Horses for Courses: Mayakoba 2021

Plenty of evidence to compile as this will be the 15th edition at El Camaleon Golf Club on the Riviera Maya.

Viktor Hovland broke a trend last year as he picked up his second win of 2020.

Another week another stamp on the passport as the PGA TOUR shifts from the pink sands of Bermuda to the jungles and beaches of the Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen Mexico. A field of 132 will tee it at El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba for the 15th consecutive year.

Greg Norman’s resort course opened for business in 2006 and stretches barely 7,000 yards (7,017) to a par 71. Navigating the lush jungles, avoiding the many canals running through the property and keeping the ball out of the wind are keys to success this week. Sea Isle Paspalum greens and rough will cover the property but neither cut will provide much headache. The greens will run around 11 feet and the rough won’t reach two inches. Remember, resort golf means plenty of room to LAND it and multiple chances to score. Errant shots, because of the room to move, can and will be penalized with canals, sandy waste areas and 36 bunkers. Oh, and you’re not finding any crooked ones in the mangroves either.

There’s a reason veteran guys cash most of the checks here. Pumping the breaks and shot-making trumps brash bombing. The two lowest tournament totals are from Matt Kuchar (-22) and Pat Perez (-21) who are neither chickens of spring or guys who kill it.

Viktor Hovland became the first 20-something to win last December since Harris English in 2013. As with most shootouts, nobody has defended the title and the event has not produced multiple winners.

Speaking of 2013, that’s when the event moved to fall and became a primary event. This year the purse is $7.2 million with the winner taking $1.296 and 500 FedExCup points plus a trip to the Masters, Sentry Tournament of Champions and all of the perks of victory on TOUR.

Recent Event Winners Stats

WinnerViktor HovlandBrendon ToddMatt Kuchar
Putting: Birdie or Better %91217
Birdies1 (25)T1 (24)T1 (26)
EaglesT5 (1)00
Putting AverageT10T841
3 Putts111
Bogey AvoidanceT13T2T1
Par-3 ScoringT38T2T19
Par-4 ScoringT1T11
Par-5 ScoringT4T46T12

Recent Winners

Last year – Viktor Hovland (-20, 264)

First winner to birdie the 72nd hole. … Closed with 7 Birdies and 1 Bogey for 65 to win by a shot. … Played the weekend 63-65 but trailed by 2 shots after 54 holes. … Sat 7 back after 36 holes. … Led the field with 25 birdies including 16 on his final 36 holes. … Led the field GIR. … Played the previous two editions and MC both times. … Rolled in on 17 straight made cuts. … Won on Paspalum in Puerto Rico earlier in the season. … Picks up his second TOUR win at age 23 in 35th start.

Notables in the field this week:

Aaron Wise (2nd) closed with 63 and was T9 GIR. … Tom Hoge (T3) began Sunday one shot back in the final group and closed with 69. … Adam Long (T3) has never finished off the podium in his two starts over the last two years. … Billy Horschel (T5) stormed home 65-64. … Tony Finau (T8) made an ace on Saturday and was T4 Putting. … Emiliano Grillo (T8) led by four after 36 holes and by one after 54 holes but shot 72 on Sunday, the only round above par in the top 10 for the week. … Carlos Ortiz (T8) was the best Mexican finisher for the second year running. … Brendon Todd (T8) set the mark for the best result of a defending champion. … Abraham Ancer (T12) made one bogey and one double on the week. … Justin Thomas (T12) posted the low round of the week with 62 in Round 3. … First round leader Russell Knox (T23) set the pace with 65. … Cut was 1-under. … Top 31 players were 10-under or better. … 23 bogey-free rounds. … Scoring average was 69.767. … First time event was held in December. … Preferred lies in closely mown areas in Round 4.

