It's been a long two years since the last Puerto Rico Open. Six months after D.A. Points secured victory in March of 2017, Hurricane Maria decimated the U.S. island territory, forcing the closure of the course and cancellation of the tournament last year. Instead, it was a charity pro-am that yielded over half-a-million dollars in contributory funds for recovery and relief in its place.
With Coco Beach Golf Club having reopened last fall, the 11th edition of the additional event is back in business, and Points is back to defend his title. For more on the tournament, what the field of 132 should expect and more, scroll past the rankings.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER
With a T21 in his last appearance in 2016 and a T5 and a T17 in his last two starts on the Web.com Tour where he's the leader in scoring average, he presents a threat at Coco Beach.
He's shown a knack for capitalizing on the additional events with a T18 (2017 Sanderson Farms), T5 (2018 Corales), T2 (2018 Barbasol) and solo 25th (2018 Sanderson Farms).
He's flashed enough form this season to warrant this attention, although a T4 at the Shriners is the only shiny object. Also finished T11 (2013) and T14 (2014) in two visits to Coco Beach.
Since the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship has room for only 72 golfers and from all major circuits on the planet, the PGA TOUR makes available the opportunity for non-qualifiers of the WGC to compete for an official victory. It's the second of five alternatives during the 2018-19 season.
But the Puerto Rico Open is more than just a site to stay warm and build for the long-term. It's been a launching pad for some of today's household names. It was three years ago when Tony Finau broke through in the PRO for what still remains his only TOUR title. Jason Day (2009), Jordan Spieth (2013) and Bryson DeChambeau (2017) have finished second.
The winner receives 300 FedExCup points, $540,000 and invitations into THE PLAYERS and the PGA Championship, as well as a slew of other invitationals wrapping into the 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions; oh, and membership on the PGA TOUR through at least 2020-21.
Because there's no hiding from strong winds hard off the shoreline on the northeastern corner of the island throughout the tournament, the final leaderboard always includes veterans who have experience in enduring its rigors. However, rookies and first-timers have as good a chance as they'll find all season thanks to large greens and a quartet of scorable par 5s on the stock par 72.
Points paced his field in greens in regulation, averaging 16 per round. He also co-led in fairways hit, but finding the shortest grass isn't a prerequisite to contend. Nor is distance off the tee. While the tournament doesn't always evolve into a shootout, the mentality is to hit greens and putt aggressively. Not unlike other exposed layouts, Sea Dwarf paspalum putting surfaces will run no faster than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter. The primary rough is maintained at two inches, which is down a bit from previous editions.
In 2017, the field averaged just 70.231 as Points prevailed by two at 20-under 268. That would be a phenomenal score this week since sustained breezes of 15-20 mph are expected throughout. A passing shower can't be ruled out, but a lengthy delay would be surprising. Daytime highs will eclipse 80 degrees.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings (WGC-Mexico)
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (Puerto Rico), Sleepers (WGC-Mexico), Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done (WGC-Mexico), One & Done (Puerto Rico)
* - 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.