Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Mayakoba Golf Classic

The PGA Tour returns to action this week with one of the strongest fields to ever tackle El Camaleon Golf Course in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The Mayakoba Golf Classic was the first PGA Tour event held in Mexico and has called El Camaleon home since its inception in 2007. The course is a 7,017-yard par 71 designed by Greg Norman bordering on the Mayan River. That means jungle, wetlands, and hot weather are on the menu for PGA Tour pros this week, the final individual stroke play event of 2020 before the holiday layoff.

Brendon Todd won last year, his second consecutive win proving his comeback from outside the world's elite was for real. Todd would go on to last all the way to the TOUR Championship, a testament to the power of the FedEx Cup points in these swing season events. This year a solid field arrives at our neighbor to the south, with top golfers no doubt hoping to book some of those coveted FedEx Cup points to save their legs in what will be a jam-packed season.

Former World No. 1's Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka lead the way, and for an event with a history of unlikely winners, we may be in store for a rout this week if one of the studs is on their game.

Looking ahead this week we can expect wet, soft conditions, with rain having hit over the weekend and in the forecast both before and during the event.

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: El Camaleon Golf Course
Par: 71
Distance: 7,017 yards
Fairways/Rough: Paspalum
Greens: Paspalum

While El Camaleon can certainly be had for a low score -- Todd was the third winner in the past five years to crack 20-under par -- big numbers can torpedo a round in one fell swoop here. Only one golfer in the top 10 had an over-par round for the week, and if your final score on Thursday starts with a seven you'd better come out firing a couple of 65s if you want to sniff the leaderboard. That's easier said than done, and given the hazards and wetlands on site, both birdie and double bogey are in play on a majority of the holes.

Todd double-dipped the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic, so we'll start with Port Royal GC. Brian Gay won this year's Bermuda and lifted the trophy at El Camaleon back in 2008 and was T14 last year, so both editions of the Tour's newest event have overlapped winners with this event. The wet and wild swing season conditions call to mind the prior years of "lift, clean, and place" rules both here and at TPC Kuala Lumpur (the defunct CIMB Classic), which also overlaps winner Pat Perez. By the way, Thomas was a back-to-back champion in Malaysia.

Key Stats

These stats will be key to success in the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Key Stats for the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon GC
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach
Birdies or Better Gained
Strokes Gained: Par 5s
Bogeys Avoided

With no ShotLink data to look back on historically, we'll keep it pretty straightforward here. Ballstriking and scoring are the way to go here, though it is notable that the most recent winners Todd and Matt Kuchar are more known for their accuracy than their length. The Tour is shifting big time, however, and while the hazards will certainly mute some of the reckless abandon off the tee we can still expect to see the field test the limits to try to gain an advantage.

With soft, receptive greens, most golfers will be aggressive on approach and look for those birdie opportunities, the golfers who outperform the field this week will have plenty of make-able birdie putts. Converting those at a high rate is essential, and especially on the par 5s.

For all the talk of scoring, though, the danger is everywhere, and avoiding it will be a key element to keeping pace this week. Last year, defending champion Kuchar shot 69 on Thursday despite two double bogeys, and he fired the low round of the week with a Sunday 62 but still finished eight strokes off Todd's pace thanks to a 73 on Saturday.

Course History Studs

Charles Howell has five top-20 finishes in his past seven trips to El Camaleon, with three of those inside the top 10. His T20 finish last year included a 63 on Saturday, his best career round here.

Russell Knox had three top 10s between 2015-2017, and mid-30s finishes in his other three recent appearances are not eye-popping but do give him a high floor and a good chance to make the cut this week.

Perez will be hard to count on this week coming in with four straight missed cuts, but he likes it here with a win in 2016 and top 10s each of the past two seasons.

Other golfers with multiple top 25s over the past five years include Brice Garnett, Emiliano Grillo, Rickie Fowler, Chez Reavie, Danny Lee, Graeme McDowell, Scott Piercy, Billy Horschel, J.J. Spaun, Harold Varner, and Abraham Ancer.

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.