Quick look at the Mayakoba Golf Classic
November 07, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Mayakoba Golf Classic preview
Wake up. Step out of your room. Hop onto a boat. Arrive at the first tee. Theoretically, that’s how you could start the day at Mayakoba, the resort course hosting this week’s event. Of course, players will need to warm up on the range first, but it’s easy to get distracted at the Riviera Maya, with all the fresh-water canals, emerald jungles and wildlife in the area. And yes, those are spider monkeys roaming the fairways.
The 532-yard par-5 13th is the easiest hole at El Camaleon. A year ago, it played to a stroke average of 4.475, which made it the 31st easiest par 5 of the 163 played on the PGA TOUR last season. A prevailing left-to-right wind will impact a player’s strategy, but those who fail to make at least a birdie are giving up significant strokes to the field. Here’s a look at an Aaron Wise chip-in for eagle at the 2016 Mayakoba.
Aaron Wise chips in for eagle at the OHL Classic
Of the 918 holes played on the PGA TOUR last season, the 452-yard par-4 14th at El Camaleon was the 11th toughest, playing to a stroke average of 4.373. Just one eagle and 19 birdies were made, compared to 113 bogeys and 29 doubles or others. The fairway offers a fairly generous landing zone, but a headwind and dense mangroves surrounding the hole turn par into a difficult task.A view of the tough par-4 14th at El Camaleon. (Scott Kunath/PGA TOUR)
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Stewart Williams: “High pressure will keep the tranquil weather pattern going through Friday. Can’t rule out an isolated shower or thunderstorm on any given day, but the bulk of the area will likely remain dry. Just enough increase in moisture may increase our chances for seeing scattered showers and thunderstorms on Saturday. Showers may linger into Sunday morning with dry conditions returning for the afternoon. A cold front will drop south and bring a good chance for t-storms by Tuesday.”
For the latest weather news from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKBrought a smile to my face really just stepping on this property.This is an extremely relaxing week, which I'll take advantage of that. Definitely a couple spa days.
BY THE NUMBERS
68.65 – Scoring average by Charles Howell III in his nine appearances at Mayakoba. He has three top-10s in his last five starts in this event.
70 – Number of birdies made individually this season by Beau Hossler, Emiliano Grillo, Si Woo Kim, Chez Reavie and Gary Woodland, each of whom is in the field this week. That’s one birdie shy of the current birdie leader Kevin Tway (71).
1 – Number of players who have competed every year of the Mayakoba. That distinction belongs to Chris Stroud, who has three top-5 finishes in those 11 starts.
2 – Number of Mexico natives who have won PGA TOUR events. Cesar Sanudo won the 1970 Azalea Open Invitational, while Victor Regalado won twice, in 1974 (Pleasant Valley Classic) and 1978 (the tournament now known as the John Deere Classic).
A record four players from Mexico – Carlos Ortiz, Roberto Diaz, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez and Abraham Ancer -- have their PGA TOUR cards this season, and all four are in the field this week. They’ve each played and made the cut at Mayakoba in previous starts. “Having four Mexicans playing with a full card this year, it's incredible,” Ancer said. Added defending champion Patton Kizzire: “They didn't just get here by chance; those guys are really good golfers.”
U.S. Amateur champ Viktor Hovland of Norway is making his PGA TOUR debut this week. Hovland, who played collegiately at Oklahoma State, is playing on a sponsor exemption. So is Adria Arnaus, who also is making his TOUR debut. Arnaus, who played collegiately at Texas A&M, is from Spain.
Green speeds this week will be between 10.5 to 11 feet due to the contours of the green and the sea breeze. The latter is most noticeable on the ocean holes No. 4 and 15.