For the first time in the 2023 season, the PGA Tour is traveling outside of the United States for an event at Greg Norman's Vidanta Vallarta in Mexico. That brings me to my 2023 PGA DFS: Mexico Open DraftKings Preview.
This is the second consecutive non-elevated event on the PGA Tour. Jon Rahm the defending champion and Tony Finau are the only noteworthy stars making the trip to Mexico for this event.
This course proved to be a bomber's paradise last year. Long hitters like Rahm, Finau, Kitayama, and Cameron Champ all found success in the event last year.
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2023 PGA DFS: Mexico Open DraftKings Preview
The Mexico Open is a non-elevated event sandwiched in the middle of the PGA Tour's easy coast swing. Due to its status and where it takes place on the tour's schedule, there are only three players inside the top 65 in the Official World Golf Rankings teeing it up this week.
Defending champion Jon Rahm returns to defend his victory in the inaugural Mexico Open last year. Rahm enters the event this year fresh off claiming the first major of the season at Augusta National. He regained his world number one ranking in the process and will be a heavy favorite for this event.
Mexico Open Preview
-Weakest field of the year (3 players in the top 50)
-Longest par 4s/5s on Tour
-Afternoon crosswinds like clockwork
-Resort course with teeth - not a birdie-fest
-Wall to wall "sticky" Paspalum
-"Swing as hard as you want" OTT
-44% of approaches from 200+…
— Ron Klos (@PGASplits101) April 25, 2023
The Venue (Vidanta Vallarta)
Going into the inaugural event last season there was plenty of speculation of which type of golfers would find success. The course plays just under 7500 yards at sea level with slow and sticky Paspalum grass throughout. The area is known for high winds due to its close proximity to the Pacific coastline.
The combination of the length and conditions leads to a formula that favors players who carry it far off the tee and have solid long-iron play.
Vidanta Vallarta last year rewarded players who excel from 200 plus yards into greens. I will be looking at players who excel in coastal resort courses due to the heavy winds and slow/sticky Paspalum greens. The success last year of players like Alex Smalley, Patrick Rodgers, Tony Finau, and Jon Rahm proved this narrative to be true.
The most important metrics at Vidanta Vallarta compared to the average Tour course...
-Bombers course - 78% of drives 280+ yds
-Minimal rough penalty on approach
-Average approach distance 202 yds - highest on Tour
-44% of approaches from 200+ yds - only 20% from under 150 yds… pic.twitter.com/tQrFGRo3Pg
— Ron Klos (@PGASplits101) April 24, 2023
- Corales Golf Club
- Coco Beach
- Caves Valley
- TPC Craig Ranch
- Driving Distance
- Proximity 200+ yards
- Birdie or Better Gained
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green(2023 and > 7400 Yard Courses)
- Strokes Gained: Total(Windy Conditions)
- Comp Course History
My 2023 PGA DFS: Mexico Open DraftKings Preview (Lineup)
Jon Rahm ($12,000)
It's almost Jon Rahm vs. The Field in Mexico this week. 👀
More details: https://t.co/YqEwPwOKwX pic.twitter.com/Ms2LjT6BNm
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) April 24, 2023
Jon Rahm is such a heavy favorite this week that it's hard to argue not having him anchor your DraftKings Lineup. He is the defending champion, has four wins this year, and fits all the metrics you look for at this venue. He will be highly owned this week but I think he is needed to anchor your lineup. The key will be filling in the rest of your lineup around him.
Another option in this price range: Tony Finau ($10,700)
Brandon Wu ($8,300)
Wu finished runner-up at this event in 2022. He plays great golf in windy conditions and putts best on Paspalum greens. He is not in great recent form but is not far removed from his back-to-back top 20s at the Honda and Players.
Another option in this price range: Alex Smalley ($8,400)
Matt Wallace ($8,100)
TWO THUMB AMBASSADOR, MATT WALLACE, CLAIMS MAIDEN PGA TOUR WIN https://t.co/V6n8OtjF1d pic.twitter.com/Ify3Gl76dV
— GolfRetailing (@GolfRetailing) April 3, 2023
Wallace won earlier this year at the Corales Puntacana Championship at a comp course with similar conditions. He has two top tens since March and is playing some of the best golf of his career. He excels at playing in windy conditions and is a good long-iron player. I think he has a realistic chance to be in contention come Sunday at this event.
Another option in this price range: Stephan Jaeger ($8,200)
Nate Lashley ($7,700)
Everything's bigger in Texas @valerotxopen pic.twitter.com/ZB4MBug2c4
— Nate. (@NateLashley) March 30, 2022
Lashley is a part of my lineup solely on his success at this venue last year and his history in Puerto Rico. Lashley finished 11th at the inaugural Mexico Open in 2022. He also has a pair of top tens at the Puerto Rico Open over his last two appearances in that event.
Harry Higgs ($7,200)
Last year in Mexico🇲🇽#memories pic.twitter.com/DeHnDBaIIp
— Harry Higgs Legion (@TrackingHiggsy) April 23, 2023
Higgs is a big hitter who has been rounding into form as of late. He's made seven of his last nine cuts including a seventh-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open.
Tano Goya ($6,700)
High fives after the hole-out ✋@TanoGoya showing off his hops. pic.twitter.com/unyCdj3UoO
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 16, 2023
Goya averages over 310 yards off the tee and plays his best golf in windy conditions. He has two top thirty-five finishes at the Puerto Rico Open and the Corales Puntacana this season. His weakness is with the putter but has putted decently on Paspalum greens as of late. If you are going to include Rahm in your lineup. You will need to take a flyer on a player in the middle to low $6,000 price range on DK.
Another option in this price range: Alvaro Ortiz($6,200)
Be sure to check out the rest of our golf content, including my show Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel Tuesday night. Each week, my cohost Allen and I will break down the tournament for that week and give betting/DFS plays.