HomeGolfBest bets for the PGA Tour Mexico Open

    Best bets for the PGA Tour Mexico Open

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    Mexico Open at Vidanta

    Hideki Matsuyama (pre-tournament price as high as 80-1) was six strokes back to start Sunday’s final round at Riviera and was 150-1 to win. Well, he did just that, shooting a 9-under 62 to win the Genesis Invitational by three strokes over Will Zalatoris, one of our pre-tournament tips, and Luke List. Rounding out the top 5 were Adam Hadwin, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, another one of our pre-tournament tips who was the leader after each of the first three rounds. 

    Matsuyama became the all-time winningest Asian-born player on the PGA Tour with his ninth victory. 

     

    This week, the PGA Tour has a buffer week at the Mexico Open between the end of the West Coast Swing and the beginning of the Florida Swing next week. 

    Tony Finau returns to defend his title as the +750 favorite. 

    The field is deeper than last year with 21 of the OWGR Top 100 playing this week, but only four OWGR Top 50 players including Finau. Those players include Nicolai Højgaard (18-1), Emiliano Grillo (22-1), who was fifth here last year, and Ryan Fox (35-1).

    Stephan Jaeger (25-1), Taylor Pendrith (28-1), Thomas Detry (28-1), Patrick Rodgers (33-1), who has been in the top 10 both years here, Thorbjørn Olesen (33-1) and Keith Mitchell (35-1) comprise the second tier of the market.

    Brandon Wu (40-1) finished third here last year and was runner-up in 2022. 

    The Event​

    The Mexico Open was first played as the Mexican Open in 1944 at the Club de Golf Chapultepec. It was an event on the Tour de las Américas between 2003 and 2006, being co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour from 2004 to 2006. Then, it became a Nationwide Tour event in 2008. In 2013, the tournament was moved to March and became an official event for PGA Tour Latinoamérica. The tournament would also be moved to Club de Golf Mexico.

    In 2022, the tournament became an official event on the PGA Tour, with a purse of $7.7 million ($8.1 million this year) and awarding 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner, plus the normal perks for winning a PGA Tour event, including a two-year tour exemption, and invitations to the Masters, PGA Championship, The Players and Sentry Tournament of Champions. 

    Mexican conglomerate Grupo Vidanta, which operates numerous hotels and resorts, including this week’s venue, is the sponsor of the tournament. 

    The Field

    Here is the 132-player field for the Mexico Open at Vidanta:

    Field notes

    • Will Gordon withdrew on Sunday; Ryan Palmer in in the field as first alternate.
    • Will Zalatoris withdrew on Sunday (T-2 at the Genesis to move into the Aon Next 10 for the Arnold Palmer Invitational); MJ Daffue is in on a sponsor exemption.  

    The Course​

    Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta is a golf destination in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Set on the Pacific Coast, Grupo Vidanta within its Vallarta resort complex has several golf courses, the newest of which is the Norman Signature Course.

    Designed by Greg Norman and opened in 2015, it is only accessible via the world’s longest golf cart suspension bridge. Set within a kilometer of the Pacific shoreline, the course itself is set on the Ameca River, with a few holes running alongside. It is a resort course by nature, with the course seemingly flat with plenty of lakes and ponds forming hazards around the setup. The layout features panoramic views of the Sierra Madre mountain range and the Banderas Bay to the southwest. This design is surrounded by Parota trees, native grasses and patches of lush jungle.

    Vidanta Vallarta is a par-71 course that measures 7,456 yards. It ranks as the sixth-longest course on the PGA Tour. It is a unique track that has five par-3s to go with four par-5s and only nine par-4s. While the par-3s are average in length, five of the par-4s are over 475 yards and three of the par-5s are over 585 yards.

    The fairways are the fifth widest on tour at 41 yards. The Paspalum rough only measures 1.5 inches, so it is fairly non-penal. 

    The track features Paspalum throughout. Paspalum is a very common grass used on coastal courses that is known for being sticky. This means that drives will not roll out as much on the wide fairways and will stop much quicker on the greens. The 7,000 square-feet-average greens (10th largest on tour) should run around an average speed of 11.5 on the stimpmeter.

