Winter is coming. And with it, the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year.
The Mayakoba Golf Classic will be contested at El Camaleón GC, a 7,039-yard par-71 designed by Greg Norman, which has hosted the tournament since 2007. El Camaleón is unique among PGA Tour venues in that driving accuracy is more predictive of player performance than distance. In fact, none of the last five winners cracked the top-100 in driving distance for the 2020 season. The five most recent champions also posted an average score of -20 to take home the hardware so, as it was at the RSM Classic, low scoring will be paramount and one mediocre day can knock a player out of contention.
The RSM Classic two weeks ago also demonstrated the value that large fields can offer. Beyond Robert Streb (1,463% ROI), Patton Kizzire, John Huh, and Charley Hoffman (all past winners at Mayakoba) generated +275%, +235%, and +147% ROI respectively without even cracking the top-10. We have another large 132 man field this week so there are plenty of opportunities to end the year with a profit!
To do that, we must first see who looks like they will outperform their IPO pricing:
Although he produced comfortable top-10s in his last two starts, I see three solid reasons to fade Koepka this week. First, the next major is four months away. Second, he ranks 225th on Tour in driving accuracy this season which will cause many more problems than it did at Augusta. And third, there are cheaper players with higher floors right behind him. Given his recent form, it’s likely that he will IPO for even more than his $9.62 fair value so I would put my money elsewhere.
But where? Great question! The answer is Justin Thomas, but if thats not enough…
Harris English won the Mayakoba Classic in 2014 and finished 5th last year. He also has three top-10 finishes this season and finished strong last week with a 62 on Sunday.
Daniel Berger hasn’t played in over a month so hopefully everyone forgets that he is the 13th ranked player in the world. Besides the Masters (which he didn’t qualify for when the field was set early in 2020) Berger has played the three most competitive events of the season and his worst finish is T34 at the U.S. Open. I fully expect Berger to remind everyone just how good he is this week.
Abraham Ancer finished T8, T21, and T9 in his last 3 appearances at Mayakoba. He also hasn’t missed a cut this year and has more experience than anyone else in our top-10 at this venue.
Corey Conners may not be as popular as those listed above him, but he is coming off of back to back T10 finishes at The Masters and RSM Classic. He is also the most accurate driver of this group, ranking 10th on tour.
Reavie hasn’t cracked the top-25 (though he came close with a T29 at Augusta) since he finished T3 at the Safeway Open to start the season. This is the week for Reavie, who is 8th in the field in strokes gained approach, to turn it all around. His worst finish at Mayakoba in the last four years is T26 and it should be possible to invest in Reavie for under $5.00 given his recent performances.
Welcome to Valuetown, population: Emiliano Grillo. According to our fair value rankings, a top-35 finish from Grillo will lock in profits. Well, Grillo has done just that in 6 of his 7 appearances this year (he missed the cut at the Houston Open) and he is coming off of a T18 at the RSM Classic, his best finish yet. Oh, Grillo also has three top-15s at Mayakoba and his worst finish is T41.
Harold Varner III
Varner has two top-15s and two missed cuts this year. He also has a T5 and a T6 at Mayakoba to go along with a missed cut and a 58th place finish. Relative to the field, Varner ranks in the top-10 in strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained total so, all things considered, this feels like a good week to harness his high upside.
If you find yourself scrolling aimlessly through the middle of the field on a quest for players to round out your portfolio later today, look no further than ranks 44-51.
Patton Kizzire is on a heater. He placed T24 at the Shriners, T11 in Houston, and T10 last week in the RSM Classic. He also won this event in 2018.
Pat Perez has four missed cuts and a W/D in his last five events. For those still reading, he actually won this event in 2017 and finished 6th and 8th in 2019 and 2020 respectively. If he gets ignored on Wednesday, I would pick up some shares for around $3.00 and no more. If not, look to Brice Garnett ($3.26) instead.
Adam Long has three top-15 finishes this year and finished T2, one stroke behind Brendon Todd, last year in his first appearance at Mayakoba.
Carlos Ortiz is fresh off of his first PGA Tour win at the Houston Open and he tied for second with Adam Long at last year’s Mayakoba Classic.
Russell Knox has the best history of anybody at El Camaleón with three top-10s, a worst finish of 37th, and no missed cuts in seven appearances. He has three top-16 finishes to go along with three missed cuts this year.
After multiple appearances in the “quick hits” section, it’s time I give the 24-year old stud a full paragraph. Ghim has four top-25 finishes in five events this year which has translated into an average return of +183.14% ROI in that time. His $4.00 IPO last week was his highest by far, signaling the end of his time as an extremely undervalued investment. However, with a breakeven rank of 43.2, Ghim still has plenty of upside this week.
Finally, there are a few players at the bottom of our rankings that are great investments since a made cut means profits.
Camilo Villegas and Akshay Bhatia both rank in the top-10 for strokes gained tee-to-green among the field. Camilo will need his putter to behave (he is 268th on tour in SG: Putting) for another strong finish while Bhatia qualified on Monday with a 66 and will look to repeat that for another four rounds.
Andy Ogletree was the low amateur at this year’s Masters and if he can make the cut at Augusta, there is little reason not to trust him this week for $1.61.
So there it is, the last PGA preview of 2020. A lot of names because there is a lot of value and I don’t want you to miss out! Speaking of FOMO, golf will return in three short weeks, but you don’t have to wait. NFL Markets go down weekly and the NBA season begins December 22nd, so it will be easier than ever to Stay in the Game!