2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic Odds & Picks: Murphy’s Best Bets at La Camaleon
Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Brendon Todd (center right).
The PGA TOUR is one-quarter of the way through its final stop of 2020 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, and it was an entertaining first round at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Joaquin Niemann and Emiliano Grillo charged out of the gates with 5-under rounds in the windy morning wave. Tom Hoge would match them in the afternoon, but it was Russell Knox who posted the best round of the day with a 6-under 65. Knox had seven birdies and just one dropped shot to take a one-shot lead into Friday. Mexico native and Houston Open winner Carlos Ortiz headlines a group at 4-under, which includes Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland and defending champion Brendon Todd.
Conditions were noticeably tougher for the players on Thursday morning as winds were up to start the day before eventually dying down in the afternoon. It led to the later tee times shooting nearly a half-shot better than the morning players, making the rounds by Grillo, Niemann and Hovland that much more impressive.
We don’t have strokes gained data this week as the TOUR doesn’t take the shotlink system with them outside of the states, so we will rely more on the traditional statistics as we look for the best bets heading into Round 2.
We don’t have strokes gained data this week, but we know the key to this course is hitting fairways and greens. I also feel pretty comfortable in telling you that Todd was likely the best ball striker of the day since he ranked first in fairways and greens hit for Round 1.
Todd mentioned in his press conference on Wednesday how much he likes El Camaleon and that the conditions had it playing just like it did when he won here last year. That’s exactly what you want to hear from a former champion.
I got to see quite a bit of Todd’s first round and he was dialed in with his game, but still left a few shots out there. His best weapon is arguably his putter, and while it was solid today it wasn’t as strong as it could be for a player that ranked 20th in strokes gained putting last season.
I’m willing to take an early bite at Todd at +2000 on DraftKings from three strokes back at a course where he has recently won.
If you’ve been reading my write-ups lately, you know I like to go down the board for good numbers on the chasers following the first round. The first one that stands out for me on Friday is Abraham Ancer. He shot 1-over on Thursday, which has him just outside of the cutline, but it was in the more difficult morning wave.
I know that sounds bleak, but Ancer was actually dialed in with his ball striking on Thursday, ranking sixth in fairways hit and 22nd in greens-in-regulation. Ancer’s issue was that he averaged just short of two putts per hole, ranking 106th in the field. He was also one of the many that got bit in the morning by the wind on the 14th hole, with a double bogey that really got him off on the wrong foot.
I would be concerned for Ancer if the ball striking numbers weren’t so good, but I fully expect a strong bounce-back round from the Mexican tomorrow and at +8000 on DraftKings he can still position himself well for the weekend. He’s had solid results in his career at El Camaleon, and I think this is the time to grab the value before he makes a charge on Friday.
I’m going to stay in that 1-over category and dig even deeper to the player that was my pick to win the week: Russell Henley. This is a bit of a double down for me, but he was uncharacteristically bad through fourteen holes on Thursday. I didn’t see any of his shots to be able to fully analyze what went wrong, but the three penalty shots he took off on three different tee shots tells the story pretty well.
I’m willing to chalk it up as simply a bad day for a player that currently ranks 10th on TOUR in driving accuracy. Henley found it a bit coming down the stretch with two birdies in his final four holes to post a 72 on the day. I’m hoping the momentum to close the round will carry into his start tomorrow morning, and the +8000 odds available on DraftKings seems a bit excessive from just seven shots back with 54 to play.