Horses for Courses: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship 2021

Back for the second time this season!

Paspalum players personified.

Another week of lovely views.

For the second time this season the TOUR returns to the Dominican Republic for the second edition of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. After having the event postponed in the spring of 2020 (COVID-19) the TOUR brought a full field event back in September to Tom Fazio’s Par-72 (7,670 yards) Corales Course.

This event made its debut on TOUR in spring of 2018 and 18-under has been the winning score in all three editions, regardless of time of year. As we have learned, the wind is always a factor in the Caribbean and this week isn’t an exception. Bigger targets of the tee and large green complexes allow for these breezes to blow and scores to remain low. Paspalum is the grass of choice (Mayakoba, Puerto Rico Open) tee to green so it won’t hurt to find a few who enjoy this surface.

If 18-under is the winning score scoring will have to be a focus. Holing putts and taking advantage of Par-5 holes is a great start. The three winners have all placed T3 or better in Par-3 scoring as well. Veterans who understand risk/reward and have putted fantastically have been the profile of the three winners.

The second edition is a field of 132 and fall champion Hudson Swafford will defend his title in the usual March spot on the calendar. On the line is 300 FedExCup points and $540,000 to the winner from a prize pool of $3 million.

Recent Event Winners Stats

WinnerHudson SwaffordGraeme McDowellBrice Garnett
Score270 (-18)270 (-18)270 (-18)
Driving Distance135351
Putting: BOB%1011
Overall Putting Average542
3-Putt AvoidanceT1 (0)T1 (0)T5 (1)
Bogey AvoidanceT6 (6)T24T9
Par-3 ScoringT2T3 1
Par-4 ScoringT15T6T9
Par-5 ScoringT2T10T2
Birdies21 (T5)27 (1st)23 (1st)
Eagles2 (T1)00

Recent Winners and Notables

2020: Hudson Swafford (-18, 270)
Picked up his second win on TOUR at age 33. … Posted 69 from the final group to defeat Tyler McCumber by a shot. … Only player to sign for all four rounds in the 60s. … Trailed by two after 54 holes as Adam Long (Match Play) set the tournament record (-17). … Led by two after 36 holes on 12-under. … One of four to post 65 in Round 1 to co-lead the field. … Won in his second attempt (MC, 2019). … Both Swafford and Long have won The American Express. … Entered the week T56-MC before his win.

Tyler McCumber (2nd) closed with 66, after opening with 65, for his best result on TOUR. … Nate Lashley (4th) won the 2017 Korn Ferry Tour edition on this same track. … Luke List (T8) sat just two off Swafford’s 36 hole lead but closed 71-71. … Xinjun Zhang (T11) led the field in birdies with 23. … Justin Suh (T14) joined List just two back of the 36 hole lead. … Scott Harrington (T14), one of three to share the course record 62, opened with 65. … Sepp Straka (T33) also shared the first round lead after 65. … Dominic Bozzelli (T56) won the inaugural event here on the KFT in 2016. … 31 bogey-free rounds. … Cut was 3-under 141. … Long set the 54 hole record on his debut. … Defending champion Graeme McDowell MC. … Top 20 players 10-under or better.

2019: Graeme McDowell (-18, 270)
Claimed his fourth win on TOUR at age 39. … 54 hole leader signed for 69 to win by a shot. … Posted 64-64 in Rounds 2 and 3 to grab the lead. … Opened with 73 (T81). … Had 16 one-putt holes in Round 3. … Racked up 27 birdies, an event record. … Round 2 64 shot him to T7. … His two rounds of 64 were T-2 lowest rounds of the week. … Won before on Paspalum at Mayakoba. … Other victories at Hilton Island and Pebble Beach (windy tracks). … Only top 25 (T18) entering the week was at Pebble Beach but he was on a streak of five makes in a row.

Jonathan Byrd (4th) opened with 36 consecutive holes without a bogey. … Kelly Kraft (T5) backed up his solo third from 2018. … Aaron Baddeley (T7) sat one off the 36 hole lead. … George McNeill (T7), former winner at the Puerto Rico Open, posted a bogey-free 65 Round 2. … DJ Trahan (T10) closed 68-66 and co-led the field in Par-5 scoring on 12-under. … First round leader Joel Dahmen (T12) opened with 66 and closed with 67. … Defending champion Brice Garnett (T39) posted all four rounds in the red. … Top 25 players 10-under or better. … 23 bogey-free rounds. … Cut was 2-under 142.