    This looks like a very scoreable track, but there are 106 bunkers (second most on tour) and 12 holes with water in play (fifth most on tour).

    The length of the course plus the coastal wind are the primary defenses at Vidanta Vallarta and the wind, especially in the later afternoon, can cause higher scores. 

    Correlated courses include TPC Craig Ranch, Coco Beach, Corales, TPC San Antonio, Congaree and Plantation Course at Kapalua. Coco Beach (Puerto Rico Open) and Corales (Corales Puntacana Championship) are both resort-style courses that also feature Paspalum throughout their respective layouts. TPC San Antonio (Valero Texas Open) is another Norman design. TPC Craig Ranch (AT&T Byron Nelson) and Congaree (2021 Congaree Championship) are also courses that favored bombers with wide fairways and non-penal rough. 

    Recent History/Winners

    2023: Tony Finau (-24/260); 8-1

    2022: Jon Rahm (-17/267); 5-1

    Statistical Analysis

    When a course is such a bombers’ paradise, more of a premium is placed on second shots. 

    Strokes Gained: Approach (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Chez Reavie 28.2
    2. Mark Hubbard 22.3
    3. Tony Finau 22.1
    4. Justin Lower 21.8
    5. J.J. Spaun 18
    6. Alex Smalley 17.3
    7. Ryan Moore 17
    8. Callum Tarren 16.8
    9. Aaron Rai 15.6
    10. Doug Ghim 15.4
    11. Brandon Wu 15.1
    12. Jhonattan Vegas 12.7
    13. Taylor Pendrith 12.1
    14. David Lipsky 11.3
    15. Ryan Fox 11.3
    16. Greyson Sigg 11.3
    17. Michael Kim 11.1
    18. Carson Young 10.9
    19. Ben Kohles 10.8
    20. Chesson Hadley 10

    Most of the approaches are anywhere from 150-200 yards with the emphasis on the longer second shots. 

    Proximity Gained 175-200 Yards (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Justin Lower 11.02
    2. Chez Reavie 9.68
    3. Greyson Sigg 9.49
    4. Ryo Hisatsune 9.21 (12 rounds)
    5. Bronson Burgoon 9.08
    6. Austin Eckroat 8.41
    7. Alexander Björk 7.65 (23 rounds)
    8. Charley Hoffman 7.26
    9. Stephan Jaeger 7.24
    10. J.J. Spaun 7.22
    11. Carson Young 7.18
    12. Ben Kohles 7.17
    13. Josh Teater 6.77
    14. Vincent Norrman 6.72
    15. Jhonattan Vegas 6.58

    42% of approaches at Vidanta are from over 200 yards. 

    Proximity Gained 200+ Yards (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Carson Young 21.41
    2. Harrison Endycott 17.16
    3. J.J Spaun 17.05
    4. Thorbjørn Olesen 16.67
    5. Cameron Champ 16.45
    6. Charley Hoffman 16.25
    7. Tony Finau 15.1
    8. Ryan Palmer 14.1
    9. MJ Daffue 13.86
    10. Ben Taylor 13.51
    11. Davis Thompson 13.35
    12. Alex Smalley 12.44
    13. Sam Stevens 12.26
    14. Bronson Burgoon 12.2
    15. Alejandro Tosti 12.13 (19 rounds)
    16. Henrik Norlander 11.49
    17. Callum Tarren 11.42
    18. Michael Kim 10.47
    19. Justin Suh 10.27

    Note: Average feet gained toward the hole from the shot distance. 

    The fairways at Vidanta are some of the widest on tour. Players will use the driver frequently here. 

