Horses for Courses: Puerto Rico Open

With a brand-new track for the WGC event, I’ll head to the 13th edition of the Puerto Rico Open .

Good luck!

For the 13th time in the last 14 years the Grande Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande will open its doors to the PGA TOUR. Tom Kite laid out 7,506 yards (Par-72) along the northeastern shore of the island in 2004 and it will provide the test this week for the field of 132 players.



Kite’s track features SeaDwarf Paspalum greens and Salam Paspalum on the tees, fairways and rough. Speaking of greens, they average 6,500 square feet and won’t run much more than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter because of the breeze that blows in the Caribbean. When the wind is down, the scores can plummet. Of the last three winners two have posted 20-under to take home the title while the tournament record is 21-under 267.

Big names before they became big names have littered the podium over the years. Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Daniel Berger, Viktor Hovland, Emiliano Grillo and Ryo Ishikawa all are included in the history books. Most gamers will remember this is the site of Tony Finau’s only win on TOUR. It’s also interesting to point out that Hovland is the only winner at this event to have gone on to win again on TOUR.

The opposite field event this week will have a purse of $3 million with the winner taking home $540,000 plus 300 FedExCup points. While a ticket to Augusta isn’t on the line, an invitation to the richest purse in golf, THE PLAYERS Championship, will be included.

The 2018 event was cancelled because of damage from Hurricane Maria.

Gamers, no ShotLink this week, so apologies for the limited stat packs.

Recent Event Winners Stats

 2020201920182017
Viktor HovlandMartin TrainerNo TournamentDA Points
Score20-under15-underHurricane Maria20-under
MOV13 2
Age2227 40
     
Accuracy23T62 T1
GIRT8T4 1
     
Putting: Birdie or Better %73 20
Birdies22 (T5)23 (1) 23 (T2)
Eagles2 (T2)0 (T23) T5 (1)
     
Putting Average:22 T9
3 Putts:T13 (1)T30 (2) T35 (2)
     
Scrambling6T32 T52
     
Par-3 ScoringT17T4 T42
Par-4 Scoring2ndT30 1
Par-5 ScoringT4T1 T12
     
TOUR form enteringMC-T23-MC-T38T28-MC-T73 T66-MC-T39

Recent Winners and Notables

2020: Viktor Hovland (-20, 268; Not Entered)

Rookie won by a shot in only his 17th TOUR start. … Led by two after 54 holes (-18). … Shared the 36-hole lead with three others (-10). … Won with a triple bogey on the card Sunday. … Missed tying Chesson Hadley’s (not entered) tournament record by a shot. … Fourth first-time winner in the last six. … Fourth rookie winner in the last 10. … Youngest winner at 22 years of age. … One top 25 in his previous four events entering (T23). … First time playing event. … Won on Paspalum at Mayakoba in December of 2020.

Notables:

Veteran Josh Teater (2nd) missed a playoff by a shot; led the field in GIR for his best TOUR finish. … Emiliano Grillo (T3) couldn’t capitalize on his first 36-hole co-lead on TOUR. … Sam Ryder (T3) posted 65 in Round 2 but still finished four back of Teater. … Ted Potter, Jr., (T6) added another windy top 10 to his resume. … Joseph Bramlett (T9) was T6 GIR and only made four bogeys. … Rob Oppenheim (T9) joined Teater as the only two players in the top 10 with all four rounds in the 60s. … Wes Roach (T9) finished T3 GIR. … Vincent Whaley (T9) closed with 65, second best round on Sunday. … Jhonattan Vegas (T9) circled 11 birdies in the final round to post the new course record of 62. … Defending champ Martin Trainer MC. … Only three rounds ABOVE par were posted by the top 26 players. … 2-under advanced to the weekend. … 36 bogey-free rounds for the week as the weather was PERFECT.

2019: Martin Trainer (-15, 273)

Picked up his first win on TOUR in just his 11th start. … Won by three after trailing by two entering the final round. … Closed with 67, second best round on Sunday, and matched his lowest for the week. … Third first time winner in the last five. … Third rookie winner in the last nine. … Led the field in birdies (23). … T28 Pebble Beach was his previous best finish.

Notables:

Aaron Baddeley (T2) couldn’t hold the 54-hole lead but picked up his second top 10 in two starts here. … Roger Sloan (T2) racked up his best finish on TOUR. … Johnson Wagner (T2) was the only player to post all four rounds in the 60s. … Shawn Stefani (T6) closed with 65 and tied the low round of the week. … 2013 winner Scott Brown (T10) picked up his fifth top 10 paycheck in eight starts. … JJ Henry (T10) had a piece of the course record before last year and has posted plenty of low ones on this track. … First tournament back after Hurricane Maria. … Andres Romero (T25) led after the first round for the second time in five events here (2013) with a bogey-free 66. … DJ Trahan (T16) was one of three who shared the 36-hole lead on 8-under. … No previous winner has repeated as 2017 winner DA Points cashed T42. … Cut was 1-over 145. … Course rated the 15th most difficult of 48 used on TOUR in 2019 #WINDY. … Just 20 bogey-free rounds on the week.

