The PGA TOUR heads down to Mexico this week as El Camaleon Golf Club hosts the Mayakoba Golf Classic. The course is a shorter par-71 that measures at 7,000 yards with paspalum grass greens which is very similar to bent grass. The purpose of this article is to highlight the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate; however, these players are great options in any contest type.
Note: My forthcoming analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories that you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend following Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained columns each round, which highlights golfers to buy and fade following each round of play at that week’s PGA TOUR event, and Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course.
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Harris English ($10,100 DraftKings; $11,500 FanDuel)
We’ll start with English, as he is the class of this field even with the likes of Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka playing this week, as well. English is coming in red hot after shooting a final-round 62 at the RSM Classic his last time out, which propelled him into a tie for sixth place. Even prior to that, he had been in good form. He sits 15th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and fifth in total strokes gained over his past 16 rounds.
English’s history at Mayakoba is a mixed bag, having missed three cuts in his seven trips here. However, he is coming off a T-5 last year and won this event back in 2013. He is a very different player now so we can easily expect him to contend again this year at course he clearly feels comfortable at.
Thomas is a bit too expensive for my liking at $11,400 on DraftKings and Koepka is an enigma, so we will take the price discount and start our cash game rosters with English.
Abraham Ancer ($9,900 DraftKings; $11,100 FanDuel)
This price is a little more than we like paying for Ancer, but the Mexican has historically played well down here. His last three appearances at this event have read as T-8,T-21,T-8. He’s also coming off a very impressive T-13 at the Masters the last time we saw him.
Being that we don’t have strokes gained data for the Masters, his rolling stats look a little skewed. But he still ranks 12th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 16th in total strokes gained in this field across his past 12 rounds. You could easily pair Ancer with English on rosters this week, which might be chalky but looks to be the most +EV move in cash games.
Billy Horschel ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel)
Horschel has not been overly impressive lately, but he’s still made each of his past six cuts and was playing well at the Masters before a final-round 75 torpedoed his tournament. He has a very strong history at this event, as well, making four of his five cuts with three top-20s, including a T-8 last year.
There is nothing on the rolling stats front that makes you want to roster Billy Ho this week. However, on a shorter track he should always be in play. His comfortability at this course is enough for me to warrant cash game consideration.
Scott Piercy ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,700 FanDuel)
Piercy is quietly putting together a very solid season, making 18 of his past 24 cuts, including two top 20s in his past four events. He’s been striking it as well as anyone on TOUR lately as well, ranking 13th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 15th in SG: Approach in this field across his past 16 rounds.
His history at El Camaleon is also elite, as he’s posted at T-6 and a T-4 in two of his last three trips. Piercy is underpriced for how he’s been playing lately, and we will gladly take the discount on DraftKings at just $7,900.
Chez Reavie ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel)
Reavie boasts some of the best course history in this field, making all six of his cuts at this event with two top-30s, a T-14 and T-4. He’s another shorter-track specialist and has a very reasonable price on DraftKings this week at just $7,700.
Reavie is coming off a T-29 at the Masters and sits 13th in SG: Approach and 32nd in SG: Tee-to-Green in this field over his past 12 rounds. Reavie is a cut-making machine and has massive upside for his price this week, making him one of the best cash game plays on the board.
Pat Perez ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,900 FanDuel)
Perez has not been good lately whatsoever, missing each of his past four cuts. However, he always seems to play well at resort courses and his history at El Camaleon further backs that up. He’s a former winner here in 2017 and has posted back to back top-10’s in each of his last two starts.
He’s been middle of the road in most strokes gained numbers, so this is more of a gut feel play. But with Perez’s elite history and very low price tag on DraftKings, he makes for a perfectly fine value play to round out your cash game rosters.
Robby Shelton ($6,600 DraftKings; $7,000 FanDuel)
Shelton is coming off a T-6 at this event last year and has been striking it pretty well of late, ranking 15th in this field in SG: Ball-Striking across his past four rounds. His recent form has been OK, as he finished 21st at The CJ Cup before missing the cut in Houston. At just $6,600 on DraftKings you can punt off your final spot with Shelton and not feel bad about it.
Rickie Fowler ($9,500 DraftKings; $11,000 FanDuel)
Fowler has largely been a disappointment this season. He hasn’t finished inside the top 20 since the end of July at the St. Jude Invitational. However, he’s going to find it eventually and has a strong history here with a T-18 and a runner up finish in 2017. He will likely go under-owned due to the names he is sandwiched between, but he still boasts strong upside and it would come as a surprise to no one to see him contend this week. Fowler is a strong GPP play.
Pictured above: Abraham Ancer
Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images