Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Corales Golf Club (7,668 yards, par 72)
300 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Playing alternate the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event, the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be played in the Dominican Republic for the first time as a PGA Tour event. Playing here the last two seasons was the Web.com Tour, which quickly gained traction and was announced as a PGA Tour event within a year of its first Web.com event. Set amongst natural cliffs along the Caribbean, the Tom Fazio design offers plenty of dramatic views. Interestingly, the course will become the second longest on the PGA Tour schedule this season at 7,668 yards, slightly shorter than the lengthiest course, Torrey Pines South. With most of the big guns playing match play in Texas this week, look for lower-tier hopefuls to seize the opportunity for a victory in the Dominican Republic.
Key Stats to Winning this Week
• Birdie or better percentage
• Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Basing this week’s profile solely on the last two Web.com events held in Puntacana, it’s clear birdies are going to be a necessity with winning scores of 24- and 20-under par in 2016 & 2017, respectively. Outside of this, the lengthy course has a few forced carries that require solid ballstriking to navigate. Though it’s not imperative to hit it long, length certainly will help on some of the longer holes. In summary, it’s best to target longer-hitting ball strikers who can pile up birdies, as they will have the best chance to claim victory in the Dominican Republic this week.
FanDuel Value Picks
Scott Piercy, $11900 – Piercy’s knack for tropical courses makes him one of the field’s best this week. His track record on paspalum grass has seen him rack up a pair of top-16s (OHL Classic) and he also fits the profile of a great tee-to-green player.
Emiliano Grillo, $11700 – Despite being just the fourth-highest salary this week, Grillo is easily the oddsmakers' favorite in a weakened field. Grillo is the highest-ranked player in the OWGR at 75th and currently holds a streak of 13-straight made cuts. His trend of four top-15s in his last seven starts puts him over the top as a must-have player this week.
Patrick Rodgers, $11500 – Rodgers is not only playing very well right now with five straight cuts, he has performed at the OHL Classic, a similar style course. The youngster is plenty long and was third in Strokes Gained: Putting at Bay Hill last week, so look for him to make the cut with potential for much more.
Rory Sabbatini, $10900 – In case you haven’t noticed, the red-hot veteran has made all seven of his cuts this season with a trend that is converging toward victory. His last start was a T5 at the tough Innisbrook venue, so look for Sabbatini to carry plenty of confidence with him to a weak field this week.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Kelly Kraft, $10300 – Though consistency isn’t a word you’d use to describe Kraft, he’s a flier worth taking in one of the weakest fields we’ll see all year. The 29-year-old has yet to claim a PGA Tour win, but if his recent top-10 at PGA National is any indication of his potential, he could very well find himself in the mix to win Sunday.
Paul Dunne, $9500 – The 25-year-old Irishman won the 2017 British Masters last season and now enters this week with an opportunity to secure a PGA Tour card for years to come with a victory. Though he probably has little shot to win, this week offers the youngster a great opportunity to make a splash on the PGA Tour.
Brice Garnett, $8100 – Garnett has made 8-of-12 cuts this season, most recently a T31 at the Valspar Championship two weeks ago. The mid-30s journeyman doesn’t appear to be capable of contending for victory, but at the bargain price of $8100 he’s a good bet to make the cut.
Abraham Ancer, $8000 – After earning his way back to the PGA Tour from the Web.com, Ancer has posted three top-20 finishes, including a top-10 at the OHL Classic, a similar course with a similarly weak field. Sitting at $8000, Ancer screams value at a venue where just about anyone can make a splash.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
Length and birdie ability matter, but more motivating to the players might be the real prospect of victory in a weaker field this week. Look for guys who have trended well coming into this week to at least make the cut, but it’s shaping up to be a week where we can easily see a first-time winner on the PGA Tour.