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OHL CLassic Preview: First-Time Winners Tour

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

Five events on the PGA Tour this season and five first-time winners. If this keeps up, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will be a full-field event next year. Seriously, though, while it seems like the PGA Tour has an event every week, they actually do take a couple weeks off per year. But then again, there are some weeks when there are multiple events, so give me a second while I do the math.

OK, it all checked out, there is no way the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will have 144 players in the field. With that in mind, there are two weeks remaining on the schedule this calendar year and potentially, two more first-time winners. The odds aren't great that it will happen, but then again, the odds were likely astronomical that we'd have five first-time winners in the first five event, so who knows?

The results during the fall portion of the 2015-16 season have certainly harkened back to a time when this portion of the schedule was known as "the silly season," but even though the winners are relatively new faces, the fall fields are stronger now than they were 10 years ago. Adam Scott contended two weeks ago and Jordan Spieth was in the mix last week; that's akin to Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods competing 10 years ago, and those types of players rarely even teed it up during fall a decade ago. The cover of this book may read, "Silly Season," but the contents are not the same as they once were.

This week:
OHL Classic at Mayakoba - El Camaleon - Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Last Year:
Charley Hoffman shot a final-round 66 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Shawn Stefani.


Jason Bohn

Bohn has three starts here and three top-20s. He's also playing some of the best golf of his life over the last 18 months, so this could be the year he turns those top-20s into a win. Bohn also has two top-3s in three starts this season.

Chris Stroud

Stroud has an impressive record at this event. In his last four starts here, Stroud has finished inside the top 5 three times. The competition is much stronger at this event since its inclusion in the fall schedule, but even since the change, Stroud has fared no worse than T23.

Charles Howell III

Howell III is typically the guy you want to take during the first few months of the season, and while that's generally meant the first few months of the calendar year, it applies the first few months of the season in this case. Howell III has finished in the top 20 here in four of his last five starts.

Patton Kizzire

This will be Kizzire's first start at this event, but unfamiliarity with a given venue hasn't seemed to slow him down early in this season. Kizzire has finished inside the top 4 in both of his starts this season.

Alex Cejka

Cejka has started twice this season and finished inside the top 20 both times. His track record here is a bit hit or miss as he's failed to finish twice and finished inside the top 20 twice, but considering his game is in good shape coming in, he's a pretty reliable option this week.


Harris English

English won this event in 2014, which certainly makes him a viable option this week, but I would wait on English for the start of the 2016 portion of the season. Partially because he hasn't played his best for a while and partially because he could be valuable at some point later in the schedule.

Robert Allenby

There has to be a reason to put a player like Allenby on this list, and the reason is his runner-up finish in 2012. He also finished in the top 20 here in 2013, but that's where the accolades stop. Allenby's game has fallen off severely over the last two years, and he's not a viable option this week.

Jason Gore

It's difficult to have a truly poor record at this event, but somehow Gore has managed to do it. In five starts here, Gore has finished inside the top 50 just once. He might be playing better now than at any point in the last five years, but that's still probably not enough to get over the hump here.

Keegan Bradley

This will be Bradley's first time at this event, which wouldn't normally scare me off of him, but considering the location of this event, I have to wonder if Bradley will be focused at all on golf this week.

Matt Kuchar

Unlike last week's field, where there was plenty of firepower, this week there are only a couple names that stick-out. Kuchar is one of those names, one of those guys that are better saved for the 2016 portion of the season.


Last week:
Martin Kaymer (T30) - $68,000; Season - $829,733

This week:
Patton Kizzire - Either Kizzire turns out to be the real deal and I regret using him in this spot, or he ends up being just one of many golfer on the PGA Tour that get hot for short stretches and I wind up looking smart by using him here.


Last week:
N/A; Streak - 1

This week:
no cut

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