Corales Puntacana Championship: Course Notes, Daily Fantasy Golf Picks, Win Simulations, and Best Bets
This week, we get double the PGA Tour action with the Corales Puntacana running opposite the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event (which starts on Wednesday).
With double-duty on Tour this week, let's not waste any time digging into the Corales Puntacana Championship.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Course Information and Key Stats
Golfers With Great Course History
Daily Fantasy Picks
Corales Golf Course Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,670 (long: ~290 yards longer than the average par 72)
Fairway Acres/Yard: 6.5 (wide)
Average Green Size: 6,000 square feet (average: ~100% of the PGA average)
Green Type: Paspalum Supreme
Past 4 Winning Scores: -12, -18, -18, -18
Past 4 Cut Lines: +1, -3, -2, -1
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better Rate
We've had four years of data from this non-ShotLink setup, and it's taken a score of -18 to win in three of the four. The -12 winning score posted by Joel Dahmen came a year ago during gusty winds.
With 6.5 fairway acres per yard, it's on the high end of space, and datagolf shows an emphasis on driving distance at Corales. The past winners here -- Dahmen, Hudson Swafford, Graeme McDowell, and Brice Garnett -- don't jump off the page as bombers, but a lot of the Tour's biggest hitters don't tee it up here.
I'm opting for strokes gained: off the tee due to the mix of shorter hitters who contend and don't want to rule out good drivers one way or another.
Notably, greens in regulation rate out as harder to hit here than the Tour average, and each of the 12 golfers who finished T9 or better here a year ago were inside the top 17 in greens in regulation.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
Past winners in the field include all four so far on the PGA Tour: Joel Dahmen (2021), Hudson Swafford (2020), Graeme McDowell (2019), and Brice Garnett (2018). Also, Nate Lashley (2017) and Dominic Bozzelli (2016) won here when this was a Korn Ferry Tour (then Web.com Tour) event.
The following golfers have at least 8 rounds at Corales on the PGA Tour with an adjusted strokes gained average of at least 0.5, via DataGolf: Joel Dahmen (+1.49), Hudson Swafford (+1.36), Kramer Hickok (+0.92), Brice Garnett (+0.74), Graeme McDowell (+0.73), Kelly Kraft (+0.71), Alex Smalley (+0.62).
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their Golf odds win odds.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets
The betting favorite, Jhonattan Vegas (+1600), is actually a tad undervalued, according to the simulations. He should be closer to 12/1 than 16/1, so I'll start my betting card there.
Elsewhere, we're seeing a few mid-range options overperform the betting odds: Alex Smalley (+3300), Aaron Rai (+4000), Wyndham Clark (+5000), and Vincent Whaley (+8000). I like all of these guys for DFS and outright bets.
They're all good top-10 bets, as well. Speaking of top-10s, here are the ones that jump out otherwise: Nick Taylor (+490), Greyson Sigg (+500), Trey Mullinax (+900), Hudson Swafford (+500), and Patrick Rodgers (+450).
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the Corales Puntacana Championship
All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Jhonattan Vegas (FanDuel Salary: $11,900 | Golf odds Win Odds: +1600) - Jhonattan Vegas is just rating out as the best play. He's pretty easily the best long-term golfer in the field over the past year in my database and leads the field in adjusted off the tee play while also ranking in the 94th percentile in iron play and the 99th percentile in distance gained. It's the right recipe to continue playing good golf at Corales, where he has two top-26 finishes.
Alex Smalley ($10,300 | +3300) - Smalley's PGA Tour data is promising. That includes the quickly-stabilizing driving distance (81st percentile), and he is in the 94th percentile in greens in regulation gained, as well. Smalley has two straight top-25 finishes at Corales and, per my model, ranks as the third-best value among the $10,000-plus tier behind the two highest-salaried golfers in the field.
Others to Consider:
Joel Dahmen ($11,800 | +1800) - Great course form and just a tick below Vegas for me.
Matthias Schwab ($10,900 | +2900) - T7 in each of his past two starts and a good all-around player relative to this field.
Nicolai Hojgaard ($10,100 | +3300) - Two missed cuts on the PGA Tour came in tougher conditions than this (Honda and Arnold Palmer). Could be forgotten.
Hudson Swafford ($9,400 | +4500) - The Swafficer is a former winner at Corales (2020) and has the form to contend again. He's long off the tee relative to this field and is one of just nine golfers in the field to hold 80th-percentile-plus marks in off-the-tee and approach play over the past year.
Aaron Rai ($9,900 | +4000) - Rai is another golfer to sit in the 80th percentile or better in both ball-striking stats. His form has some low-end results and missed cuts, but it's hard to overstate how big a drop-off this field is compared to something like the Arnold Palmer. Rai's due for some putting regression.
Others to Consider:
Greyson Sigg ($9,600 | +4000) - T48 last week at Valspar from putting but typically a good iron player (87th percentile). Bet down from 70 to 40.
Hao-Tong Li ($9,100 | +4500) - Only five events in 2022 but four of them are top-33 finishes with a T3 at the Ras al Khaimah and T12 at Sony Open.
Tyler Duncan ($9,100 | +5000) - T35 in Puerto Rico and T25 at Valspar. Probably a bit undersalaried but not flawless.
Wyndham Clark ($8,800 | +5000) - Clark is one of the longest drivers on the PGA Tour (97th percentile in this field) and is in the 80th percentile in adjusted strokes gained off the tee in the field, as well. Clark is a pretty solid putter also and isn't putting above baseline, so I think he's a pretty elite value play this week. He's the best golfer in the sub-$9,000 range pretty easily (0.20 strokes per round above baseline; only one other golfer is better than -0.35 in this tier). In fact, Clark is second in long-term strokes gained compared to all golfers below $10,000, too. He's been bet down from 65/1 to 50/1.
Vincent Whaley ($8,000 | +8000) - The other golfer who stands out in terms of long-term form? That'd be Whaley (0.08). Whaley is long (77th percentile) but lacks good iron play (17th percentile). He's a putting regression candidate but still rates out as a plus putter, so let's not overreact. He's finished 28th here in each of the past two years.
Others to Consider:
Adam Schenk ($9,0000 | +6500) - Has distance and makes cuts at Corales. Great putter due for positive regression, too.
Dylan Wu ($8,600 | +8000) - Good irons (77th percentile) and putting (81st).
Trey Mullinax ($8,000 | +8000) - Longest driver in the field but just doesn't putt well; irons are also iffy.