For the third straight week, the PGA TOUR will stay outside the United States, as we make our way to El Camaleon Golf Course (par 71, 7,017 yards, Paspalum greens) in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, for the World Wide Technology Championship. Formerly known as the Mayakoba Classic and the OHL Classic, this event has only been held at El Camaleon since its inception in 2007. Viktor Holvand’s first career PGA TOUR victory came at this venue last season, with a winning number of -20, and he was the fourth winner at El Camaleon over the past five years to shoot at least 20 strokes under par. It’s safe to say this oceanside par 71 is one of the easiest tracks on TOUR, and with a near-perfect forecast of mid-80-degree temperatures every day this week, we can expect another birdie fest at El Camaleon. For a par 71, this course is on the shorter side, and being long OTT isn’t necessary. Most players tend to club down here to find the fairway more often, and the primary ingredient for success at El Camaleon is strong iron play. Holvand led the field in GIR last season, and the past five champs at Playa Del Carmen have finished the week inside the top-11 in the stat. Both scoring on the par 4a and 5s will be important this week. Three of the past five winners at El Camaleon have led their fields in SG on the par 4s. Additionally, three of the past golfers to claim a win here have ranked top-five in SG on the par 5s during their victories. Last, but not least, the most unique characteristic of El Camaleon is the course’s Paspalum greens. Catching fire on these sticky greens will be a must to contend this week, and we should be targeting players who have had success on this type of putting surface, if possible. Most recently, we saw Paspalum greens at Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship earlier this year in May, when Phil Mickelson shocked the world with the sixth major victory of his career. Some other notable venues that present Paspalum greens are Corales Golf Club for the Corales Championship, Grand Reserve Country Club for the Puerto Rico Open and TPC Kuala Lumpur for the CIMB Classic prior to the renovations for the 2019 edition of the event.
After the underwhelming field last week in Bermuda, 12 of the top-30 ranked players in the world will be teeing it up in Mexico this week. There will be a standard top 65 and ties cutline following the second round, and below are four sub-$7.5K DraftKings value plays to consider for the World Wide Technology Championship.
Harold Varner III, $7,400
In five appearances, Varner has made four cuts at El Camaleon, including two finishes inside the top six. Now, the 31-year-old returns to Mexico riding a streak of seven made cuts, five of which have resulted in top-20 finishes. Varner has gained strokes from T2G at five consecutive events, most notably with 6.7 SGT2G at the CJ Cup in his most recent start, which was good enough to rank him fifth in the metric in the very strong field.
When we compare betting odds to win the World Wide Technologies Championship to DFS salaries, HV3 sticks out like a sore thumb. At +4000 on DraftKings Sportsbook, he carries better odds to take home the top prize this weekend than Will Zalatoris ($9,100), who costs a notable $1,700 more for DFS purposes.
Jhonattan Vegas, $7,400
Vegas is an easy choice at this low price. He comes into this week having made the cut at 18 of his past 20 events. Over this run, Vegas has finished inside the top 20 on eight occasions, and he ranks ninth in SGT2G and fourth in BOB% across his past 24 rounds.
The last time Vegas competed on Paspalum, he finished runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open back in February. Furthermore, in 10 career starts at El Camaleon, the 37-year-old has proceeded to the weekend seven times, with three finishes in the top-20.
Russell Knox, $7,300
Last week at the Bermuda Championship, Knox was magnificent with his irons, leading the field with a 77.8% GIR rate en route to a T12 finish. This marked the third event in a row Knox has generated positive strokes on approach and his third top-30 finish in his past five starts. The Scottish pro will now look to build off this form at El Camaleon, which is a course he has thrived at throughout his career. In eight attempts, Knox has never missed a cut at this par 71 and has carded three top-10 finishes, including a playoff loss to Graeme Mcdowell in 2015.
At only $7,300, which is the cheapest Knox has ever been for a tournament at El Camaleon, he is one the best values on the board this week.
Charles Howell III, $6,900
Howell is a Paspalum specialist. In terms of made cuts, he owns a 10/12 record at El Camaleon, with a whopping nine of these finishes being top 25s. Howell has also recorded three top 10s at TPC Kuala Lumpur for the CIMB Classic and has never missed a weekend at the venue in five tries. When we compare the histories of players in this field at tracks that are home to Paspalum greens, Howell ranks second in total strokes gained.
As for his current form, Howell has made three of his past four cuts, and ranks fourth in GIR over his past 12 rounds. Combine this solid form with his love for Paspalum, and Howell is a steal at this low salary.
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