This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
Corales Puntacana Championship
Course: Corales Golf Course (7,670 yards, par 72)
Winner: $684,000 and 300 FedExCup points
The Corales Puntacana Championship provides a big opportunity for all 120 players in the field. This is one of four opposite-field events throughout the season along with the Puerto Rico Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship. While the winner of those events will not get an invite to the Masters or be automatically exempt into the 2024 designated events, the winner still receives a two-year PGA Tour exemption and 300 FedExCup points to be able to hopefully secure themselves into the playoffs, and possible that all important Top 50 in the FedExCup standings.
Chad Ramey notched his first PGA Tour a year ago in Punta Cana and will return to defend his title after being in contention a couple weeks ago at THE PLAYERS Championship. In 2021, Joel Dahmen also picked up his PGA Tour win here and he will be among the top options in this field this week. Dahmen now sits at an even No. 100 in the OWGR. Wyndham Clark and Thomas Detry are some of the highest ranked players in the FedExCup standings that will be teeing it up in Punta Cana. Some notable sponsor exemptions include Ryan Gerard, Akshay Bhatia and Nicolai Hojgaard.
The weather is just as you might expect in Punta Cana, sunny and 80 degrees. The biggest defense of the golf course will be the wind, which will be consistently between 15 and 20 miles per hour throughout the week. Other than 2021 when the wind really spiked, the winning score at the Corales Puntacana Championship since it has been on the PGA Tour has been 18-under-par in 2018-20 and 17-under-par in 2021. Expect to see a lot of good scores this week.
2022 - Chad Ramey (-17)
2021 - Joel Dahmen (-12)
2020 - Hudson Swafford (-18)
2019 - Graeme McDowell (-18)
2018 - Brice Garnett (-18)
2017 - Nate Lashley (-20)
2016 - Dominic Bozzelli (-24)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Putting
- SG: Approach
- Driving Distance
- SG: Around-the-Green
Corales Golf Course is wide open off the tee. While we haven't seen a lot of bombers among the top finishers over the years, it certainly presents the opportunity to those players to wail away and try to get it up as far as possible. With exception of the wind, the biggest challenge on this course is the green complexes. The Tom Fazio design features very large greens with a lot of undulation. SG: Approach and proximity numbers will be a lot more telling that greens in regulation. In saying that, however, you could also find yourself in a situation where you can gain strokes on the field with a two-putt. Both Ramey and Dahmen ranked top-3 in total putts in their respective victories the last two years. Lastly if Corales gets really windy and starts to dry out, there will be a lot more chances to gain shots around the greens. Having a tidy short game certainly will be an asset.
FanDuel Value Picks
Wyndham Clark ($12,000)
With how consistent Clark has been playing, it is a bit surprising to see him tee it up in an alternate event. Clark is coming off a solo fifth at the Valspar Championship and has made the cut in 11 straight starts. During that stretch he has finished outside the top 35 just twice. Clark is gaining strokes across the board this season and has really become a much more well-rounded player. He's got the power and iron play to feast at Corales.
Thomas Detry ($11,700)
Detry is a global golfer and is able to adapt to different conditions as fast as anyone. He has had a solid rookie season going 10-for-12 with six top-30s, including a runner-up finish at another Caribbean course in Bermuda last fall. Detry is another strong all-around player who ranks Top 30 on the PGA Tour this season in driving distance, scrambling, putts per round and birdie average. Detry has a lot of experience at Corales, finishing top-35 in his four prior starts.
Patrick Rodgers ($11,100)
Rodgers is another player loyal to Punta Cana with 2023 marking his fifth start in the event. The Stanford product has logged a pair of top-25 finishes at Corales. Rodgers has found added distance at a sacrifice for accuracy this season, but a wide-open course with reduced rough this year should play to his advantage. Rodgers is also 17th in SG: Around-the-Green and 18th in putts per round.
Ben Martin ($10,900)
Martin came so close to winning for the first time since the 2014 Shriners Open last year at Corales, finishing one shot shy of a playoff with Ramey. Martin also finished T9 here in 2021, so he clearly likes the course. The 35-year-old veteran made his last four cuts, with two of those being top-15 finishes. Martin has been stellar with his iron play this season, ranking 22nd in SG: Approach and 20th in GIR percentage.
Longer Shots with Value
Cameron Percy ($9,800)
Even at 48 years of age, Percy is showing he can still get it done out here. He is coming off a T12 and a T16 in his last three starts and ranks 33rd this season in SG: Total. Percy is also 32nd in SG: Off-the-Tee, 38th in proximity to the hole, 13th in scrambling and 22nd in SG: Putting this season. All of those should help him out around Corales this week, which is a course he has posted a pair of top-10 finishes the last two years.
Ryan Gerard ($9,300)
In a weak field with a lot of unknowns, why not ride with a guy like Gerard who has played some really strong golf of late. After a T3 finish at the Astara Golf Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour, Gerard was able to Monday qualify into the Honda Classic and turn that into a fourth place finish. He then scored a T11 in Puerto Rico and made the cut at last week's Valspar Championship before fading on the weekend. Albeit a very small sample size, Gerard is gaining over a shot per round approaching the green, which would rank top-5 on Tour.
Cody Gribble ($9,000)
It has been a tough couple years for Gribble, but he is finally starting to show signs of life. The 32-year-old is coming off back-to-back T7 finishes in Puerto Rico and at the Valspar. Gribble has to be really encouraged with the game he flashed in Tampa, where he ranked top-5 for the week in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Putting and GIR percentage. If he performs that well in those areas at Corales we may very well see the Texan pick up his second PGA Tour win.
MJ Daffue ($8,700)
The South African seems to have settled into his rookie season and has now made his last four cuts with a pair of top-25 finishes in that stretch. Daffue has the power to attack Corales as he ranks 19th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 35th in driving distance this season. He also is a very strong mid-to-long iron player if you break down his proximity numbers, which players might have to use a decent amount around this course that can stretch to nearly 7,700 yards. The putter has been the one club Daffue has really struggled in this season, but he did rank ninth at Innisbrook in SG: Putting.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
Recent form is always something you can lean on for DFS purposes, but especially weeks like this where you have a very thin 120-man field. Pretty much all the players above have been in good form over the last month and showed pretty well throughout the windy Florida Swing. Course conditions should be very similar in Punta Cana. You're going to have to make a lot of birdies to compete at Corales and I am leaning towards players who are going to give themselves the most opportunities. The door is wide open to hit driver all over the place and try to shorten up the approach shots into these tricky greens. Having some tournament experience here should be advantageous as well.
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