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Mayakoba: Returning to Detry after close call

Thomas Detry

Thomas Detry

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Last week delivered me personal pain and agony after we were just one stroke away from cashing our first outright of the 2022-2023 season. Surprisingly, despite not doing well at Bermuda over the years, I handicapped the tournament well, with most of my outright bets performing having a chance to win over the weekend. This week our attention is on the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Defending Champion and a personal favorite of mine, Viktor Hovland, has a chance to become the first back-to-back-to-back winner of an event since Steve Striker did at the John Deere from 2009-2011.

El Camaleon Golf Club has many similarities to Port Royal. They are short coastal courses with bigger greens, and golfers can score very low on them. El Camaleon is a 7,034 yard par-71 course. This week, driving accuracy is at a premium. Trees heavily guard the fairways and many golfers who miss the fairways will be penalized. I want guys who can make birdies in bunches, hit fairways in bunches, and have good course history.

Here are my favorite bets to win the Mayakoba:

Thomas Detry (+5000)

We were so close to cashing him last weekend. If he had more success in round 2, he probably would’ve been the winner at the end of the week. This course isn’t nearly as compatible for him as Port Royal, but the young Belgian is poised to win soon. Unlike Port Royal, his driving accuracy might come into question. The penalty for missing fairways could loom large, but his length off the tee allows him to hit more woods and long irons should his driver not cooperate.

Once we move past the 52% driving accuracy, we start to see why at +5000, there is value in betting on Detry this week. Winning Mayakoba requires golfers to hit fairways but, more importantly, hit a ton of greens in regulation. Detry is hitting GIR at a 70.8% clip. He’s such a talented putter that it gives him a massive advantage. Detry is gaining, on average, +1.8 strokes per round, putting in his last five tournaments. That’s including the Shriners, where he lost -2.1 strokes on the putting surface.

Building off last week’s success, he’s much closer to a win than we all think.

Brendon Todd (+5000)

There’s no chance I’m passing up on the course horse Todd this week. Todd won this event in the 2020 season and finished T8 in 2021 and T11 in 2022. He’s gained the third most strokes out of anyone in the field and the ninth most per round with a minimum of eight rounds. First on that list is Adam Long, who we already have a bet on at +8000, followed by Viktor Hovland, who I will be parlaying later in the week, and Scottie Scheffler, who will be in this article.

When Todd won in 2020, he went off at +8000, and the field wasn’t nearly as strong, with Tony Finau being the highest-ranked golfer at 16th and not many teeing it up inside the top 30. Nonetheless, it’s generally smart to back the course horses for this.

Todd is coming into this week in fine form, a form worthy of consideration as a long shot to win. Despite losing strokes off the tee at three consecutive events, he made up for it on either approach or the putting surface. Most notably, he gained +7 strokes on approach and another +1.6 putting at The CJ Cup en route to finishing T7. He’s not overly long off the tee, but his driving accuracy should make up for a lot, especially at the shorter El Camaleon.

Tony Finau (+1800)

This week is Finau’s first start since his top-10 finish at the Tour Championship. It worries me a bit, but not enough to ignore the top golfer on my model. If Finau continues his brilliant putting, he’ll be the most dangerous putter this week. Dating back to his win at the 3M Open, he gained +2.78 strokes putting per event. He’s dangerously long off the tee and a great ball striker. So when his putter is on, it makes him tough to beat. Finau is number one on my model because he’s second in Strokes Gained: Approach, seventh in SG: Around the Green and SG: Putting, and first in Birdies or Better gained. His best finish here was in 2021, where he finished T8. Finau broke through last year, and I expect him to win multiple tournaments again this season.

Scottie Scheffler (+950)

Last season, we saw the year of the chalk. I was fortunate enough to cash on a few chalky tournaments. I was hoping the chalk run wouldn’t continue this season, hence the big prices I’ve been playing to start the tournament. However, this season, we have already had a few odds-on favorites win. Even last week, despite Seamus Power not being the odds-on favorite, he was the highest OWRG-ranked golfer in the field.

This week, I am backing the odds-on favorite. It’s not because he’s the favorite. I’ve been actively trying to find holes in the favorites game to see why they won’t win. What’s the biggest knock we have on Scheffler? He’s struggled putting recently. Over the last 36 rounds, he’s 106th in SG: P. He’s had these weird stretches of poor putting in his career, especially at the end of the season. Look at two seasons ago. He lost strokes, putting in five straight measured events. He then went on to finish fourth at Mayakoba, second at the Houston Open, and then on the massive run where he won three times in five tournaments. In that run, he was almost flawless on the putting greens.

Let’s forgive his recent putting woes and expect him to find his form soon. He’s accurate off the tee. He’s fifth in SG: APP and masterful around the greens. He’s also a birdie-getter and can get hot in the blink of an eye, hence the T2 here last season. This tournament could be his if he can find even an average putter this weekend.

Tom Hoge (+3500)

Let’s talk about a guy who should light up El Camaleon! That guy is Hoge. Not only did he prove in 2021 that he’s a viable option to win with a T3 finish, but courses that favor ball-strikers are also courses where you want to target Hoge. It seems he’s past his rough stretch of golf, where he missed six consecutive cuts, and is ready to pick up win number two. In his last five events, he’s finished inside the top 20 in all, with three top 10s and a close call at the Shriners.

Hoge is one of the best ball-strikers in the field. He’s ranked fourth in SG: APP in the last 36 rounds. He’s a good putter who should have a field day on these greens. He’s also top 10 in birdies or better gained. For him, getting off to a strong start and keeping his foot on the pedal. At this price, he’s almost a must-play at any ball-strikers course.