2018: Brice Garnett (-18, 270)
Wins for the first time on TOUR in 88th start at age 34. … Wins inaugural PGA TOUR event at Corales. … Wins by four shots. … First and only wire-to-wire winner. … Led by two after 54 holes (Corey Conners – not entered) on 16-under. … Led by one after 63 to open and by one on 13-under after 36 holes. … Paced the field in birdies and Overall Putting and was T2 in Par-5 Scoring. … 63 was the lowest round of the week. … Needed just 102 putts. … Four top 11 finishes at Mayakoba, T5 Puerto Rico Open last month and two top 17 finishes at Hilton Head Island. … T31 was best finish in 2018. … MC (73-67) in KFT event in 2017.

Kelly Kraft (3rd)
 only needed 105 putts. … KJ Choi (T5) led the field with 101 putts and was T2 in Par-5 scoring. … Seamus Power (T5) also cashed T7 in the first KFT event here. … Xinjun Zhang (T5) opened 66-68 before 74 in Round 3 slowed him down. … Tyler McCumber (T19) Monday qualified and was just four back after 54 holes before 75 on Sunday. … 32 bogey-free rounds. … Top 18 players were 10-under or better. … Cut was 1-under 143 as gusty conditions factored. … Scoring average 71.56.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. * – Top 25 finish here since 2018 or past champion

Overall Putting AverageGolfer
13Robby Shelton
15*Aaron Baddeley
18Bill Haas
18*Rhein Gibson
25Rob Oppenheim
26Kiradech Aphibarnrat
29Ben Taylor
35*Fabian Gomez
40*Scott Harrington
40Beau Hossler
48*Sebastian Cappelen
48Kris Ventura
48Josh Teater
53Hunter Mahan
53*Pat Perez
57Vaugn Taylor
Par-5 ScoringGolfer
5*Justin Suh
12*Hank Lebioda
23*Luke List
30*DJ Trahan
30Charles Howell III
44Danny Willett
44Ryan Brehm
59Nelson Ledesma
59Padraig Harrington
59*Brice Garnett
68Kris Ventura
68*Sepp Straka
Par 3 ScoringGolfer
3Charley Hoffman
11*Pat Perez
11Ben Taylor
13Mark Anderson
21*Ted Potter, Jr.
26*Xinjun Zhang
26*Sepp Straka
26Satoshi Kodaira
26*KJ Choi
40Troy Merritt
40*Kelly Kraft
40Bronson Burgoon
51Luke Donald
51*Emiliano Grillo
64*Luke List
64*Brice Garnett
64*Joel Dahmen
64*Justin Suh

Horses for Courses

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25Most RecentRecent Others
Hudson Swafford (1/2)11Win (2020)MC 2019
Tyler McCumber (2/2)122 (2020)T18 on debut; 68.75 with four rounds 67 or better
Nate Lashley (2/3)114 (2020)MC 2019, T28 2018; Won KFT event here 2017
Luke List (1/1)11T8 (2021)10-under thru 36 before quiet weekend
Graeme McDowell (1/3)11Win (2019)MC before and after
Jonathan Byrd (3/3)114 (2019)5 of 12 rounds 67 or better
Kelly Kraft (3/3)23T5 (2019)3 2018; T14 fall 2020; all 12 rounds par or better
George McNeill (3/3)12T7 (2019)T13 2018; T41 2020
Aaron Baddeley (1/2)11T7 (2019)MC Fall (-1)
DJ Trahan (3/3)11T10 (2019)T52 after, T60 before
Brice Garnett (3/3)11Win (2018)11 of 12 in the red; 63 first time on the property
Seamus Power (2/3)11T5 (2018)MC-T44 last two visits
Xinjun Zhang (2/2)12T5 (2018)T11 last fall; Has a round OVER par in each visit!
KJ Choi (1/1)11T5 (2018)Closed with 66
OthersTop 10sTop 25Most RecentRecent Others
Patrick Rodgers (2/2)02 T11, T22 in two trips, last 7 rounds 21-under
Joel Dahmen (2/2)02 T12, T13 in two trips; 22-under with a 72 and 74

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