    Driving Distance Gained (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Chris Gotterup 20.88
    2. Cameron Champ 20.31
    3. Kevin Dougherty 16.65 (16 rounds)
    4. MJ Daffue 15.04
    5. Alejandro Tosti 14.7 (22 rounds)
    6. Jake Knapp 13.93 (22 rounds)
    7. Callum Tarren 13.69
    8. Garrick Higgo 13.38
    9. Paul Barjon 12.34
    10. Jhonattan Vegas 12.15
    11. Taylor Pendrith 12.12
    12. Norman Xiong 12.06 (30 rounds)
    13. Joseph Bramlett 11.31
    14. Pierceson Coody 11.11 (28 rounds)
    15. Patrick Rodgers 10.71
    16. Nicolai Højgaard 10.71
    17. Chan Kim 10.14
    18. Keith Mitchell 10.1

    Through two years, Vidanta is the easiest course on tour on which to gain strokes around the green. Because the ball tends to sit on top of the Paspalum combined with slower greens, less touch is needed when chipping, which should make the short game much easier.

    Birdie Or Better Gained (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Justin Suh 26.4
    2. Garrick Higgo 25.3
    3. Thomas Detry 23.7
    4. Stephan Jaeger 21.5
    5. Erik Van Rooyen 20.7
    6. Nicolai Højgaard 18.2
    7. SH Kim 17.7
    8. David Skinns 17.2
    9. Taylor Pendrith 15.1
    10. MJ Daffue 14.4
    11. Davis Thompson 13.6
    12. Ryan Fox 13.2
    13. Mark Hubbard 12.5
    14. Michael Kim 11.2
    15. Harry Hall 10.8
    16. Nate Lashley 10.4
    17. Chad Ramey 10.2

    Two of the par-5s are over 600 yards, so not everyone will reach in two shots. Players can still score on these par-5s even with short wedges on the third shots. 

    Strokes Gained Par-5s (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Doug Ghim 25.1
    2. Erik Van Rooyen 17
    3. Taylor Pendrith 16.2
    4. Mark Hubbard 14.6
    5. Stephan Jaeger 14.4
    6. Tony Finau 14
    7. Jhonattan Vegas 13.2
    8. Thomas Detry 12.8
    9. Garrick Higgo 11.9
    10. Scott Stallings 11.3
    11. Harrison Endycott 11.1
    12. Nate Lashley 11
    13. SH Kim 10.7
    14. Michael Kim 10.4
    15. J.J. Spaun 10.3
    16. Victor Perez 9.4
    17. Josh Teater 9

    Even though Vidanta is a long and open course, it is about mid-pack in terms of scoring difficulty on the PGA Tour with the second most bunkers and fifth most water danger holes. 

    Bogey Avoidance (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Taylor Pendrith 26.1
    2. Chesson Hadley 20.9
    3. Ryan Moore 18.2
    4. Ryo Hisatsune 16.4 (25 rounds)
    5. Greyson Sigg 16.4
    6. Mark Hubbard 13.5
    7. Aaron Baddeley 12.8
    8. Henrik Norlander 12.3
    9. Stephan Jaeger 11.7
    10. Ryan Palmer 10.9
    11. Vincent Whaley 10.6
    12. Tyler Duncan 10.5
    13. Doug Ghim 9.9
    14. Aaron Rai 9.7
    15. Keith Mitchell 9.6
    16. Scott Stallings 9.1
    17. Joseph Bramlett 8.5
    18. Davis Thompson 8.2

    Sand Saves Gained (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Carl Yuan 6.7
    2. Harry Hall 6.1
    3. Nicolas Echavarria 5.9
    4. Jake Knapp 5.8 (22 rounds)
    5. David Skinns 5.3
    6. Ryan Brehm 5.1
    7. Ryan Fox 5
    8. Taylor Pendrith 4.9
    9. Ryan Moore 4.7
    10. Ben Silverman 4.6
    11. Roberto Diaz 3.9
    12. Chesson Hadley 3.4
    13. Matt Wallace 3.3
    14. Patton Kizzire 3.1
    15. KH Lee 3.1
    16. Ryan Palmer 3

    The greens here are large and actually were in the top 10 for putting difficulty inside 15 feet. 

