PickGuru Golf: Mexico Open at Vidanta

PickGuru Golf: Mexico Open at Vidanta

This article is part of our PickGuru Golf series.

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Mexico Open at Vidanta

The Mexico Open dates back to 1944, when the tournament was first played at the Club de Golf Chapultepec. It was sanctioned by several different Tours over the last 20 years, most recently the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. However, for the first time ever, this year's Mexico Open – which will be played on the Norman Signature Course at Vidanta Vallarta – will be an official PGA Tour event.

Profiling the Winner

The course, which was designed by Greg Norman, opened in 2015 and is a width and angles test. The fairways are very generous, but being on the proper side of them will be key when trying to attack the pins. The greens are protected by cavernous bunkers, which will increase the importance of iron play. On a track with unfamiliar greens such as this, ball strikers typically tend to prevail. The putting surfaces will feature Champion Bermuda grass. As far as length, the track is just above average by PGA Tour standards at 7,456 yards. Rain is not expected to fall during the tournament, so we should see some chase in the fairways. The course runs along the Ameca River and is generally pretty exposed to winds that should rise upwards of 20 miles per hour each day. That will place even more emphasis on iron play.

Category Picks

Premium Picks

Players Included: Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, Abraham Ancer

Guru Verdict: Rahm is a massive favorite this week, so there's no real value in picking the Spaniard in this group, particularly with Berger electing to withdraw. I'd rather take a shot on Finau, who is starting to turn things around after a poor start to the season. The Utah native now ranks 17th in SG: Approach and 30th in GIR percentage. Finau will certainly love the wide landing areas, which will allow him to really go after some tee shots and set him up with shorter clubs in.

Front-Runners

Players Included: Cameron Tringale, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed

Guru Verdict: This is a two-horse race between Tringale and Woodland. I'm going with the latter due to his prowess on Bermuda grass, which was the surface used when he notched a pair of T5s and a T21 on the Florida Swing. Woodland also notched a T8 at the Valero Texas Open. The former U.S. Open Champion is gaining strokes in all areas, and he ranks 27th in SG: Approach and 14th in driving distance.

Challengers

Players Included: Kevin Streelman, Matt Jones, Aaron Wise, Sebastian Munoz, Chris Kirk, Brendon Todd, C.T. Pan

Guru Verdict: It's hard to pick against Kirk. The guy ranks ninth this season in SG: Tee-to-Green, which puts him second best in that department in this field. Kirk can be up and down at times, but his consistency when it comes to both striking the ball and hitting shots around the greens makes me feel more comfortable with him than any other player in this category.

UK Lads

Players Included: Graeme McDowell, Aaron Rai, Matt Wallace, Russell Knox, Callum Tarren, Luke Donald

Guru Verdict: This group features several players whose recent form has been spotty at best, and as was the case with Kirk, I think you have to trust the best ball striker. That would be Knox, who ranks 21st in SG: Approach, second in GIR percentage and 13th in proximity to the hole. The Scot is going to give himself a lot more birdie looks than any other player listed alongside him above. With even an average putting week he should take down this group with ease.

Home Run Hitters

Players Included: Lanto Griffin, Cameron Champ, Wyndham Clark, J.T. Poston, Anirban Lahiri, Carlos Ortiz

Guru Verdict: Clark and Lahiri are playing the best in this group, and I'm leaning toward Clark, whose power should come in handy on a pretty wide-open course. The Oregon product made his last four cuts and posted a trio of top-35s over that stretch. Clark in some ways is a poor man's Matthew Wolff, as he ranks third in driving distance and 33rd in putts per hole.

Editor's Note:  Here's some more advice from RW's Len Hochberg and PG's Matt Hardy:

US Contenders

Players Included: Sahith Theegala, Charles Howell III, Adam Long, Chad Ramey, Doug Ghim, Davis Riley

Guru Verdict: Ramey is the sneaky play in this category after finishing T5 in Puerto Rico and winning the Corales Puntacana Championship over the last few weeks. Both those courses present similar challenges to what the players will face at Vidanta. Ramey is 29th this season in proximity to the hole.

American Outsiders

Players Included: Adam Schenk, Vaughn Taylor, Mark Hubbard, David Lipsky, Scott Stallings, Taylor Moore, Brandon Wu, Brian Stuard

Guru Verdict: Wu seems to be trending upward more than anyone else in this category. He had a brutal start to the season, missing the cut in 9-of-10 starts, but he has bounced back with finishes of T3-T33-T28-T21 over his last four PGA Tour starts. Wu competed for titles in college with the likes of Wolff, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland, so he should have what it takes to succeed at the top level, and it appears his confidence is rising.

Wild Cards

Players Included: Alex Smalley, Kramer Hickok, Pat Perez, Peter Uihlein, Scott Piercy, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Michael Thompson

Guru Verdict: Uihlein made the cut in each of his last six starts, something every other player in this category likely won't be able to say be season's end. Uihlein also has the most pop off the tee in this group, but he has really struggled to hit fairways. He should quite enjoy seeing the spacious landing areas at Vidanta.

Ryan's Selections

Premium Picks: Tony Finau
Front-Runners: Gary Woodland
Challengers: Chris Kirk
UK Lads: Russell Knox
Home Run Hitters: Wyndham Clark
US Contenders: Chad Ramey
American Outsiders: Brandon Wu
Wild Cards: Peter Uihlein

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
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