Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Corales Championship Tips 2022

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Well done to those of you on Sam Burns last week at a Monday best price of 25/1 (bet365). As a result of his 3rd win in less than 12 months, Burns breaks into the world’s top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, replacing Dustin Johnson. We landed a full each-way return on Matt Fitzpatrick at 28/1.

It’s easy to overlook these ‘second division’ alternate PGA Tour tournaments and focus on the main event which this week is the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. However these alternate events are a massive opportunity for both players and punters alike.

This week we move from Florida to the Dominican Republic. This is the fifth Corales Championship on the PGA Tour, with Brice Garnett, Graeme McDowell, Hudson Swafford and Joel Dahmen taking the first four 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 2024/25 season. This week’s tournament is a part PGA Tour event offering up 300 FedEx Cup points, a full 2-year exemption and an increased $3.7 million prize fund.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Corales Championship, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System, Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,000 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: We’re pretty much accustomed with the Corales Golf Club, which has played host to a couple of Korn Ferry events and now 4 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, so expect plenty of attacking play this week, as long as the wind allows. 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: 7,670 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 6; Fairways: Supreme Paspalum; Rough: Supreme Paspalum 1.75-2″; Greens: 6,000 sq.ft average featuring Supreme Paspalum; Tournament Stimp: 11ft; 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. 2020: 71.12 (-0.88) Rank 30 of 51 courses. 2021: 72.48 (+0.48), Rank 14 of 51 courses.

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

  • Atunyote GC – Turning Stone Championship 2007-10.
  • Caves Valley GC – BMW Championship 2021.
  • Congaree GC – Palmetto Championship 2021.
  • Conway Farms GC – BMW Championship 2013, 2015, 2017.
  • Eagle Point – Wells Fargo Championship 2017.
  • Raptor Course Greyhawk GC – Fry’ Open 2008/09.
  • Shadow Creek GC – CJ Cup 2020.
  • The Summit Club – CJ Cup 2021.

Fazio has also had re-design input into:

  • Quail Hollow – Wells Fargo Championship 2016, 2018, 2019 & 2017 PGA Championship.
  • Merion – 2013 U.S. Open.
  • Oakmont – 2016 U.S. Open.
  • Riviera Country Club – Genesis Invitational.
  • 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 are dealing with Paspalum greens, so for PGA Tour stop-offs think again about El Camaleon, Grand Reserve Country Club 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 1.09 (2018), 1.07 (2019), 0.95 (2020) and 0.66 (2021) shots below par across the 4 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, 2020 at 0.07 and 2021 at 0.68 over par.

As with all coastal golf, winning scores tend to be dictated by wind. Korn Ferry 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. 2020 saw Hudson Swafford win by a single shot from Tyler McCumber at -18/270, in a week when the wind never gusted over 16mph.

2021 was a far tougher affair with winds gusting to 22mph on Thursday and 26mph across the closing 54 holes. Joel Dahmen took the title at -12/276.

The par-3, par-4, par-5 splits over the 6 renewals held here (including Korn Ferry) have been -2 -9 -13 for Bozzelli, -5 -8 -7 for Lashley, -4 -4 -10 for Garnett, -2 -6 -10 for G-Mac -2 -4 -12 for Swafford and +1, -3, -10 for Dahmen. Undoubtedly the 16 looks at the longest holes tends to be the key here.

corales championship tips

Winners: 2021: Joel Dahmen (-12); 2020: Hudson Swafford (-18); 2019: Graeme McDowell (-18); 2018: Brice Garnett (-18).

Cut Line: 2021: +3; 2020: -3; 2019: -2; 2018: -1.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2021: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -7; Round 3 -10; Round 4 -12.
  • 2020: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -12; Round 3 -17; Round 4 -18.
  • 2019: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -15; Round 4 -18.
  • 2018: Round 1 -9; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -16; Round 4 -18.

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 Graeme McDowell, Joel Dahmen, Hudson Swafford, Emiliano Grillo, Brice Garnett, Jhonattan Vegas, Tyler Duncan, Nate Lashley, Kelly Kraft and Ryan Armour.

Tournament Winners & Prices: 2021: Dahmen 50/1; 2020: Swafford 200/1; 2019: McDowell 40/1; 2018: Garnett 66/1.  Overall Average: 89/1.

For a full summary of winner’s odds on the PGA Tour since 2010 click here.

