After one of the hardest golf tournaments to ever predict at last week’s Bermuda Championship (well done to those who picked Lucas Herbert) the PGA Tour welcomes back some of its established stars at this week’s World Wide Technology Championship. Headlining the field of those heading to Mexico this week include Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, defending champion Viktor Hovland and local favorite Abraham Ancer.
The 2021 World Wide Technology Championship will take place at El Camaleon which is designed by former Australian World Number 1 Greg Norman. It’s a course that just sneaks over 7,000 yards and will play as par 71 this week. The tournament has been a fixture on the PGA Tour since 2007 and it’s a layout that is demanding and asks numerous questions of the players. The players will experience some holes in the deep jungle before they emerge to oceanside holes where spectators can watch all of the action from the beach.
The keys to success have to be solid driving as players will struggle if they don’t find themselves regularly on the fairway. Past winners include Fred Funk, Brian Gay, Mark Wilson, John Huh, Graeme McDowell, Pat Perez, Matt Kuchar, and Brendon Todd. Last year’s winner Viktor Hovland aside, none of these players are renowned for their big booming driving, so this could be a week to follow the plotters and not the bombers.
We also want to be backing players who can make the most out of any positive positions that they find themselves in off the tee and we will be looking to back players who gain strokes through their approach play.
As usual, we will be providing three selections for this week, looking to get back to winning ways after Kramer Hickox was our only selection who made the cut last week where he would go on to finish in T30
2021 World Wide Technology Championship: PICKS
MAIN BET: ABRAHAM ANCER +1600
Abraham Ancer will be desperate to perform well on home soil. Ancer is one of Mexico’s most recognized sportsmen and he now returns home as a PGA Champion following his victory at the St Jude’s Classic. We like the look of Ancer. This year, through the early knockings of the PGA Tour, he ranks second overall in driving accuracy, and last season he was 23rd on Tour with strokes gained through the approach.
We mentioned earlier in the article that a solid driver and one who can hit positive approaches into the green is what we are looking for as past history dictates that accuracy is a must in order to win at El Camaleon and Ancer ticks these key metrics.
Ancer has been one of golf’s most consistent performers but he heads home full of confidence following a breakthrough year last year. After missing the cut in his first tournament of the year at the Shriners, things returned back to normal with a T14 finish at the CJ Cup. He will be looking to build on that performance in front of his home fans. His record around El Camaleon is decent and in six tournament starts he has two top-ten finishes which we think makes him more than worthy to be this week’s main bet.
DARK HORSE: EMILIANO GRILLO +6500
A player we think could be hugely overpriced is Emiliano Grillo and odds of +6500 just look too big considering some of the metrics and stats he offers.
Firstly, his course record around El Camaleon makes for some pretty good viewing with Grillo finishing in 8th place in last year’s championship. The Argentine has two other top ten finishes back in 2017 and 2018, he is clearly a man that likes it around here.
Looking at his stats it’s easy to see why he has been so successful around El Camaleon. Grillo last year finished 50th on Tour for complete driving accuracy and 12th through strokes gained through approach, so this is a course clearly set up to his strengths. Grillo hasn’t yet hit the heights of last season with his best outing in this young season being T18 at the CJ Cup. However, that could change as he returns to a course and conditions he clearly likes.
It’s worth noting that when Grillo’s game is firing he can be more than a match for anyone, his round of 61 that came earlier in the season is still the lowest round on Tour all year. Odds of +6500 for the win, +1100 for a top 5, and + 500 for a top ten represent some good odds.
LONG-SHOT: CHEZ REAVIE +10000
On a course where bombers don’t necessarily dominate, our long shot for this week is one of the Tours smallest operators Chez Reavie who at odds of +10000 could be a good way to play.
Last year Reavie finished 2nd on Tour for driving accuracy so he should be setting himself up well on most holes this week if his driver is working. He has started this year off well with his approach to the green stats leaving him ranked 9th on Tour.
Reavie has played well at El Camaleon, this will be his seventh appearance, with his best showing being a 4th place finish in 2017. He had a further top 20 finish in 2018 and two top 30 finishes in 2019 and 2020.
Odds of +10000 could be on the long side and we like odds of +1600 for a top-five finish and +700 for a top ten.