Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: WGC-Mexico Championship
On the heels of another great week at Riviera Country Club, the PGA Tour heads to Mexico City for the WGC-Mexico Championship. Club de Golf Chapultepec is the host venue, and we'll get another strong field with many of the world's best lining up for the biggest purse of the year outside of the majors and the PLAYERS.
This 7,345-yard par 71 plays at elevation and has featured one of the longest average driving distances of any course on Tour in its short run on the schedule. This is just the fourth year at Chapultepec, and with limited data, we always have to be careful to fall into any sample size traps. That being said, bombing driver is going to be the strategy for most of the field and we have to make sure our picks have upside with that club.
Justin Thomas went wild in the final round by pulling driver pretty much everywhere he could, largely because he was so far back from the lead to start the day that it didn't much matter what he did. We may see a few golfers approach this no-cut event with a similar attitude and go for broke right off the bat. That could be quite risky, as these fairways are heavily lined with trees that will make approaches that much more difficult if they land in the wrong spot.
Air quality and elevation -- and as Eddie Pepperell might attest, the available drinking water -- can always take a toll on golfers not acclimated to such conditions. But the sun will be shining and the field will all deal with the same elements. As a tiebreaker we should favor early starters who should get in before the wind picks up.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Club de Golf Chapultepec
Distance: 7,345 yards
Fairways/Rough: Kikuyu grass
Greens: Poa annua
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
The course played a bit tougher last year than in its first two editions, but any conversation about conditions was muted by the top of the leaderboard, where Dustin Johnson reached 21-under par with only one other golfer better than 11-under. Rory McIlroy was that one, and even he finished five strokes behind DJ. Those two runaways aside, the field was actually packed pretty tightly. Seven golfers were within two strokes of third place, including Thomas after his absurd Sunday.
The course begins and ends on short par 4s, and in fact has seven par 4s under 450 yards. Much of the distance total comes from the 619-yard 6th and 610-yard 11th. The opening stretch will be vital, as the first two holes are routinely among the easiest on the course.
Emphasis on driving, kikuyu rough, poa greens, and an easy first hole? Sounds like we are on repeat from last week at Riviera! It's no wonder DJ has clobbered both events, but while a lot lines up we should be cautious to oversell the similarities. Average driving distance at Chapultepec was more than 40(!) yards longer than at Riviera in 2019, 320.6 to 279.9. Rainy conditions at Riviera last year certainly curtailed distance, but even in the other two installments Mexico has far surpassed Genesis in the rankings. Kapalua and Augusta were brought up as links to Riviera in this space last week, so we can draw some comparisons here, and Quail Hollow proved quite a match with Max Homa and Joel Dahmen in contention right up to the finish.
These stats will be the keys to success in the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
|Key Stats for the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
Distance is less important when everyone is bombing it 300-plus yards, but finding golfers who consistently gain against the field off the tee will always prove valuable in these conditions. We know DJ and McIlroy can get hot with their irons and take over just about any tournament, but both made their hay but crushing their driver and bending courses to their will. Overall ball-striking profiles will require accuracy on approach as well, and these greens are not quite as intimidating to hit into as Riviera's.
The only winners at this event so far have been Johnson and Phil Mickelson (not in the field), and both are big time birdie makers who play an aggressive, all out style. Golfers who go for and make birdies consistently will be the target here more than grinders or scramblers.
We'll target performance on both par 4s and par 5s given the abundance of opportunities and the styles on each hole. In addition to all the short par 4s, we have three over 500 yards. With only three par 5s and two that could not be classified as easy, every single shot on these holes will mean a great deal. Well-rounded golfers can attack any kind of hole, and it's no surprise to see all around studs dot the leaderboard year after year.
Course History Studs
Johnson is the name here, with a win in 2017 to go along with last year. He was also tied for seventh in the only year he hasn't won the event.
McIlroy and Thomas have finished inside the top 10 each year they've played the event, twice for McIlroy and three times for Thomas. JT tied his own course record in the final round last year, matching the 62 he shot in the third round of 2018.
Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, and Xander Schauffele have never finished outside the top 20 at this small field event. As we'd expect for a WGC event, the world's best golfers are the only ones invited, and the cream generally rises to the top.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.