Historical Weather:

  • 2021: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 84. Wind ENE 14-18 mph, gusting to 22 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 85. Wind ENE 15-25 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 85. Wind ENE 16-26 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy, showers possible. High of 86. Wind ENE 16-26 mph.
  • 2020: Thursday: Partly cloudy, with occasional showers. High of 91. Wind ESE at 6-12 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 91. Wind ENE at 6-12 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 91. Wind ENE at 6-12 mph, gusting to 16 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 91. Wind NE at 8-12 mph, gusting to 16 mph
  • 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.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is here.

I’m expecting typical equatorial conditions with temperatures approaching 28 degrees Celsius, and with forecasted winds only in double-digits (barely) on the Thursday, I’m expecting scoring to be nice and low. There has been enough rain in the build-up, so I’m expecting pretty much ideal conditions for this.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Farmers Insurance Open / Dubai Desert Classic which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events. Players’ rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Ryan Armour; 2) Scott Brown; 3) Hayden Buckley; 4) Rasmus Hojgaard / Rick Lamb; 6) Alex Smalley; 7) Trey Mullinax; 8) Jhonattan Vegas; 9) Seth Reeves; 10) Austin Smotherman; 11) Joel Dahmen / Curtis Thompson; 13) Nick Hardy; 14) Nicolai Hojgaard; 15) Nate Lashley; 16) Emiliano Grillo; 17) Tyler Duncan; 18) Chase Seiffert / Sahith Theegala; 20) Wyndham Clark; 21) Thomas Detry; 22) Austin Cook / Kramer Hickok / Hudson Swafford; 25) Paul Barjon / Jim Knous / Dawie van der Walt.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) D.J. Trahan; 2) Robert Garrigus; 3) Austin Smotherman; 4) Victor Perez; 5) Bo Van Pelt; 6) Rasmus Hojgaard; 7) Kevin Chappell; 8) Thomas Detry / Rick Lamb / Jhonattan Vegas; 11) Nick Taylor; 12) Doc Redman; 13) Martin Kaymer; 14) Matthias Schwab; 15) Wesley Bryan / Tyler Duncan / Graeme McDowell; 18) Adam Svensson; 19) Chase Seiffert; 20) Nicolai Hojgaard / Aaron Rai; 22) Aaron Baddeley / Nate Lashley; 24) Mark Hubbard / Ted Potter Jnr.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Bo Van Pelt; 2) Fabian Gomez; 3) Scott Brown; 4) Ricky Barnes; 5) Robert Garrigus; 6) Matthias Schwab; 7) Victor Perez; 8) Sean O’Hair; 9) Rasmus Hojgaard; 10) Brian Stuard; 11) Brett Drewitt / David Hearn; 13) Bill Haas; 14) Danny Willett; 15) Jonathan Byrd / Peter Uihlein; 17) Nate Lashley; 18) Tyler Duncan; 19) Stephan Jaeger; 20) Brice Garnett / John Huh; 22) Aaron Baddeley / Vaughn Taylor; 24) Thomas Detry; 25) Mark Hubbard.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Bo Van Pelt; 2) D.J. Trahan; 3) Rasmus Hojgaard; 4) Robert Garrigus; 5) Scott Brown; 6) Tyler Duncan / Matthias Schwab; 8) Austin Smotherman; 9) Victor Perez; 10) Nate Lashley; 11) Thomas Detry / Danny Willett; 13) Nick Taylor; 14) Rick Lamb; 15) Nicolai Hojgaard / Mark Hubbard / Sahith Theegala; 18) Ricky Barnes / Jhonattan Vegas; 20) Adam Svensson; 21) Jonathan Byrd / Aaron Rai; 23) Brian Stuard; 24) Brett Drewitt / David Hearn.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) John Huh; 2) Rick Lamb; 3) Graeme McDowell; 4) Dylan Wu; 5) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Jim Knous / Jhonattan Vegas; 8) Bill Haas / Chase Seiffert / Austin Smotherman; 11) Ryan Armour; 12) Kramer Hickok; 13) Thomas Detry; 14) Brice Garnett; 15) David Hearn; 16) Stephan Jaeger / Sean O’Hair; 18) Kelly Kraft / Patrick Rodgers; 20) Martin Trainer; 21) Max McGreevy / Matthias Schwab; 23) Aaron Rai; 24) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Jonathan Byrd.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Rick Lamb; 2) Austin Smotherman; 3) Rasmus Hojgaard; 4) Ricky Barnes / Tyler Duncan / David Hearn; 7) Jhonattan Vegas; 8) Matthias Schwab; 9) Ryan Armour; 10) Thomas Detry; 11) Bill Haas; 12) Danny Willett; 13) John Huh / Nate Lashley / Chase Seiffert; 16) Brice Garnett; 17) Rafa Cabrera Bello; 18) Aaron Rai; 19) Mark Hubbard; 20) Jonathan Byrd / Bo Van Pelt; 22) Nick Taylor; 23) David Lipsky; 24) Robert Garrigus / Sean O’Hair.