2019 – Brendon Todd (20-under, 264)

54 hole leader by one closed with 68 to win also by one. … Third consecutive winner in the top 10 (T3) GIR. … Third consecutive winner to lead or co-lead in birdies. … Fourth consecutive winner to lead or co-lead in Par-4 scoring. … Sat two back after 36 holes. … Opened with 63 to trail by a shot. … 63 was T2 round of the week. … Previous results here were MC-MC-T49. … Won for the second time on TOUR in 7 days. … First multiple winner in the fall portion of the schedule since it was formed. … Picks up third career victory in his 178th start at age 34.

Notables in the field this week:

Adam Long (T2) played the final 36 holes bogey free in his first appearance. … Carlos Ortiz (T2) won the previous week in Houston. … Joel Dahmen (T6) closed 66-65 and led the field in Putting. … Abraham Ancer (T8) made only one bogey and one double for the week (again!). … Billy Horschel (T8) was T9 GIR. … 2016 champ Pat Perez (T8) secured another top 10 paycheck. … First round leader Danny Lee (T26) opened with 62 and didn’t break 70 the rest of the week. … Defending champ Matt Kuchar (T14) raced up the leaderboard with 62, co-low round of the week, on Sunday. … Cut was 1-under. … Top 22 players were 10-under or better. … 27 bogey free rounds. … Scoring average 70.032. … Preferred lies used all four rounds.

2018 – Matt Kuchar (22-under, 262)

Set tournament scoring record and won by a shot. … Led or co-led after every round. … Established 36 hole record on 14-under. … Added the 54 hole record on 20-under. … Opened with 64 to share the first round lead. … Co-led the field with 26 birdies. …T18 or better in four of five starts here including last season. … Won for the 8th time in start No. 428 at age 40. … Entered the week off T57 at Shriners.

Notables in the field this week:

Danny Lee (T2) circled 25 birdies and would have won or forced a playoff in every other edition of this event on 21-under. … JJ Spaun (T3) matched Kuchar with 26 birdies. … Richy Werenski (T3) only squared four bogeys. … Brice Garnett (5th) was T6 Putting. … Pat Perez (T6) led the field in Overall Putting. … Scott Piercy (T8) missed tying the course record by a shot with 62 on Sunday. …  Harold Varner III (T6) opened and closed with 65. … Adam Hadwin (T10) circled two eagles. … Anirban Lahiri (T10) circled 21 birdies and an eagle. … Aaron Wise (T10) led the field in Putting. … Defending champ Patton Kizzire (T55) sat 11-under after two rounds but didn’t break on the weekend. … Co-first round leader Kramer Hickok (T29) stumbled with 74 on Saturday. … Cut was 4-under, tying the event record. … Top 40 players were 10-under or better. … 34 bogey free rounds. … Scoring average 69.247. … Absolutely perfect weather.

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.

Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green
3Justin Thomas
6Keegan Bradley
8Viktor Hovland
9Will Zalatoris
11Brooks Koepka
13Sergio Garcia
16Tony Finau
18Tyrrell Hatton
19Shane Lowry
20Russell Henley
21Scottie Scheffler
21Doug Ghim
23Luke List
24Charley Hoffman
25Seamus Power
25Aaron Wise
28Abraham Ancer
Strokes-Gained: Putting
2JT Poston
3Ian Poulter
4Patrick Reed
5Zach Johnson
8Brendon Todd
13Alex Noren
16Cameron Tringale
19Adam Hadwin
22Denny McCarthy
25Brian Harman
25Patton Kizzire
27Hank Lebioda
29Abraham Ancer
31Brice Garnett
36Justin Rose
Par-3 Scoring
6Joaquin Niemann
6Zach Johnson
6Justin Rose
6Harold Varner III
14Alex Noren
14Charley Hoffman
14Abraham Ancer
17Patton Kizzire
17Tony Finau
22Adam Hadwin
22Kyle Stanley
22Pat Perez
22Luke List
22Doug Ghim
22Russell Henley
22Justin Thomas
22Chris Kirk
22Bronson Burgoon
Rounds in the 60s
2Joaquin Niemann
3Abraham Ancer
3Patton Kizzire
6Brian Harman
6Tony Finau
13Cameron Tringale
15Emiliano Grillo
15Scottie Scheffler
18Charley Hoffman
18Brian Stuard
18Justin Thomas
18Viktor Hovland
23Russell Henley
23Carlos Ortiz
28Kevin Streelman
28Matt Jones
32Sepp Straka
35Brice Garnett

