The calendar year’s last tournament will be down in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon GC. Originally played during the swing season, this tournament rarely attracts golfers ranked inside the top 15 worldwide rankings. This year is different, and the field is the best this tournament has seen in some time. Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger, along with other popular names like Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Abraham Ancer, will tee it up this Thursday.
The course and conditions should feature another birdie fest, similar to what we’ve seen throughout the years here. The forecast shows rain early in the week and light winds, which perfectly sets up these guys to go low. The average winning score since 2016 is 20.5-under par.
Even though it would be easy to back players like Brooks and JT, them being in the field provides value down the board. The average odds of the past five winners is +6900, with Harris English be the shortest at +2500 in 2013 and Johnson Wagner being the longest at +15000.
Most people have probably forgotten how good Berger was playing after the restart. He won the Charles Schwab Challenge, the first tournament back, and followed it up with third, MC, second run in his next three tournaments. Since then, he hasn’t finished worse than 34th — he just hasn’t played since October at the ZOZO Championship — which is why we’re getting a good number on him. Berger has been a little shaky off the tee, but his irons have been great, gaining an average of 1.4 strokes in his last five measured rounds. He’s made the cut all five times at the Sony Open in Hawaii and plays well on these shorter, coastal courses finishing seconf at the Puerto Rico Open in 2019 and third at the RBC Heritage earlier this year. Berger finished 51st when he played here in 2014, but was tied after the first round with five other golfers like Tony Finau and Hudson Swafford.
Long has been stellar over his last two tournaments, ranking 10th in approach, ninth in opportunities gained and top 10 in fairways gained. He’s coming off a top 30 at the RSM Classic and an 11th at the Houston Open the week before. Long was able to sustain his solid play throughout November, which is what you want to see with players coming off of long(er) layoffs post the Thanksgiving holiday respite the PGA TOUR scheduled last week. He couldn’t make the cut at the Sony Open in his only two appearances there, but his form has been solid this season with an eighth at the Waste Management, a fifth at Corales Puntacana and a runner up at the 3M Open. The other golfer you should consider is Marc Leishman (+5500). The Australian golfer has been playing awful since returning from the restart but showed some life at Augusta last month, finishing with a 13th place. He’s never missed a cut at the Sony Open and finished top 25 here in 2017.
As mentioned in the DraftKings preview, Reavie may have some value in the derivative markets with how well he’s played this course in the past. If past winners like Kuchar, Kizzire, Todd and McDowell indicate future success here, then it’s players like Reavie, who are accurate off-the-tee and solid ball-strikers, that we should consider. Reavie has been horrible with his putter, so I’m not sure he can win this. Still, if he putts field average or better on these paspalum greens, he’ll have a good shot at success down in Mexico.
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