Golfers aren't the only graduates of the Web.com Tour. Tournaments are, too.
Welcome to the inaugural Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship — well, only as it concerns its position on the PGA TOUR schedule. The event of the same name debuted on the Web.com Tour in June 2016. Shortly before its return in May 2017, it was announced that the PGA TOUR and Grupo Puntacana, which owns the resort, agreed to a four-year partnership to host a PGA TOUR event.
Contested at the resort's Corales Golf Club on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, it serves as an additional opportunity for 132 golfers who didn't qualify for the concurrent World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. The winner at Corales will receive 300 FedExCup points, fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR through 2019-20 and exemptions into THE PLAYERS and PGA Championship, among numerous perks.
Scroll beneath the rankings for more info on the course, how it scores and its brief history as a Web.com Tour stop.
You'll find Harris English, Graeme McDowell, Paul Dunne, Fabrizio Zanotti and 2017 champion Nate Lashley among the notables in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Corales Golf Club is a stock par 72 designed by Tom Fazio. It opened in 2010 and will use the same routing this week as it did as a test for the Web.com Tour. With the par-5 fourth hole now reaching 565 yards, Corales' max length of 7,670 yards is longer by two yards. Both the par-5 12th and 14th holes can stretch beyond 620 yards (in opposite directions). Of all courses at or near sea level on the PGA TOUR, only the South Course at Torrey Pines can claim multiple holes of similar length as Nos. 9 and 13 tip in excess of 610 yards.
Current PGA TOUR members Dominic Bozzelli and Nate Lashley prevailed at Corales in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Bozzelli recorded a blistering 24-under 264 as the field averaged 69.674. Lashley's 20-under 268 was more indicative of his field's average of 70.336, but Corales was one of the easiest par 72s on the Web.com Tour in both seasons.
As of midday Monday and including Lashley, 53 players in the field competed in at least one of the two editions of the tournament on the Web.com Tour. Thirteen golfers competed in both. Sam Ryder (T2 in 2016 and T12 in 2017) and Eric Axley (pair of top 20s) were the most consistent. (Mike Glasscott will include results of all golfers who have experience at Corales in The Confidence Factor this week.)
With paspalum greens running no longer than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter to offset steady, onshore breezes, and because it's a resort course, the field can play aggressively. Primary rough is cut to two inches, but fairways are accommodating, so long hitters and tee-to-green tacticians will be racing all week.
For fans of three-hole nicknames, you'll get your fill of The Devil's Elbow this week. It's comprised of the par-4 16th, par-3 17th and par-4 18th (dogleg-right over the Bay of Corales). They played to par as a trio in 2016, but the 2017 field averaged +0.247 strokes to par. The closing hole offers more of an opportunity to capture victory late than, say, how winners of the Valspar Championship usually hold on while navigating The Snake Pit (also Nos. 16-18) at Copperhead.
Like The Devil's Elbow, the last three holes on the front nine at Corales also border the sea. That exposure leaves them most vulnerable to nasty weather. In fact, the par-4 eighth and par-3 ninth holes had to be rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Irma last September.
Mother Nature won't be as harsh this week, but rain and boomers are forecast late on Friday and throughout Saturday. Winds will freshen on the weekend, and daytime highs that are expected to be in the low 80s will be accompanied by typically humid tropical air.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton covers numerous angles in between tournaments. Look for his following contributions this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings (Corales)
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (Match Play), Fantasy Insider, One & Done (Match Play), Facebook Live
WEDNESDAY: One & Done (Corales)
THURSDAY: Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Champions One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.