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2022 Mexico Open Round 2 Buys & Fades: Morning Wave With Edge into Friday

2022 Mexico Open Round 2 Buys & Fades: Morning Wave With Edge into Friday article feature image
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Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Charles Howell III

Jon Rahm is undoubtedly the best player in the field this week for the inaugural Mexico Open, and he certainly played like it on Thursday. The World No. 2 came out of the gates fast with three consecutive birdies across his 3rd-5th holes of the day.

He never looked back, posting the top round of the day, with a bogey-free 7-under 64.

He isn’t alone though, as six others joined him at that number by the end of the day, including Kurt Kitayama, who did it impressively during the more difficult afternoon wave.

The morning wave had better than a two-shot advantage on the afternoon tee times on Thursday. They played the course at Vidanta Vallarta 1.82 shots under par, while the p.m. players grinded to an average of just short of a half shot over par.

The weather on Friday sets up in a similar way — though the winds may not be as stiff — and I expect it could present a similar draw bias leading into the cut.

I’ll look to take advantage of that in my buys going into Round 2 and will lean towards fades from the afternoon.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

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3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2

I’m going to dive right into the top for the weather edge, as Kitayama had arguably the best round of the day when you compare the scores from morning to afternoon.

He had everything going in his 7-under round, as he gained 2.68 shots on the field with his ball striking and was rolling it well, too. Kitayama didn’t have the clean card that Rahm had on Thursday, as he dropped two shots on the day, but made up for it by birdieing half of the holes on the course.

He’ll get to go right back out on Friday morning in the calm and clean conditions to try to post a number for everyone else to chase heading into the weekend.

Kitayama won’t be scared of the stage at the top of the leaderboard. He was a solo leader after the first round of the Honda Classic earlier this year, and hung strong for a third-place finish.

He is also a two-time winner on the DP World Tour, and this could be the perfect type of event and field for him to break through for something bigger.

I know I said I was going to focus on the players going off in the morning on Friday, but the numbers from Charles Howell III are too good to ignore. He gained better than two shots on the field in both parts of his ball striking on Thursday, as he posted a 5-under 66.

He gained strokes in all aspects of his game tee to green and still stuck in the mix for the first-round lead despite losing about a half shot to the field on the greens.

He will need that ball striking on Friday afternoon to battle through the winds, but these numbers have staying power for the TOUR vet. He lines up as a solid play for a Top-10 type of week at the Mexico Open.

Gary Woodland put together a solid round on Thursday to start his week, as he shot a 4-under round of 67. He gained more than a shot on the field in every aspect of his game tee to green, including 3.54 strokes gained ball striking.

His issue was that he simply couldn’t get any putts to drop, losing more than a stroke and a half to the field with the flat stick. He made less than fifty feet of putts in the first round, with his longest coming from just over 15 feet with everything else coming from 5’2″ or shorter.

The former US Open Champion will get the advantage of going out in the morning on Friday, and despite his abysmal day on the greens, he is just three shots back of the lead.

I expect him to be ready to make a move going into the weekend, and I’ll be looking to buy him in all markets, including the +2500 to win available on BetRivers.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2

Patrick Rodgers is a player that has always had great promise, but he hasn’t quite capitalized on the talent to this stage of his career. He has struggled putting full weeks together this year, as he has yet to capture even a Top-35 finish in 2022 and has made as many cuts (5) as he has missed.

The Stanford alum came out of the gates with a strong round on Thursday, as he posted a 5-under 66. He was solid on the day with his irons and got hot with his putter, but the other parts of his game tee to green were field average.

Rodgers is at least a half shot lower than everyone else in this range in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, and with his struggles this year putting together consecutive rounds, I will put in an early fade on him going into Friday.

One of the more popular picks coming into the week was long hitter Cameron Champ. His length was expected to be a big advantage around this long Par 71 course, and it was, as he gained 2.57 shots on the field.

The problem for Champ was that he gave nearly every one of those shots back on approach, as he lost 2.13 shots with his irons, with 1.43 of those coming at the Par 5 14th. While that makes up a big chunk of his issues, he still lost .60 strokes to the field on approach across the other 17 holes, as well.

He simply can’t contend with only the driver, and as the wind picks up on Friday afternoon, he could be in for a struggle if he doesn’t find something with the irons prior to the round.

I wanted to believe this might be the week we saw Patrick Reed come back to some of the form we are used to from the former Masters Champion.

Unfortunately, Round 1 was really more of the same for him, as he struggled on approach, losing just a bit to the field with his irons. He certainly showed some of his usual magic on and around the greens, as he holed out for birdie from a tough spot in the greenside rough on his opening hole of the day.

The way he is striking the ball right now, he may need too much of that magic, especially if the winds pick up. He’s back to a fade for me until I see some hope and consistency with his ball striking.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 1

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