PGA TOURLeaderboardWatch + ListenNewsFedExCupSchedulePlayersStatsGolfbetSignature EventsComcast Business TOUR TOP 10Aon Better DecisionsDP World Tour Eligibility RankingsHow It WorksPGA TOUR TrainingTicketsShopPGA TOURPGA TOUR ChampionsKorn Ferry TourPGA TOUR AmericasLPGA TOURDP World TourPGA TOUR University

Draws & Fades: Look to long-hitting Cameron Champ to surge in Mexico

4 Min Read

Draws and Fades


    Written by Will Gray @GolfBet

    The PGA TOUR has returned to Mexico and the leaderboard is topped by … that guy that won the last time the TOUR was in Mexico.

    It was just three months ago that Erik van Rooyen broke through for an emotional victory at the World Wide Technology Championship. He’s once again pacing the field, this time at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, after an 8-under 63 that featured a pair of eagles. Van Rooyen sits one ahead of Sami Valimaki and two shots clear of a group of players at 6-under, and the South African has shortened from +3300 at BetMGM Sportsbook to a clear favorite in the outright market.

    Updated odds to win the Mexico Open (via BetMGM)

    • +425: Erik van Rooyen (-8)
    • +1000: Thorbjorn Olesen (-5)
    • +1400: Nicolai Højgaard (-3)
    • +1600: Patrick Rodgers (-5)
    • +1800: Cameron Champ (-5), Tony Finau (-2)
    • +2000: Sami Valimaki (-7)
    • +2200: Vincent Norrman (-3)
    • +2500: Matt Wallace (-5)

    With low scoring expected to continue throughout the week and more than two dozen players already at 3-under or better, the tournament remains wide-open heading into the second round. But gleaning some early returns from Strokes Gained metrics, paired with an analysis of the updated prices, can offer some in-play value.

    Here’s a look at the players I’m looking to back heading into Round 2, along with those whose prices may have shortened too much after just one round:


    Cameron Champ (+1800)

    Time for some revenge. My colleague Ben Everill effectively jinxed my Patrick Cantlay pick in this slot last week during The Genesis Invitational, adding Cantlay to his mid-tournament card, and now it’s time to return the favor on a player he (accurately) identified as a pre-tournament sleeper.

    All kidding aside, there’s a lot to like about the long-hitting Champ despite his closing bogey to finish off a 5-under 66. He’s losing strokes off the tee but second in Driving Distance, with the latter the better indicator of success this week on a course with little trouble off the tee. It’s tempting to take the defending champ at this same price, with Finau nearly triple his opener after a 2-under 69, but instead I like the upside of Champ at three strokes better.

    Cameron Champ uses power to advantage and makes eagle at Mexico Open

    Champ has a bevy of missed cuts to his name … but he also has three trophies in his closet. In other words, he doesn’t factor often, but when he gets into the mix he has a strong closing percentage. So with that in mind, while I wish I had the pre-tournament price, I still think this is a buy opportunity on a high-variance player who has everything in the bag to go low (again) on Friday.

    Andrew Novak (+4500)

    Along the same lines of Champ, this is an interesting price for a player who is firmly in contention after the opening round and did damage with his irons (and in spite of his driver). Novak lost strokes off the tee but was still fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green, thanks to some accurate approaches that netted 13 of 18 greens in regulation. He’s still in search of his maiden win but got a taste for the limelight in his last start, a T8 finish at the WM Phoenix Open.

    The crowds won’t quite be the same as they were at TPC Scottsdale, but he might be able to apply some of the lessons learned there – particularly if the irons continue to cooperate. At +4500 with a lot of variables on the current leaderboard, it’s worth a nibble.


    Erik van Rooyen (+425)

    Perhaps the handicap just boiled down to “pick the guy that wins in Mexico.” But in all reality, I think this number has drifted too short for a guy who jarred it from all over the place today. Van Rooyen feasted on the par 5s while missing just two greens in regulation, and he unsurprisingly led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green.

    Erik van Rooyen swirls in 70-foot chip for The Shot of the Day

    So does van Rooyen have what it takes to leave the country with another trophy? Absolutely. But with 54 holes left and 13 players within three shots of his lead, there are simply too many unknowns to take him at a fraction of his pre-tournament price. As Cantlay showed last week, it’s hard to go wire-to-wire on TOUR. And even though the chase pack looks different than the one that gathered last week at Riviera, I’m looking elsewhere for my mid-tournament adds.

    Patrick Rodgers (+1600)

    I have long been a fan of Rodgers’ game, but I’m not interested in backing him in the outright market. Now 0-for-256 on TOUR, the former Stanford standout has had a number of close calls – including a playoff loss last year to Akshay Bhatia at the Barracuda Championship – but has yet to close the deal on win No. 1.

    Rodgers had solid ball-striking numbers Thursday but did more work with his driver than his irons. At 5-under he’s alongside Novak and a host of others, but he’s trading at one-third the price without the track record of someone like Finau or Champ to back it up.

    I hope Rodgers gets his breakthrough win soon. But after so many near-misses, I’m not going to try to pinpoint it, especially at this price on a crowded leaderboard.

    The PGA TOUR is committed to protecting our fans. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the National Council on Problem Gambling operates a confidential toll-free hotline that you can reach by phone or text at 1-800-522-4700.

    Privacy PolicyTerms of UseAccessibility StatementDo Not Sell or Share My Personal InformationCookie ChoicesSitemap

    Copyright © 2024 PGA TOUR, Inc. All rights reserved.

    PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and the Swinging Golfer design are registered trademarks. The Korn Ferry trademark is also a registered trademark, and is used in the Korn Ferry Tour logo with permission.