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

  • 2021, Joel Dahmen (-12). 306 yards (17th), 69.6% fairways (40th), 68.1% greens in regulation (10th), 78.3 % scrambling (4th), 1.63 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2020, Hudson Swafford (-18). 303 yards (12th), 78.6% fairways (14th), 70.8% greens in regulation (25th), 71.4 % scrambling (21st), 1.65 putts per GIR (5th).
  • 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).

Traditional Skill Set Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 33rd, Driving Accuracy: 26th, Greens in Regulation: 19th, Scrambling: 22nd, Putting Average 2nd.

Let’s take a view from players as to how Corales Golf Club sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Joel Dahmen (2021): “I played here during the Korn Ferry Tour and I think I played here in 18 maybe. I played okay there as well, so I’ve had good success here. I normally typically am a pretty good ball-striker, and the wind blows so you have to hit your ball solid out here and that’s what I do. Made a couple good par saves, too.

Yeah, those last holes, those are so hard, 16, 17, 18, into the wind, long, tough. I hit 4-iron on 16, 4-iron on 17, 4-iron on 18, but I got it on the green. But I wasn’t even thinking that Rafa could tie me, I was just trying to figure out how to two-putt somehow. He hit a great shot in there and somehow his putt missed, I don’t know how that one missed, but those things happen when you win. I’ve been close a couple times, but the breaks didn’t quite go my way and today they definitely went my way for sure.”

Hudson Swafford (2020): “I came here two years ago and I actually, I missed the cut but I liked the golf course. It really, really sets up good for me. I was kind of not in a good place when I came here last year, struggling with my game. Got to be a great mid to long iron player here with the par 3s and a lot of long par 4s, so I thought the golf course set up great for me. Yeah, I had been playing good. I wasn’t going to miss it.”

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 winners of the Corales Championship since 2018:

  • 2021 – Joel Dahmen: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2020 – Hudson Swafford: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2019 – Graeme McDowell: Round 1: 81st, Round 2: 7th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Brice Garnett: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.

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

  • 2021 – Joel Dahmen: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2020 – Hudson Swafford: Round 1: level, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 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.

Form of Corales Championship winners since 2018:

  • Joel Dahmen: MC Players/MC Arnold Palmer/MC Genesis/60th Pebble.
  • Hudson Swafford: 56th Fortinet/MC Lincoln Land/MC 3M Open/MC Workday.
  • 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 since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2021 – Jaeger AM -6/66 66/1.
  • 2020 – Harrington/McCumber/Straka/Swafford 1AM/3PM -7/65 110/1, 150/1, 50/1, 110/1.
  • 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.
  • 1 – Scott Brown, Joel Dahmen, Brice Garnett, Chesson Hadley, John Huh, D.A. Points, Hudson Swafford, Martin Trainer.

Renewal number 5 at Corales offers up a little more detail on what we’re potentially looking for this week. Brice Garnett can only be described as a Paspalum and tropics specialist on the basis that prior to his win here in 2018 he had finished 6th (2014) and 7th (2015) at El Camaleon – host course of the Mayakoba Classic. You also remember a few weeks ago Brice finishing 7th at Grand Reserve – host course of the Puerto Rico Open; that followed up a 5th in Puerto Rico in 2021. A clear coastal specialist, Garnett in an understated PGA Tour career had also finished in the top 20 across Pebble Beach and Harbour Town, prior to winning this off of a 31st place finish at Copperhead.

2019 saw veteran Graeme McDowell take his 4th PGA Tour title. Now 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.

