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Power Rankings: Mexico Open at Vidanta

3 Min Read

Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Mexico Open at Vidanta

    After taking a week off, Masters champion Jon Rahm returns to competition at this week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta. He prevailed at the inaugural edition a year ago, so he’s seeking to successfully defend a PGA TOUR title for the first time in his career.

    Once again, Vidanta Vallarta hosts 144 entrants and it’s largely the same test that the 66 in the field who played it last year will attempt to tackle. Scroll or swipe past the projected contenders for more on how the nontraditional and, in parts, extreme layout challenged a year ago.

    Maverick McNealy, Erik van Rooyen and Aaron Rai will be among the notables reviewed in Golfbet Insider.

    The Greg Norman Signature Course is the stage once again this week. It’s a par 71 with five par 3s and four par 5s. Three of each are on the inward par 36 that averaged just under par in its debut as a PGA TOUR stop.

    Overall, the field averaged 70.317 despite the fact that four of the holes ranked inside the top 50-hardest on the PGA TOUR all season. They were the par-3 17th (sixth-hardest of all par 3s) and the par-4 eighth, 10th and 16th holes (all of which were inside the top-25 hardest par 4s). Balancing the load is the drivable, par-4 seventh that tips at just 297 yards. Averaging 3.340, it was by far the easiest of 533 par 4s on TOUR in 2021-22. By comparison, it was just 0.06 strokes harder than No. 17 that can reach 226 yards.

    While it’s a small sample size, it’s still notable that the only comprehensive metric that stands out from its debut is that Vidanta Vallarta yielded the longest average in proximity to the hole at 43 feet, 10 inches. (Yes, ShotLink is utilized on the course.) However, the field still averaged 11.85 greens in regulation per golfer per round and 3.87 conversions for par breakers on those opportunities, both of which basically average on TOUR. Percentages of conversions inside 10 feet was 11th-lowest of the season, but that speaks more to the unfamiliarity and size of the greens. The learning curve on approach was understanding how the wind disrupts ball flight.

    Similarly cooperative conditions are in store this week. Daytime highs will be in the mid-80s with steady and moderate breezes pushing in from the shore a mile away to the west and southwest. Any passing clouds will not bring rain.

    Paspalum greens are ready to roll up to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, but the longest of the rough is up half-an-inch to two inches this year. All 106 bunkers were redone prior to last year’s inaugural; since, another has been added beside the fairway on the par-5 15th.

    As the competitors continue to log knowledge, ball-striking will start to share priority with a balanced bag. In the meantime, with still-playable rough and receptive greens, distance off the tee will play up, and especially at sea level.

    ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.

    MONDAY: Power Rankings

    TUESDAY*: Sleepers

    WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider

    SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle

    * - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

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