Horses for Courses: World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25sMost Recent (calendar year)Notes
Viktor Hovland (1/3)11WIN (2020)MC-MC first two visits; won on Paspalum at Puerto Rico Open
Aaron Wise (3/5)222nd (2020)T10 2018; 6th straight year here
Adam Long (2/2)22T3 (2020)T2 2019; 36-under total
Tom Hoge (4/6)11T3 (2020)T44 next best
Billy Horschel (5/6)24T5 (2020)T8 2019; T30 or better in all 5 paydays; 43-under last 3 years
Emiliano Grillo (5/5)34T8 (2020)19 of 20 par or better; T15 or better in 4 of 5
Carlos Ortiz (5/7)33T8 (2020)T2 2019; 34-under total
Brendon Todd (3/5)22T8 (2020)WINNER 2019; 35-under last 2 years
Tony Finau (3/5)23T8 (2020)T16 or better when he makes the cut
Joel Dahmen (4/4)13T6 (2019)T23 or better in 3 of 4; 15 of 16 rounds in 60s
Abraham Ancer (5/6)24T8 (2019)Last 4: T12, T8, T21 and T9; 5 straight
Pat Perez (8/9)35T8 (2019)Winner 2016; T6 2018; T52 2020
Matt Kuchar (5/5)24WIN (2018)T14 2020; top 20s in first two editions 2007, 2008
Danny Lee (5/7)232 (2018)T3 2014; T25-2nd-T26 last 3 visits
JJ Spaun (5/5)12T3 (2018)Last 2 worst 2
Richy Werenski (3/3)11T3 (2018)All 12 rounds Par or better
Brice Garnett (6/7)355 (2018)T32 last year worst finish
Scott Piercy (7/10)24T6 (2018)T4 2016; 5 straight event 4 of 5 T26 or better
Harold Varner III (4/5)22T6 (2018)T5 2015; last 2 seasons worst 2
Adam Hadwin (2/5)22T10 (2018)T10 2016 previous
Anirban Lahiri (3/3)12T10 (2018)T14, T28 previous 2 years
Patton Kizzire (5/5)11WIN (2017)Only top 30 finish
Rickie Fowler (2/3)122nd (2017)T16 2018; MC 2020
Charles Howell III (10/12)39T4 (2017)9 top 25s. NOYNE.
Ryan Moore (2/3)12T6 (2017)All 10 rounds Par or better
Russell Knox (8/8)34T9 (2017)Solo third 2016; T2 2015; T37 worst finish;  30 of 32 par or better
Brian Stuard (6/8)34T9 (2017)2nd 2013; T2 2010; Last 3 are MC-T23-MC
Gary Woodland (4/5)112nd (2016)Of 18 rounds 5 are 65 or better
Kevin Streelman (6/8)23T4 (2016)T34 or better
Chez Reavie (7/8)12T4 (2016)MC last year broke a run of 7 straight cashes
Chris Kirk (4/4)11T7 (2016)T33 best since; 63 on debut
Luke List (1/5)11T7 (2016)MC last 4 years, MC year before
Jhonattan Vegas (7/10)13T10 (2016)T20 2020
Graeme McDowell (5/7)13WIN (2015)Only top 20 payday
Charley Hoffman (4/9)11WIN (2014)Only top 30 payday
John Huh (6/8)14WIN (2012)Won in 7 hole playoff; worst payday is T29 here

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