2020 saw Hudson Swafford win the Corales in September. You’ll have done well to dig him out at 200/1. Injury had ravaged his 2020 with far more MCs than pay cheques, but he arrived in the Dominican Republic off 56th at Silverado. A winner on the Bermudagrass greens of PGA West in 2017, Swafford’s coastal highlights on the PGA Tour had been exclusively at Waialae Country Club where he had finished 8th (2014), 9th (2016) and 3rd (2019). Prior to winning this, 11 appearances on Paspalum golf courses on the PGA Tour had heralded no better finish than 24th at the 2015 CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur and Swafford’s previous visit to Corales Golf Club had resulted in a MC.

And onto 2021 where Joel Dahmen won his maiden PGA Tour title on his 111th PGA Tour start at 50/1. 6 missed cuts in 7 2021 outings was hardly compelling, but what Joel lacked in current form he made up for in course form. 11th (3rd after 36 holes), 13th and 12th (7th after 36 holes) on his 3 goes here at Corales was pretty stellar, plus he had also finished 6th at Mayakoba in 2019, which we know is a coastal, Paspalum-grassed affair.

Described as a second shot golf course, a player who can find plenty of greens consistently has to be a key element this week. Ultimately though it’s a hot putter on these Paspalum greens who wins the coveted 2-year PGA Tour exemption.

My selections are as follows:

Jhonattan Vegas 2pts EW 16/1 (6EW, 1/5) with William Hill

In President’s Cup year. I like Jhonattan Vegas here at Corales and we know with the Venezuelan that he takes these alternate events as a real opportunity – fact is he always has done. 19th (2011 Mayakoba Golf Classic), 4th (2015 Sanderson Farms Championship), 4th (2016 Barbasol Championship), 9th (2020 Puerto Rico Open), and 2nd (2021 Puerto Rico Open), all at tournaments played alongside the Open Championship and WGCs, Vegas has also finished 26th (2019 – 11th after 54 holes) and 18th (2021) here at the Corales Golf Club.

Undoubtedly a Paspalum=positive player, I always like ‘Johnnie’ in humid conditions and in tournaments where eagles and birdies are a real currency. He can play well enough in the wind, and unlike many in this field he has plenty of in-contention experience. A 3-time PGA Tour winner, 2021 saw him in the heat of the battle against Brendan Grace at the Puerto Rico Open; Garrick Higgo, Chesson Hadley and Harris English at the Palmetto Championship; and Cameron Champ plus Charl Schwartzel at the 3M Open.

8th on Paspalum at the Saudi International last month, 27th last week at the Valspar Championship was a career-best finish in Tampa. It was also a performance where he ranked T3 for Birdie or Better Conversion, 9th for Strokes Gained Approach and 7th for Greens in Regulation. RESULT: T4

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Graeme McDowell 1pt EW 40/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Corales Golf Club is a Paspalum-grassed golf course by the sea, so it’s almost an auto-bet to include Graeme McDowell who showed  a couple of outings ago that he can still be competitive in a high-quality field, which clearly this is a level or two below.

13th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational which included the likes of Rahm, McIlroy, Hovland and winner Scheffler was an eye-opener, with ‘G-Mac’ ranking from a Strokes Gained perspective 8th for Approach, 29th for Tee to Green and 22nd for Putting.

The 2010 U.S. Open champion at Pebble Beach Golf Links, wins since then are sporadic but paint a very vivid picture. 2013 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, 2015 OHL Classic at El Camaleon, plus the 2019 Corales Championship at Corales Golf Club. Coastal tracks featuring Bermudagrass or Paspalum greens are G-Mac’s speciality and let’s not forget that 2020 saw him win the Saudi International on a coastal Par 72 namely the Royal Greens G&CC. That track also features Paspalum greens.

As we know, form is ok but certainly not spectacular, and that tends to work at this event. Plus since the start of 2020, Graeme’ best finishes have been by the coast: 4th at the Sony (2020), 1st at Saudi (2020), 4th here at Corales (2021) and 12th at Bermuda (2021). A serious horse for the course this week, who is a little under the radar. RESULT: T50

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Adam Svensson 1pt EW 40/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Adam Svensson is another who’s impressed in his second spell on the PGA Tour. The 28 year-old Canadian from Surrey, British Columbia has played some nice stuff, but let’s start with a look back at his earlier career. Pretty much a Korn Ferry stalwart from 2016 onwards, he has some correlating form that works nicely. 6th here when this was a Korn Ferry event in 2017 was, at the time, his highest ever finish. A 67-65 start got him into 3rd spot after 36 holes and from there 69-70 left him 3 back of winner Nate Lashley.

