Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Mayakoba Golf Classic
After a rare week off highlighted by the President's Cup picks, the PGA Tour is back in action this week at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. El Camaleon Golf Course is the host, situated on the Mayakoba Resort Complex in the Riviera Maya, near popular vacation destinations in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Matt Kuchar was the victor last year, though it was later tainted by an embarrassing tipping scandal where he stiffed the local caddie who carried his bag en route to the win. Kuchar's reputation took a hit, but his season got off to a smashing start that garnered enough FedEx points to sustain him through the season despite a lackluster summer.
El Camaleon is a gorgeous layout that includes wetlands, beaches, and jungles across its 6,987 yards. While the course generally plays well under its par 71 on average, hazards abound. Golfers who stay dry will cruise to a high finish, while those who fail to do so face disaster. Last year's event ranked 8th in total birdies made by the field but also 16th in total double bogeys.
Golfers who would go on to have terrific seasons failed to make the cut here last fall, including Viktor Hovland (albeit in his PGA amateur debut), future winners Corey Conners and Max Homa, and eventual Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im.
There is some rain in the early forecast each day. Keep an eye on the weather for any potential tee advantage if the course is going to play soft.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: El Camaleon Golf Course
Distance: 6,987 yards
|Season||Par||Yardage||Avg Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
After a couple courses with inconsistent (or nonexistent) history, we get another easy track that lives up to its resort status and should make for a more predictable setup and conditions. El Camaleon is one of the most player-friendly tracks on Tour, and last year there was exactly one round over par among the top-25 finishers. Several golfers broke 70 in all four rounds and finished T29 or worse.
We also have a cut this week, but the percentage of players making it will still be higher than a full 156-man field. Only 136 players will tee it up, so about 48% will play the weekend even with the new cut rules in place.
It would seem an obvious link to connect El Camaleon to Chapultepec, the host of the WGC event in Mexico, but in truth, the two courses could not be more different. For one, the Marakoba Resort Complex sits right at sea level, whereas Mexico City is at one of the highest altitudes above sea level that the Tour sees all year. The fields are also on opposite ends of the spectrum, and native papsalum throughout El Camaleon gives it a warm-weather authenticity that the manufactured poa annua at Chapultepec sorely lacks.
We'll be more interested in comparing this venue to easy-ish courses played by similar fields. Swing season tracks like the the Sea Island courses (RSM Classic), the Silverado Resort and Spa North (Safeway Open) make sense, as do mid-summer hosts like TPC Twin Cities (3M Open) and TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic) that attract weaker fields and pose a risk-reward proposition. If you combine the RSM courses, each event ranks inside the top 10 in birdies made, and all except Silverado are top 20 in double bogeys.
These stats will be key to success in the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
|Key Stats for the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon GC|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Strokes gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
We once again do not have ShotLink data to delve into the specific impact of individual shots throughout an event, but the golfers who fit the above can compete almost every week. We can prioritize ballstriking (strokes gained: off the tee plus strokes gained: approach) at the expense of scrambling/around the green. Golfers are either in major trouble and staring bogey (or worse) in the face or are hopping neatly from tee to fairway to green with little danger. Approach gets the edge here based off what we know about the top finishers the past few years, but keeping it in play off the tee sets the table for the second shot.
Putting is important every week, but golfers who are not historically good with the short stick have done fine here, so we can take birdie-making and bogey-avoiding as correlated to putting performance, rather than isolating it and bringing in some additional noise. Making birdies will be essential to keep up with the field, and often we forget that all that work is undone if the next hole is over par. Avoiding bogeys is the only way to keep up in a birdie fest.
There are only three par 5s, but each has at least a 36% birdie rate, according to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club. Top-10 finishers gained about 0.20 strokes on par 5s compared to 0.14 strokes on par 4s and 0.12 on par 3s.
Course History Studs
Russell Knox skipped last year but had finished T9, 3rd, and T2 the three years prior. He fits the ballstriking bill and makes a ton of sense at this event.
Brice Garnett and Danny Lee are similar in that they are inconsistent but prone to hot streaks that carry them to high finishes a few times each year. They've each booked several such finishes at Mayakoba, with Garnett posting three top-10s in the past five years, and Lee posting two top-5s.
Scott Piercy and Emiliano Grillo are two more elite ballstrikers (especially irons!) who have shown well here. Piercy has played three times in the past five years and finished T6, T4, and T16, while Grillo has been here each of the last three years and turned in 15th, T9, and T10.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.