This week it’s easy to overlook these PGA Tour second division tournaments in favor of the big event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational. On the other hand, these alternative events offer a massive opportunity for both players and bettors. The Puerto Rico Open, which begins this week, provides the less fortunate a tremendous chance to win a PGA Tour event and, more crucially, full playing privileges until the end of 2023/24. Don’t overlook the significance of that award! Another strong field has assembled at the Puerto Rico Open, with Rafa Cabrera Bello, Victor Perez, Kurt Kitayama, and Matthias Schwab contending for the title.
The tournament will be held at Rio Grande’s Grand Reserve Country Club, which was recently renamed. It’s a flourishing Tom Kite-designed Par 72 course on the island’s northern coast. The intensity of the breeze from the Mid-Atlantic and whether tournament organizers decide to move forward tees on a number of the par-5s have a significant role in the tournament’s outcome. The Puerto Rico Open is a completely open event where a wide range of golfers can win against weaker competition.
On to our picks for this year…
Chan Kim +4000
Kim hasn’t played much golf on the PGA Tour this season, but he showed everyone what he was about at the Zozo when he claimed a share of 15th place. This is his first appearance here, but you have to fancy that his solid approach play will suit this golf course. He also knows how to hit the ball a long way. This will undoubtedly be a plus if the par-five tees don’t get brought forward, which is doesn’t look like they will be. He also ranks inside the top ten for eagles per hole this season, which shows me he is a bit of a risk-taker, which all the best golfers in the world are.
Top 5 Finish
Joseph Bramlett +600
Bramlett has played some steady golf over the last month, and as such, he is one of the more fancied players this week. He has played this event over the previous two years, placing ninth two years ago. Bramlett is another player who can bomb the ball off the tee. He has the second-longest drive average on tour this season. If his game holds together this week, he should be there or thereabouts come Sunday evening.
Top 20 Finish
Kevin Chappell +260
Chappell is another who has been steady over the past four to five weeks, and if he can cut the silly errors out of his game, then he could find himself towards the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. Kevin seems to have been around for ages, and I constantly have to remind myself this guy is still only 35 but has a wealth of experience behind him. Despite that, he has only played this tournament once, which was over ten years ago. With so many inexperienced players in the field this week, I am backing the 35-year-old ‘veteran’ to place inside the top 20.