    Three-Putt Avoidance (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Taylor Pendrith 10.6
    2. Nicolai Højgaard 9.8
    3. Aaron Baddeley 9.6
    4. Chesson Hadley 9
    5. Charley Hoffman 8.5
    6. Victor Perez 7.9
    7. Mackenzie Hughes 7.7
    8. Austin Eckroat 7.4
    9. Tyler Duncan 6.9
    10. James Hahn 6.8
    11. Jake Knapp 6.7 (22 rounds)
    12. Carson Young 6
    13. Ben Kohles 5.9
    14. Ryan Moore 5.7
    15. Emiliano Grillo 5.2
    16. Ryan Palmer 5.1

    Vidanta is the sixth-longest course on the tour. 

    Strokes Gained: Long Courses (Last 36 rounds)

    1. Sam Stevens 45.7 (22 Rounds)
    2. Jhonattan Vegas 43.8
    3. Nate Lashley 38.5
    4. Tony Finau 35.9
    5. Kevin Chappell 33.3
    6. Thomas Detry 32.3
    7. Ryan Palmer 29.6
    8. J.J Spaun 29
    9. Matt Wallace 28.2
    10. Nicolai Højgaard 23.1 (17 rounds)
    11. Nicolas Echavarria 22.7 (16 rounds)
    12. Rafael Campos 22.7
    13. Aaron Baddeley 22.5
    14. Josh Teater 22

    Selections

    Keith Mitchell (25-1, Circa Sports)

    Mitchell is off to a good start in 2024, making four of five cuts with a top-10 and two top-20s. 

    He ranks fourth on the PGA Tour this season for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. 

    He was runner-up in 2018 at Corales Puntacana, so he is comfortable on the Paspalum.

    Davis Thompson (35-1, DraftKings)

    Thompson ranks 14th on the PGA Tour for Strokes Gained: Approach and Top 25 for Strokes Gained: Putting. 

    He is aggressive off the tee on a course that rewards that. 

    His recent finishes of 15th at the WM Phoenix Open and 21st at the American Express show signs of good form. 

    Maverick McNealy (60-1, BetMGM)

    McNealy has made four of five cuts thus far in 2024 after missing the majority of 2023 with a shoulder injury. 

    He finished sixth two weeks ago at the WM Phoenix Open. 

    He has three top-12 finishes at Mayakoba, so he has good results on the Paspalum. 

    Jhonattan Vegas (66-1, BetMGM)

    Vegas missed most of 2023 with an elbow injury but returned to play late in the calendar year with a 17th at the Australian Open.

    While he missed the first three cuts of 2024, he finished 22nd in Phoenix, ranking sixth for overall Ball Striking.

    He has a good history in tropical climates and on Paspalum: ninth (2020) and second (2021) at Grand Reserve Country Club (Puerto Rico Open); 18th (2021) and fourth (2022) at Corales Golf Club.

    Sam Stevens (70-1, Bet Rivers)

    Stevens’ rookie campaign last year saw him finish a respectable 65th in the FedEx Cup points. 

    Aside from his runner-up at the Valero Texas Open, his best performances last year were both on Paspalum with a third at Corales Puntacana and a 15th in Puerto Rico. He also finished ninth on this course in 2021 on PGA Tour Latinoamerica. 

    He ranks 16th for Driving Distance this season and should like this longer track with wide fairways. 

    Robert MacIntyre (125-1, BetMGM)

    MacIntyre has missed four of his last five cuts largely due to poor putting. 

    Currently ranked No. 71 in the OWGR, he is a big price on a course where he can attack relentlessly with the driver.

    DP World Tour players see Paspalum more frequently than the PGA Tour, so MacIntyre is very familiar. 

    Placement market, matchup wagers, and any additional futures adds will be available Wednesday at VSiN.com/picks

    Wes Reynolds
    Wes Reynolds
    Wes Reynolds writes a weekly golf column and contributes NFL and college football best bet write-ups throughout the season. He is the co-host of VSiN Tonight (9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET, M-F), The Lookahead (Sunday nights), and the Long Shots golf podcast. He has a Masters in Athletic Administration and Sport Management from Indiana University and previously worked in sales and marketing for the Indiana Pacers, Indiana U., and the Indiana Firebirds (AFL).

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