OHL Classic at Mayakoba Betting Preview

John Huh (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

John Huh (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

The last FedEx Cup points event of 2013 goes this week in Mexico, as John Huh is set to defend his title at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

2013 OHL Classic at Mayakoba Fact Sheet

  • Course: El Camaleon Golf Club
  • Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
  • Yardage: 6,987 yards, par 71
  • Defending Champion: John Huh
  • Five Consensus Favourites: Ryan Moore, Harris English, Charles Howell III, Matt Every and Charley Hoffman

TV Schedule

  • Thursday – 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Sunday – 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)

Key Storyline This Week

Let’s get one thing out of the way: this field isn’t all that good. With the final event on the European Tour, the DP World Tour Championship, happening in Dubai, plus the Aussie Masters at the fantastic Royal Melbourne, Mayakoba doesn’t have a lot going for it this week. Realistically, the only people who will probably be tuning in to this one are the most hardcore of golf fans. Ryan Moore, the recent winner of the CIMB Classic and the 31st ranked player in the world, is the top-ranked player in the field this week.

This year, the tournament was moved from February to November instead of being opposite the WGC-Accenture Match Play, so there’s a chance that the course plays a little differently this year than it has in the past. As mentioned above, this is the last chance for players to get a leg up in the FedEx Cup before the calendar turns to 2014. Jimmy Walker currently holds the lead with 684 points, with Moore, Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk and Dustin Johnson rounding out the top five.

El Camaleon Golf Club

The Greg Norman designed El Camaleon is a good little course with plenty of scenic views. There’s lots of variance, too. From PGATour.com:

The 7,039-yard El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, designed by Greg Norman, offers a unique layout. The course bends through three distinct landscapes – tropical jungle, dense mangroves, and oceanfront stretches of sand with holes bisected by massive limestone canals. Norman even incorporated a cenote, a massive, ancient cavern common to the area, into the heart of the opening fairway. And as in all Norman projects, he has balanced the course to make it enjoyable for golfers of all abilities. From the tips, El Camaleon is a major league test; however, each hole is sprinkled with a minimum of five tee blocks, so there is a distance for every player.

John Huh’s winning score last year of 13-under par came with the field playing the course to an average of 71.65 strokes, the highest average in tournament history, but the course did play as a par-70 for the first three years on tour. Considering how new the course is to the PGA Tour, there really isn’t much of a pattern for success here, so following the same pattern of last week where we were looking at players who don’t make too many mistakes, appears to be the way to go. Golfing World took a look at the course a few weeks ago in their Course Report series, which you can watch below.

Thoughts On The Favourites

  • Ryan Moore: First time on the course for Moore, who after winning the CIMB a few weeks ago, finished tied for 50th at the WGC-HSBC Champions before taking last week off. Has only posted two rounds above 74 since the U.S. Open.
  • Harris English: English is also making his first trip to El Camaleon, so it’s a little surprising to see his name appearing this high. Followed up a top-10 at the CIMB with a decent performance last week at the McGladrey Classic where he was over par in only one of his four rounds.
  • Charles Howell III: Howell is continuing his trend of good early season play, even if this is really the end of the season for him and the start of one on the PGA Tour. His form has been exactly the same as English over the last two events, but he’s got a good record at the course, finishing inside the top-20 in three of his four appearances.
  • Matt Every: Every had a good finish last week at the McGladrey, getting in with a T7, and much like Howell, he’s got a good history here at Mayakoba. He finished tied for 3rd here last year, and was playing well in his last start in 2010 before getting DQ’d for signing an incorrect scorecard. He’s a streaky player, so you could be getting some good value here.
  • Charley Hoffman: Hoffman listed as one of the favourites makes no sense to me. Yes, he played well at the Shriners a few weeks ago, but that’s really all he’s got over the past five months that show any kind of form. His lone appearance at Mayakoba last year yielded a tie for 69th.

Suggested Plays

Tim Clark (Best Odds 41-1 at Spreadex)

We came close to a win last week with Clark at over 100-1, with him having a stellar final round 62 to end up only one back of Chris Kirk. He has never played the course before, but that tends to matter less when you strike the ball like Clark does. I said last week that it shocks me that Clark only has one PGA Tour win, but I think there’s a good chance that changes this week.

Brian Gay (Best Odds 41-1 at Stan James)

Gay is a previous winner at the course, having done so in 2008 but he’s also followed that up with a pair of top-20’s. In 20 rounds at the course, he’s only been above 72 twice, and is coming off of a T4 last week at the McGladrey.

Chris Stroud (Best Odds 42-1 at Betfair)

Stroud is on a lot of punters lists this week, and it makes sense, as he’s finished inside the top-5 in each of the last two years here. Missed the cut at the McGladrey, but did finish tied for third in his previous start at the CIMB.

Daniel Summerhays (Best Odds 51-1 at bwin)

Summerhays is still looking for his first PGA Tour win, and it nearly happened here last year when he held the lead going into the final round before ending up tied for fifth after a 73. Got back into the top-10 last week for the first time since July after firing four rounds in the 60’s.

John Senden (Best Odds 52-1 at Betfair)

It’s amazing what happens when Senden putts well, since he had a chance to win on Sunday at the McGladrey but ended up settling for a tie for fourth. He’s a great ball striker who probably should’ve had more success so far in his career, but he’s also incredibly streaky and even though he’s never played here before, I think he’s worth a shot coming off of last week.

Kevin Stadler (Best Odds 56-1 at Betfair)

In addition to Clark and Senden, I also took Stadler last week who played in the final group with Kirk and Briny Baird, but couldn’t keep up after firing a 71 and ending up tied for 10th. He’s becoming a very consistent player on the PGA Tour though, and much like Summerhays, he’s still looking for that first PGA Tour win. Four top-20 finishes in six appearances at the course.

Alvaro Quiros (Best Odds 71-1 at Betfair)

Quiros is the polar opposite of the guys mentioned above in that he’s a real wildcard. If he’s on, he’s a really dangerous player, but since coming back from wrist surgery earlier this year, he hasn’t been all that consistent. He should be well rested though since he hasn’t played since the Portugal Masters in early October, and his lone appearance here yielded a T28 back in 2008.

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