Event No. 3 of FIFTY! At least it will be pleasant to watch on the ol’ picture box this week.
Should touch just about every category in a field of all shapes and sizes.
G-MAC rolls into paradise in frigid form but he’s the defending champ!
Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
|Yards (per official scorecard):||7,670|
|Greens:||Sea Isle Paspalum, over 7,000 square feet.|
|Rough:||Sea Isle Paspalum at two inches.|
|Architects:||Tom Fazio (2010).|
|Purse:||$4 million; $720k winner plus 500 FedExCup points.|
|Defending Champion:||Graeme McDowell, -18 (270).|
|Fact of the Week:||Winner will get a trip to the 2021 Masters.|
|Fact of the Week II:||Fifth consecutive year with an professional event on this course.|
- 144 players.
- Top 65 and ties play the weekend.
- First time as a stand alone event.
2020-2021 Season Winners
*- First-time winner
**- First-time winner AND rookie winner
|Safeway Open||Stewart Cink|
|120th United States Open||Bryson DeChambeau|
Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details on those who play well here.
|2019||Graeme McDowell, 18-under||39-year old converted his 54-hole lead.|
|2018||Brice Garnett, 18-under||Wire to wire on the back of an opening 63.|
|2017||Nate Lashley, 20-under||Second year as KF Tour event; only made two bogeys.|
|2016||Dominic Bozzelli, 24-under||Won by four in the event debut on KF Tour.|
Facts and Figures:
|Tournament Record:||Both winners 18-under, 270.|
|Course Record:||62; Scott Harrington is the only player in the field who has posted this number.|
|Lowest Round – Last Year||62; Chip McDaniel (not entered); 64; Graeme McDowell (2x), Chris Stroud.|
|Recent Defending Champion(s):||N/A.|
|Multiple Winners (event or course):||N/A.|
|Oldest Winner:||McDowell, 39.|
|First Time TOUR:||Garnett.|
|Odd Fact:||Of the four winners across two TOURS, Bozzelli is the only 20-something winner.|
|Odd Fact II:||First time playing in September.|
Wide fairways and slow-ish greens will heal some ball-striking issues for some this week so I’d expect some “different” names sneaking into the top 25 again this year.
Wind players and crafty veterans are usually around the top of the ‘board because they know where the BRAKE is located. I’m looking at other Paspalum and seaside tracks to gather intel as well. That includes Mayakoba, , Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama, Aruba, Jamaica, oooooooooooh I wanna take ya, Puerto Rico, Valero, come on why don’t we go.
Not many here have been 15-under or better so it’s not absolute birdie fest. The front nine plays waaaaaaaaay easier than the back and that’s not a surprise since the finish is exposed on the cliffs. Dogs that hunt quick and pile up birdies will have room to play with during the difficult stretch of Devil’s Elbow. No. 18 was the hardest hole last year so your business better be figured out by then. Chris Stroud bogeyed the last two last year to cost himself a chance at a win and playoff. Yikes.
The added pressure this year of a trip to the Masters won’t help those trying to secure maiden victories and those no country for old men. Form always is a helpful angle and most of the field arrives fresh this week.
2020 US Open Players:
T6 Will Zalatoris
T13 Adam Long
30th Charles Howell III
T49 Thomas Detry
MC Corey Conners
MC Branden Grace
MC Mackenzie Hughes
MC Matt Jones
MC Graeme McDowell
MC Matthias Schwab
MC Henrik Stenson
Chalk – Betting Favorites (Bet365.com) under 30-1
Will Zalatoris (+1200):
Ridiculous run of form makes him the favorite. Played the Par-3 holes 1-under last week and was top 10 in Tee to Green, Approach and Proximity. Game travels. Click here.
Mackenzie Hughes (+1400):
T2 last year won’t hurt the angle for course historians. Playing some of his best golf before the US Open and didn’t have to grind out four rounds at Winged Foot.
Corey Conners (+1600): Played in the final group two years ago and he stumbled to the finish line with 76 (T13). Opened with 64 that week, MC last year. Nothing inside T25 in his last five starts.
