Carlos Ortiz each way is the outright pick at +5000 with Caesars Sportsbook
Austin Smotherman +11000 win and +800 top 10 with DraftKings
Aaron Wise to beat Chris Kirk at -110 with bet365
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It’s a new event for the PGA Tour this week, but the tournament has a long history.
The Mexico Open was first played in 1944 and it attracted some big names in the early years.
In fact, the great Argentinian golfer Roberto Di Vicenzo won it three times and finished second on another five occasions.
Bobby Locke, Lee Trevino, David Graham, Billy Casper, and, more recently, Stewart Cink were also winners.
In the 21st century, the tournament became co-sanctioned with first the European Challenge Tour and then the Korn Ferry Tour, now it takes a big step up in prestige with its arrival on the greatest stage of them all.
The course is also a new one to both the event and the tour – the Greg Norman-designed Signature Course at Vidanta Vallarta.
It’s a resort design with plenty of water and bunker hazards, Paspalum grass on the greens, and playing to a par of 71 at a yardage of 7,456.
The circuit has been a regular visitor to Mexico, firstly for the Mayakoba Classic, and then also for the WGC Mexico Championship.
But this new venture will be a particularly proud week for Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz. Victory in their national championship would be a huge achievement and a massive story.
Ancer claimed his first win on the PGA Tour last year in the WGC St Jude Invitational and has not finished outside the top 15 in his last four visits back home.
Oritz beat Ancer to the first top-tier win, claiming the Houston Open in 2020, and he has an even better record at home.
He won the Mexico Championship on the second tier in 2014 and has been top 20 in each of his last four starts, including a pair of runner-up finishes in the Mayakoba Classic.
When Jon Rahm was asked what he thought about this week’s course he dropped something of a hint about which local might have something of an advantage.
I haven’t had the chance yet to speak to Carlos or the Ortiz family, he said.
Why does that matter? Well, Ortiz is not only playing on home soil this week. He’s also actually backed by the tournament sponsor and he has played the course plenty of times too.
Now, it’s often the case that one player has more knowledge of a track than the rest of the field, but there is more than just that to the suggestion that Ortiz is worth backing this week.
The first is a simple comparison with Ancer: both have one win at this level, both are excellent at home, but Ortiz is more than twice the price of his compatriot.
The second is that, despite that superb record in Mexico, his poor current form has inflated his price.
But he regularly returns home owning poor form and it is yet to stop him from stepping up to the plate.
Take advantage of the +5000 each way with Caesars Sportsbook which offers eight places.
Austin Smotherman is a rookie this year on the PGA Tour, but he has impressed on more than one occasion, and this week gifts him arguably his best opportunity of the season so far to grab a win.
His form in Mexico? He’s made four starts and all of them reaped top 30s.
But dig deeper.
On his first start, he had the first-round lead (finishing T30th). He then finished first and third, before adding T29th last time out.
What about his form on Greg Norman designs?
In 2020 he won at The Grove in Tennessee and was top two through 54 holes at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks through 54 holes before finishing fourth, both on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Then he made the cut back at the Oaks earlier this month, his fifth cut made in his last seven starts.
The Californian was at college with Bryson DeChambeau and cult figure Harry Higgs. This week might be when he steps from out of their shadows.
I’m not sure Bet365 has got it right in matching up Chris Kirk and Aaron Wise this week.
Since the start of 2020 Wise leads the head-to-head count by 18 to 13.
In their last 15 starts? Wise leads 10-5.
And the last 10 starts? Wise is clear 7-3.
At El Camaleon Wise leads 3-2.
That latter count is fuelled by Wise having three top 15 finishes there in his last four starts. In fact, he loves the place and has ended seven of his last eight laps there lying in the top 10.
Kirk’s no fool on the track, having made the cut in all five of his appearances, but he’s only once made the top 30. Take Wise at -110 with bet365.
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|2022 Mexico Open Information|
|Tournament||The Mexico Open at Vidanta|
|Location||Greg Norman Course, Vidanta Vallarta, Vallarta, Mexico|
|Time||Thursday, April 28 – Sunday, May 1|
|How to watch||Thursday & Friday 3.30pm to 6.30pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday & Sunday 1pm to 3pm ET (Golf Channel) then 3pm to 6pm (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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