 10 finish. We’ve seen both in the Fall of 2017 and 2018 that with momentum, J.J. can put contending performances together in the weaker tournaments, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go well at Corales this week. RESULT: T56

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:35BST 21.9.20 but naturally subject to fluctuation.