2017 Puerto Rico Open Preview

The PGA Tour has two events this weekend with only one offered on DraftKings, the 10th edition of the Puerto Rico Open. The event is held at the Coco Beach Golf & Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The course comes in at a long 7,506 yards and is a par-72.

As long as our core players aren’t putting this week with wedges and no shoes on, we should be okay.  The Arnold Palmer Invitational was a fun one to watch and closes out a profitable Florida Swing.

Previous Winners

2016: Tony Finau finished -12 (Won playoff over Steve Marino)
2015: Alex Cejka  finished -7 (Won playoff over Tim Petrovic, Sam Saunders, Jon Curran, Emiliano Grillo)
2014: Chesson Hadley  finished -21 (Danny Lee -19 as runner-up)
2013: Scott Brown finished -20 (Jordan Spieth -19 and Fabian Gomez -19 as runner-up)
2012: George McNeill finished -16 (Ryo Ishikawa -14 as runner-up)
2011: Michael Bradley finished -16 (Won playoff over Troy Matteson)

Paspalum Greens

Players are going to be putting on different greens than we have been recently seeing in Florida with Bermuda grass and California having bent with poa anna grass.  Coco Beach Club has paspalum greens. We have seen similar greens in the CIMB Classic, OHL Classic at Mayakoba, and Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. The 2012 PGA Championship was held at Kiawah Island and here is the feedback given about paspalum greens by Rory and Tiger:

 “It just really grabs the ball. So you can be aggressive with your chip shots and definitely (be) aggressive with your wedge shots, too,” – Rory McIlroy

“Having paspalum greens is different. I’ve only played on paspalum greens one time. But they drain great. They are going to be firm.” – Tiger Woods

The big take away with paspalum greens is that players will have much more control with their approach shots gripping when landing on the green. Paspalum greens are very sticky which allows guys to pin hunt with long approach shots.

Another inside nugget I am aware of since I live in Palm Beach Gardens, FL is that the Bear’s Club has paspalum greens.  There are several players in this event that practice at the Bear’s Club weekly. I am going to continue digging into this angle during the week and discuss it in our DraftKings players article later this week.

Course Layout & Key Statistics

At first glance the 7,500 yard track might immediately scream bombs away with players off the tee. This however is not quite the case. There are some similarities to Coco Beach Club and Bay Hill from last weekend. We will need to keep an eye on the wind this week as it can have a significant impact on the scores at Coco Beach Club.  This was the case back in 2015 when the wind was howling leading to the winner coming in at -7, a drastic change from the upper teens we are used to seeing here.

The first key statistic that stands out when looking at historical results is that we want to target Greens in Regulation.  The Greens in Regulation % at the Puerto Rico Open is much higher than the average tournament.  Especially with the  paspalum grass, players that are able to stick their approach shots will see plenty of birdie opportunities.

The second key statistic that stands out when researching the Puerto Rico Open is that the a majority of the players that have excelled here are accurate off the tee.  With the accuracy an important factor at Coco Beach, we are going to want to target the more accurate drivers.  This will put an emphasis on Driving Accuracy since players will put themselves in positions to increase their GIR%.

With GIR% and Driving Accuracy key statistics, we will rely on SG: Tee to Green as that will combine all aspects of Off the Tee, Approach the Green, and Around the Green.  The best ball strikers should be able to put themselves close to the pin for many birdie putts.

If the weather is looking ideal, the scores generally reach into the upper teens under par. This will lead us to target players with a strong Birdie or Better %.  We want those players that can increase their chances of birdies.

An impressive statistic in the history of the Puerto Rico Open is that the leader has excelled in Par 4 Scoring at Coco Beach Club.  With 10 Par 4’s on the card, Par 4 Scoring will be an emphasis when choosing our players.

Field Notes

The Puerto Rico Open will feature a much weaker field as the top golfers in the world will be playing at the WGC Match Play event this week.  We feel this gives a significant advantage over the casual DFS player as many of the names will not be popular picks.  We will dive into our core players and release a DraftKings strategy Tuesday morning along with a live periscope Wednesday night.  Last week’s periscope for the Arnold Palmer Invitational highlighted Leishman, Kisner, Hatton, and Glover as key players that were not featured in our article as we increased our exposure as the week went on.  Be sure to tune in to both the article and periscope this week to gain an edge over the rest of the field.

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