Horses for Courses: 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship

Dustin Johnson won by five shots last year over Rory McIlroy.

Is that any good?

With the West Coast Swing firmly in the rear-view mirror and four consecutive weeks in Florida ahead, World Golf Championship No. 2 will provide a quick trip south of the border for four more rounds on Poa annua and kikuyu grass.

Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City will host for the fourth consecutive season since the event moved from Miami for the 2017 edition. Stretching to 7,345 this par-71 will play quite shorter than advertised as the elevation on the property is around 7,500 feet above sea level. With smaller-than-average greens and tree-lined fairways, ball-strikers will shine again this week.

The special invitational field of 72 will all get a chance to play all 72 holes (no cut) to claim their share of a $10.5 million purse. The winner receives $1.82 million and 550 FedExCup points plus a three-year exemption on TOUR.

RECENT WINNERS

2019: Dustin Johnson (-21, 263)

Won his sixth WGC championship by five over Rory McIlroy at the age of 34. … Led the field in GIR, Strokes Gained: Putting and Par-4 scoring. … All four rounds 67 or better. … Just one of three players with all four rounds in the 60s. … There were six, bogey-free rounds on the week and Johnson had two of them. … Johnson made one bogey and one double in four rounds and was second in birdies with 22.

Notables in the field this week:¬†McIlroy (2nd), who led after 18 holes opening with 63, led the field in birdies (25) and became the third such to do so and not win the tournament. … Paul Casey (T3) finished ten shots back but closed 65-65, his best two rounds in three visits. … Cameron Smith made his debut with all four rounds under par and tied sixth with Sergio Garcia. .. Justin Thomas closed with 62, tying his own course record, to claim solo ninth.

2018: Phil Mickelson (-16, 268)

Entered the week red-hot (T6-T2-T5) but needed 66 on Sunday to run down 54-hole leader debutant Shubhankar Sharma.¬† … Closed 65-66, his best two rounds at the event, and defeated Thomas in a one-hole playoff. … Short game was on point as he was second in converting birdie chances, third Strokes Gained: Putting and second in scrambling. … His 22 birdies were second on the week. … Oldest WGC winner at 48 (did NOT qualify 2020).

Notables in the field this week:¬†Thomas set the course record (62) for a first time on Saturday and backed it up with 64 on Sunday to force a playoff after an incredible hole-out on the 72nd hole. … Rafa Cabrera Bello and Tyrrell Hatton shared third, one shot out of the playoff. … 2017 winner Johnson signed for four rounds in the 60s but that was only good enough for T7, tied with Garcia. … Tommy Fleetwood circled 23 birdies, most on the week, and cashed T14.

2017: Dustin Johnson (-14, 270)

First event in Mexico City. … Johnson entered the week Win-3rd-MC-2nd-T6 in his previous five starts. … Defeated Fleetwood by one. … Played in the final group one back of Thomas (T5) and beat him 68-72. … Led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, proximity and Par-5 scoring. … Made 22 birdies (T2).

Notables in the field this week:¬†Fleetwood closed 66-66 but fell one shot short of a playoff. … Jon Rahm (T3) hit the podium in his first-ever WGC event. … Thomas led the field in birdies with 24. … Brandt Snedeker (T7) figured it out on the weekend (66-65). … 36-hole leader Rory McIlroy settled for T7 after 70-71 weekend. … Hatton claimed 10th.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

¬†* –¬† previous top 10 finish here since 2017

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

1  *Rory McIlroy

2  *Justin Thomas

3  Hideki Matsuyama

4  Adam Scott

6  *Paul Casey

7  Byeong-Hun An

8  *Dustin Johnson

9  Corey Conners

10 *Jon Rahm

11 Xander Schauffele

13 *Tommy Fleetwood

14 Jason Kokrak

16 Gary Woodland

18 Matthew Fitzpatrick

20 Webb Simpson

24 *Sergio Garcia

Strokes Gained: Putting

2  Jordan Spieth

4  Graeme McDowell

11 Webb Simpson

12 *Brandt Snedeker

16 Billy Horschel

20 Kevin Kisner

24 *Rory McIlroy

28 Bryson DeChambeau

Scrambling

1  *Tommy Fleetwood

2  Webb Simpson

7  Sungjae Im

12 Hideki Matsuyama

16 Marc Leishman

25 *Rory McIlroy

26 Matt Kuchar

27 *Brandt Snedeker

28 Francesco Molinari

28 Patrick Reed

30 Charles Howell III

Caballos

Dustin Johnson: Posted 66 or better in 5 of 12; 47-under (WIN-T7-WIN).

Justin Thomas: Three top-10 finishes (9th-P2-T5) and has set the course record 62 twice; 64 birdies in 216 holes.

Rory McIlroy: Led after 18 last year en route to T2 and was the 36-hole leader in 2017 before T7.

Figuring it Out

Paul Casey: T16 followed by T12 followed by T3. Weekend rounds are 9 under, 9 under and 12 under. Be patient!

Sergio Garcia: 29 under (T6-T7-T12) with 11 of 12 rounds in the red. The outlier is an even-par round.

Tyrrell Hatton: Back-to-back top-10 paydays halted by T19 last year. Of 12 rounds, 11 are in the red, including 64 in 2018.

Tommy Fleetwood:¬†Along with his runner up he’s cashed T19 and T14. Signed for 67 or better five of 12.

Regulars – Players making visit No. 4 (not mentioned above)

Matthew Fitzpatrick РT27, T30 and T16

Branden Grace РT33, T30 and T32

Kevin Kisner РT27, 29th and 11th

Matt Kuchar Р50th, T58 and T20

Francesco Molinari РT25, T17 and T20

Louis Oosthuizen РT25, T30 and T48

Patrick Reed РT14, T37 and T61

Jordan Spieth РT54, T14 and T12

Gary Woodland РT17, T50 and T38

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