2017: DA Points (-20, 268)

40-year old veteran cashed his third win on TOUR. … Missed tying the course record by a shot. … Opened with five consecutive birdies in Round 4. … Posted 66 on Sunday to defeat Bryson DeChambeau (not entered) by two strokes. … Missed only EIGHT GIR for the week! … Sat one back after 18 after 64. … Tied with DeChambeau thru 36 (-11). … Trailed by one after 54. … Won his fourth appearance. … Rolled in on the back of T66-MC-T39.

Notables:

Peter Uihlein (T5) picked up his second top 10 here. … JJ Henry (T8) tied the course record for the third time during the tournament with 63 on Sunday. … Mark Anderson (T10) posted all four rounds in the 60s. … Native son Rafael Campos (T10) backed up his T8 from 2016. … Tim Wilkinson (T17) carded 63 in Round 2. … Only five rounds over par from the top 29 players. … Played the fifth easiest course on TOUR of the 50 used in 2017 (no wind). … Needed 3-under to play the weekend. … Only four total rounds over par from the top 30 finishers. … Last time played in late March, as the event moved to February in 2019.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.
* – Top 10 finish here since 2016

Greens in RegultionGolfer
 Rank 
4Will Gordon
7*Josh Teater
7*Emiliano Grillo
19*Jhonattan Vegas
21Nick Watney
24Chris Baker
25Joseph Bramlett
27Brice Garnett
30Cameron Percy
34Seamus Power
34Bill Haas
42Adam Schenk
45*Ted Potter, Jr.,
46Ben Taylor
49Ryan Brehm
50Lucas Glover
  
Par-5 ScoringGolfer
 Rank 
21*Jhonattan Vegas
21Seamus Power
32*Josh Teater
32Grayson Murray
32Will Gordon
43Adam Schenk
43*Wes Roach
52Michael Gligic
52Nick Watney
52Ryan Brehm
60*Peter Uihlein
60Patrick Rodgers
60Chris Baker
60Brandon Hagy
  
Birdie or Better PercentageGolfer
 Rank 
1Dominic Bozzelli
11Kristoffer Ventura
12Seamus Power
16Grayson Murray
23*Ian Poulter
32*Aaron Baddeley
36*Vincent Whaley
45Xinjun Zhang
48Vaughn Taylor

Horses for Courses

Player (Starts/cuts made)Top 10s Top 25 Most Recent (Season)Big Finishes
Top 10 last five years 
Josh Teater (4/5)112 (2020)Posted 66 twice; 19-under for the week
Emiliano Grillo (4/4)22T3 (2020)T2 2015 last visit
Sam Ryder (1/1)11T3 (2020)Posted 3 rounds in the 60s on debut
Ted Potter, Jr (3/3)11T6 (2020)T48-T29-T6 #Trending 
Wes Roach (3/4)22T9 (2020)T4 2014 debut
Jhonattan Vegas (4/5)12T9 (2020)Closed with course record 62 (11 birdies)
Joseph Bramlett (2/2)11T9 (2020)T69 2011 
Vincent Whaley (1/1)11T9 (2020)Closed 69-65
Rob Oppenheim (1/2)11T9 (2020)All 4 rounds in the 60s
     
Martin Trainer (1/2)11Win (2019)74-73 MC in defense
Roger Sloan (2/3)11T2 (2019)Career best finish; Posted 4 of 8 rounds in the 60s
Aaron Baddeley (2/2)22T2 (2019)T8 2016; all 8 rounds par or better
Johnson Wagner (5/7)11T2 (2019)Last season T35 and 2019 are the best of the bunch
Shawn Stefani (4/5)12T6 (2019)T14 2020
Scott Brown (8/8)56T10 (2019)2013 winner; T5 2012, 2016
JJ Henry (6/7)22T10 (2019)T8 2017; cashed last 4 visits
     
DA Points (4/6)22Win (2017)T9 debut 2009
Peter Uihlein (4/6)22T5 (2017)T6 2013; cashed last 3 visits
Rafael Campos (6/11)22T10 (2017)T8 2016; top 10 KFT last week
Mark Anderson (3/4)11T10 (2017)T27 2020; 7 of last 8 in 60s
     
Ian Poulter (1/2)11T3 (2016)First visit since 2016
     
Previous Winners     
George McNeill (6/8)232012T5 debut 2011; T35 last year
Michael Bradley (7/9)232009, 201154 years old; No. 1 money list
     
Outsiders    
Adam Schenk (2/2)02 T14, T16 last 2 years
David Hearn (5/6)15MC (2020)Top 25 in other five tries
Jonathan Byrd (6/7)04MC (2020)6 straigth paydays prior including T25 in 4
Tim Wilkinson (4/7)14 T20-T17-T21 last three visits
Roberto Castro (5/5)04 T27 or better in all five chances
Brice Garnett (4/4)01 T72-T38-T26-T20 #Trending

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