Sam Burns (+1800): Rolls into town after a week off from T7 at Safeway. Opened 64-65 at Silverado before cooling off on the weekend. Super putter who bombs it will be excited for big targets this week. Of his last eight, six have cashed T32 with Silverado the best of the bunch (BOB). T12 here last year 68-66 weekend.
Emiliano Grillo (+2500): Just two back after 54 at Silverado before cooling to T29. Smokes it tee to green but will need a big week with the flat stick, which usually isn’t the case.
Adam Long (+2500): Six straight highlighted by T13 at Winged Foot. Solid across the board and loves Paspalum, T2 at Mayakoba.
Charles Howell III (+2800): Tis’ the season! First appearance at Corales but only one top 25 in the restart. 30th at Winged Foot included five birdies. He’ll make quite a few more this week.
Select Next Tier (33-1 and up)
Henrik Stenson (+3300): No problem with island golf or wind as he won the Hero Open last December and has an Open Championship on the mantle. Fits the mantra of veteran winner and knocked off the rust with two rounds at Winged Foot (MC). Just his eighth start of 2020; first appearance.
Thomas Detry (+3300): Of his last seven starts, three have gone for top 10s in similar fields. He’ll be happy to see paradise after 81 on Sunday at the US Open. He did play the Par-5 holes under par but that was about it. T33 here last year with just one round in the 60s (66).
Pat Perez (+3300): Former winner at Mayakoba (plus three top 10s in his last four) brings non-WD heat this week. T9-WD-WD-T18-T23-T39-T45 suggests he’s close. Giddy up.
Kristoffer Ventura (+3300): Of his last five starts on TOUR he’s cashed T21 or better BOB LTO Sliverado T7. Makes plenty of birdies. Good combo.
Denny McCarthy (+3500): Streak of six straight broken up with MC (-3) so it’s not like he’s fallen apart. Top five on debut here plus T26 last (21-under aggregate) suggests he’ll be comfortable.
Adam Schenk (+4000): No doubt he’ll make the cut. After that you’re on your own! Not many top 25s to write home about.
Sepp Straka (+4000): Half of his last eight events are T18 or better including T14 to open the season at Safeway LTO. Sat 11-under after 54 holes last time before limping home for 26th. Lesson learned? 21 birdies and two eagles at Safeway.
Charley Hoffman (+4000): Proven wind player at Mayakoba and Valero plus he fits the veteran profile. Nibbles.
Henrik Norlander (+4500): Anybody who is top 13 in FWY and GIR might be used to fill out a roster.
Xinjun Zhang (+5000): Plays well where he plays well and was T5 here LTO. Hasn’t posted a round above 73 in a while. T14 Silverado, T12 3M and T10 Memorial are his last three paydays from six events.
Brian Stuard (+5000): Played in the final group at Safeway (T3) and shot 70. First top 25 since Travelers. Hit the top 10 three times at Mayakoba but MC here last year.
Graeme McDowell (+6600): MC 7 of 9 both T35s. Nah.
Longer Shots – Top 20 or Each Way Tickets
Nelson Ledesma (+1000 Top 20; +40000) : MC in 14 of 17 last year but T23 last week. RIDE THE TOP 25 STREAK OF ONE.
George McNeill (+1000 Top 20; +25000): Look at his last two appearances here. Course Horse!
DJ Trahan (+500 Top 20; +20000): T14 last week, 10th here last time.
David Hearn (+500 Top 20; +15000): All four rounds in the 60s at Safeway. Closed 66-69 T18 here last time.
Rob Oppenheim (+400 Top 20; +10000): Lovely Caribbean/wind player.
Beau Hossler (+350 Top 20; +8000): Played his last 54 holes at Safeway 15-under. He’ll love big targets tee to green.
Seamus Power (+350 Top 20; +8000): Solo fifth in ’18 and T44 in ’19 with all eight rounds par or better.
Doug Ghim (+300 Top 20; +7500): Top 20s in half of his last four starts including T14 Safeway.
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