He then went on to win the 2018 Great Abaco Classic, played on the Par 72 at the Abaco Club on Winding Bay. Played by the coast in the Bahamas, it’s a Paspalum course. He also backed that up with 9th at the 2020 Great Exuma Classic, played again on another Par 72 (Sandals Emerald Bay GC) in the Bahamas, featuring Paspalum. It’s also worthy of note in this quality of field that Adam landed 2 more Korn Ferry titles last year, making him a 3-time Korn Ferry Tour winner. That’s winning experience few in this field have.

This season has seen Svensson finish 22nd at Bermuda, 7th at the Sony Open and 9th at the Honda Classic. He also shot 2 rounds of -6/65 on the Paspalum greens of El Camaleon back in November on his way to 45th spot. The sort who clearly loves playing by the coast and can win on Bermudagrass or Paspalum set-ups, I like the talented Canadian’s chances this week. RESULT: MC

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Emiliano Grillo 1pt EW 50/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

If there’s one thing I’m trying to develop this 21/22 PGA Tour season, it’s to look at the bigger picture and Emiliano Grillo fits the bill perfectly this week for Corales.

Looking at Emiliano with a clean sheet of paper, he has the sixth-highest OWGR rank in this field. Let’s not forget that less than 12 months ago he finished 2nd at the RBC Heritage behind Stewart Cink, 8th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and was 12th at the Sandwich-hosted Open Championship, placing him a strong result away from the top 50. He can mix it.

Now the only reason the Argentine is playing this week is the fact that his 2022 form has been awful and his FedEx Cup rank is looking rather sickly. 7 appearances this year have gleaned 63rd at the American Express and 21st at the Genesis Invitational, plus 5 missed cuts. At 149th in the standings Grillo needs a result and naturally he has no winner exemptions in his back pocket. Now that motivational angle follows the pattern of previous March-held Corales winners as Garnett (110th), McDowell (119th) and Dahmen (126th) all needed a strong result from a FedEx Cup perspective. And let’s not also forget that Joel Dahmen won this with inbound form of 6 missed cuts in 7. It happens!

And in Grillo we have a player who’s pretty perfect for the test ahead this week. No slouch by the coast, he loves these warm and humid climes. 2nd (2015), 3rd (2020) and 11th (2021) at the Puerto Rico Open; 10th (2016), 9th (2017), 15th (2018) and 8th (2020) at the Mayakoba Classic, the 29 year old Argentine has also a 21st (11th after 54 holes) and 6th here at Corales Golf Club across 2020 and 2021. He responds to Paspalum and is most comfortable when the eagles and birdies are plentiful.

10th after 54 holes at the star-studded Genesis 3 outings ago showed signs and if he’s going to find his game anywhere, this week is pretty ideal for him. RESULT: MC

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Hudson Swafford 1pt EW 55/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

PGA Tour season 2021-22 has seen a spate of double winners. Hideki Matsuyama won the ZOZO Championship in late 2021 and then landed the Sony Open in early January; Scottie Scheffler won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February and then captured the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March; and Sam Burns won the Sanderson Farms Championship in early September and then successfully defended the Valspar Championship last week on the Copperhead Course. It’s a happening trend so I’m more than happy to cover off Hudson Swafford on a Corales course he loves.

With such incredible course form of 1-6 over his past 2 visits here, I was at the very least expecting him to be in the top 10 of the betting, but since he won The American Express for the second time in January (we have been warned!) finishes of MC-60-MC-MC-MC have clearly taken the gloss of his price.

Hudson, who’s now a 3-time PGA Tour winner, doesn’t tend to win off stellar form anyway. His win here in September 2020 came off form of MC-MC-MC-56, and even last year his 6th place finish came off form of MC-MC-MC-MC-MC. 2nd at the Palmetto Championship, which like this is played on a Tom Fazio design, also came with form of MC-MC-MC-MC-MC-45-62. Put succinctly, this is undoubtedly a price play, on a player who when he contends from very little tends to go very close at the very least. RESULT: T36

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 19:00GMT 21.3.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.