PGA Core Plays – WGC Mexico Championship
February 20-23, 2020
By Derek Hill
The beloved west coast swing is now behind us and we head south of the border for a week before heading to Florida for the next month. The WGC-Mexico Championship is being hosted at the Club de Golf Chapultepec for the 4th consecutive year. It is a really fun and unique event. A solid field of 72 players will all get 4 rounds to try to bring home the title as there is no cut this week.
The course sits at an elevation of 7,500 feet which brings a lot of added distance to these players who already hit it a mile. This week the course will be playing at 7,345 yards and par 71. The course has smaller than average greens and has trees lining the fairways. That means that ball striking and SG:Tee-to-Green will be important this week. Just for reference, here are some notable players in the field this week who rank in the top 10 in SG:Tee-to-Green. Don’t be surprised to see these names at the top of the leaderboard.
Here are the guys I like this week:
Top-End Pick: Dustin Johnson
There’s not much not to like about DJ this week. In the 3 WGC-Mexico Championship events held at Club de Golf Chapultepec he has finished 1st, T7, 1st. His victory last year was completely dominant. Rory had an amazing week and still finished 5 strokes behind DJ. For reference, the 3rd place finishers were 10 shots behind DJ. In his 12 rounds at this course, he has shot 66 or better 5 times. While he hasn’t won so far in 2020, he has 3 top 10s in 4 starts.
Other guys I like:
Justin Thomas: While he missed the cut last week at Riviera, that doesn’t change the fact that he has been playing extremely well. Regardless of how he is playing, his track record at Club de Golf Chapultepec makes him a good pick this week. He holds the course record of 62 which he has shot on 2 separate occasions. He has made 64 birdies in 216 holes. He has finished inside the top-10 in all 3 starts on this course. Ranks 6th in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Rory McIlroy: Rory is looking to complete his WGC slam by winning the last of 4 WGC events. Last year he led after the first round when he shot a scorching 63. He led the field in birdies. Unfortunately he just made more bogeys (or worse) than DJ. He also had a top 10 here in 2017. Although he faded last Sunday, he still finished in the top 5 for the 5th consecutive start. Ranks 1st in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Others to consider: Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama
Mid-Tier Pick: Tommy Fleetwood
I know he is a bit of an expensive mid-tier pick, but there are a lot of top-end plays with a smaller field and many of the top ranked players in the world. That being the case, I would consider Fleetwood more of an upper Mid-Tier pick rather than a cheap top-end. We haven’t seen him play an official PGA Tour event since the WGC-HSBC Champions event last November. However, he has been playing, and playing well. He has a win, 2 seconds, and a T11 in worldwide competition. He has 3 top-20 finishes at this course including a 2nd place finish in 2017. He has gone low frequently here with 5 of his 12 rounds coming in at 64 or better.
Other mid-tier guys I like:
Sergio Garcia: Garcia has been good here, and has gotten better each year. He finished 12th here in 2017 then followed that up with a 7th and 6th place finish over the next 2 years.
Tyrrell Hatton: Similar to other international players, it has been a while since he has played a tour event. Hatton has a strong track record on this course. He has finished 10th, 3rd, and 19th at this event since it moved to Mexico. 11 of his 12 rounds here have been under par.
Others to Consider: Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Colin Morikawa
Value Play: Carlos Ortiz
A common pick for me lately largely due to his consistent play. He has only missed 1 cut in his last 10 starts on tour. Not only does he get to play in his native Mexico this week, but the course fits him pretty well as he is a solid player from tee to green. I like his chances in his first appearance at this event.
Other guys I like:
Cameron Smith: Smith has been a rollercoaster as of late. Had a win in January and followed it up with 2 consecutive missed cuts in February. Has the short game to convert on birdie chances if he is hitting fairways.
Others to consider: Danny Willett, Branden Grace, Kurt Kitayama, Lucas Herbert
Derek Hill Grew up in rural Utah. Married my his wife, Krista in 2010. Derek and Krista have 2 young daughters. Derek earned an undergrad degree from UVU, a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Weber State University, and Masters in Nursing Anesthesia from Samford University. Derek