In addition to the WGC Match Play, the PGA Tour has another event taking place in Punta Cana this week. The Corelas Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be played at, you guessed it, the Corales Golf Glub in Puntacana.
This is very much a second-rate event, since the majority of the top players are playing in the WGC event, but there are some nicely sized DK contests, so I will be firing a few lineups. It will be a stroke play tournament with a 132 player field, where top 70 and ties will make the cut and play the weekend.
This course was home to a Web.com event the past two years before moving to the PGA Tour this season. Nate Lashley was the winner last year, posting a score of -20, and he will be in the field again this year. There are some familiar names playing in this event that did not make the cut for the WGC, but they are priced accordingly. Also, Tony Romo, will be getting a lot of chatter this week as he is playing on a sponsors’ exemption, but I am not expecting him to compete.
The Corales course is a 7,600 yard par 72 with four par 3’s and four par 5’s. The par 3’s are all very long, 200+ yards, which makes scoring on the par 5’s a necessity. The course is very long, but the fairways are wide and the rough is not very punishing. If that does not sound easy enough, the paspalum greens are soft and slow, allowing players to be aggressive on the approach.
As we saw with the winning score at -20 last year on the web.com tour, this should be a bit of a scoring fest. This course should set up well for the bombers and players who can score in bunches. The final three holes are meant to be the toughest, hence their “Devils’ Elbow” nickname, but I wouldn’t expect them to be anything like the Bear Trap we saw earlier this year.
The course is played along the Caribbean ocean and will provide some fantastic scenery during tournament. Wind could play a bit of a factor with it being along the coast and that maybe be worth monitoring up to lock.
As I highlighted above, this is a long course that is susceptible to a lot of scoring, so the main stats I look at will be based around those factors.
- Driving Distance (20-25%)
- SG Approach (15-20%)
- SG OTT (15-20%)
- Par 5 Scoring (10-15%
- Birdie or Better Percentage (10-15%)
- DK Scoring (10-15%)
It will be important when looking at the model to see the number of rounds that are being used to determine the rank. There are a lot of unfamiliar players, so you want to make sure that you are using good data when evaluating players. Here is a look at the ranks for my model early in the week:
I think it is also good to get an idea of how these players have been playing recently in order to try find some good form in the field. I will be looking at some rolling strokes gained data in order to determine how a player has been trending.
This is an interesting tournament for a number of reasons, but first and foremost is the fact that we do not have much data or history for the event. I have a feeling that the majority of people playing in these DK contests will gravitate towards names that they know. There are a number of players that play in legit PGA Tour events that are playing here and I expect them to be chalky.
I also expect everyone to be evaluating and weighing the same statistics for player selection. We know this looks to be an easy, bombers course, so it is important to remember that the majority of people will gravitate toward those types of players.
I am not going to get overly worried about ownership for this event because it is going to be very difficult to predict. The main strategy I will employ for differentiation will be to leave some money on the table. I will also try to mix and match the guys who I know will be chalky with some lower owned plays that still have good upside.
With so much expected scoring, it is feasible that players will out-score their placement points, meaning you do not necessarily need to have the a bunch of top-10 finishes to win a GPP. Try not to over think too much and make sure to take the clear class of the field.
*Disclaimer – these are done early in week and may be subject to change as ownership projections evolve*
Patrick Rodgers ($10,000) – He rates out well in my model, especially in driving distance and scoring in easy conditions. He has been playing very well this year, in much stronger fields, and I could see him getting his first win in an easy event. Not to mention his price tag gives you some nice savings off the very top guys.
Rory Sabbatini – ($10,400) – Rory is great off the tee as well as scoring on the course in easier conditions. We have seen him on some leaderboard’s in tough fields this year and I think he could put up a good showing here. Like Rodgers he offers a nice savings in the higher price range of players.
Robert Garrigus ($9,000) – He is a bomber who can score, and from what we know about this place, that is the ideal player. He commonly finds himself near the top of the leaderboard in weaker field events, not to mention a respectable finish at the Valspar a few weeks ago. He also is a player that has the ability to out-score his final placement.
Trey Mullinax ($8,800) – Bomber. Scorer. Repeat. I expect Trey to be chalky this week, but I also could easily see him winning this event, so it will be chalk that I am willing to eat. He rates out great in the model and I see no reason to fade.
Kevin Tway ($8,000) – Another bomber who scores well on par 5’s. He has been struggling a bit on the approach this year, but with the wide fairways and easy greens, I think he can overcome that this week. Not completely sure what to expect for him in terms of ownership, but if it is sub 15%, I will be overweight.
Harold Varner III ($7,800) – Highest rated player in my model and I think he is a step above this class of player. I think he is under-priced for this tournament and he will provide a nice bit of savings when building some rosters. I think he also has winning upside here, so I will have plenty of Varner. With that being said, he can be a volatile player so a GPP play only for me.
Martin Flores ($7,600) – Another GPP play that fits the mold for the type of player I will be going after. If he can get through the cut, he has the ability to put up a lot of DK points regardless of his finishing place. I won’t be wildly over exposed, but I will definitely have some Flores.
Bronson Burgoon ($7,300) – I’d be lying if I said I knew much about this guy, but he rates out very well in my model. He seems to have the ability to put up a lot of DK points and has some decent distance off the tee. Hopefully his ownership will not get too high.
Tommy Gainey ($6,700) – I really know nothing about this guy and he will strictly be a GPP Dart for me. There is not much I like at all in this price range and his stats rate out decently. If I need this much savings, I may look to Tommy Gainey in large field GPPs.
Last Minute Update
I was scrolling twitter and came across this tweet from Zac Blair, talking about a risk reward shot on 18. I thought it was validating the thought that this would be a bombers course, but he has a different opinion that it is more of a ball strikers course.
The course is very long, but a lot of that length comes on the par 3’s, so it may not necessarily only benefit bombers. I still believe having a wedge into the green vs. a longer iron will lead to more scoring, but I am building a model for ball strikers as well.
I plan to use this model to find some players that overlap as well as to hopefully identify some lower owned plays. We still do not have enough definitive data to determine what exactly is the perfect course profile, but I will defer to the professional golfer who is playing in the tournament this week.
Here is a look at the top 30 players that fit my model for more of a ball strikers course.
Shoutout to Zac Blair for responding to me on twitter and providing his insight on the course. Love it.
I normally would probably not play this event, but DK forced my hand by making some decent sized tournaments. There is so much variance in the match play event as well, that I am hoping to balance it out with some success here.
As I said above, I expect there to be a large concentration of ownership on players who people are familiar with and who regularly get starts on the PGA Tour. That does not mean I am going to fade those guys, but I will try to get some differentiation around them in order to avoid any duplicates.
I really like a lot of players in the $7-8K range, so I will probably be looking to make some more balanced lineups. Again, if this plays as we expect, golfers will be able to out-score their finishing place with DK points, so identifying some scorers could be key. It is a standard event, so most likely will need 6/6 through the cut to be in contention, do not forget about that.
Good luck and as always, thanks for reading!