What: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship
Where: Corales Golf Club, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
When: March 22nd-25th
Defending Champion: Nate Lashley (The past two seasons of this tournament were a Web.com TOUR event therefore a PGA golfer has not won this event yet)
FedEx Cup Points and Purse: 300 and $3,000,000
All eyes were on Tiger last week as he nearly captured that elusive win, but he slowed down toward the end to take home a T5. It was Rory McIlroy who took home his first PGA win since 2016, which could be perfect timing with the Masters looming. Rory fended off charges from Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, and Henrik Stenson.
Last Week’s Results
The PGA Tour dies down a bit this week on Fantrax, as the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is not currently available on the site’s commissioner product. Therefore, up this week is the alternate event. The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. Someone is going to make a name for themselves this week on the TOUR, as this is the first year this event is part of the PGA schedule. The past two seasons have seen this tournament be a part of the Web.com TOUR.
This event will be played at the Corales Golf Club, which is the first PGA TOUR event ever taking place in the Dominican Republic. This course is fairly new, as it opened in 2010. The winner will take home a two-year PGA TOUR exemption, but no invitation to the Masters since this is an alternate event. It will be interesting to see how this event plays on the PGA TOUR, as just two years ago Dominic Bozzelli destroyed the competition by posting a 24-under clip in 2016 as a Web.com TOUR event.
The 132 players who didn’t qualify for the Match Play will make the trip, including former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, who qualifies for this event on a sponsorship exemption. However, as an amateur, he won’t be able to accumulate FedEx Cup Points.
This Week’s Picks
Emiliano Grillo: Grillo posted opening and closing rounds of 69 last weekend and is looking to catch some more fire. His last two results have been a T8 and a T26 at the Honda Classic and the API, respectively. Coming in at 76th on the OWGR, he leads the field this week in that rank. Since a shaky 2017, Grillo has made a whopping 13 cuts in a row, which features five top-22 results. Grillo ranks 19th in SG: Off-The-Tee and 25th in Putting.
Rory Sabbatini: Perfect in cuts made in 2018, the 41-year-old hasn’t disappointed with a T17 and a T5 in his last two events. The T5 is his only top-10, but he does have three other top-25s. Sabbatini ranks 8th in “Going For the Green – Birdie or Better,” 46th in scrambling, and 23rd in par-5 scoring average.
Scott Piercy: A PGA-pro since 2001, the 39-year-old Piercy has flown under the radar this season. From October to late-January, Piercy made five cuts in a row but has made just two cuts in his last four appearances. That hasn’t stopped him from some great play, however. Piercy posted a T6 at the CareerBuilder and then sandwiched a T20 and a T17 between two missed cuts over the last six weeks. Piercy’s peripherals jump out at you at first glance. He has a second-place rank in SG: Approach-The-Green, a 14th rank in SG: Tee-To-Green, a 25th rank in birdie average, and a 17th rank in greens in regulation percentage.
Patrick Rodgers: Rodgers is a post-hype sleeper on TOUR after being so inconsistent for so long. Since 2015, Rodgers has played in 72 events making just 40 cuts. He has, however, finished inside the top-25 16 times with four third-place finishes and two second-place finishes. The 25-year-old has been an absolute horse and is now finally stringing together cuts made. With five straight cuts made, Rodgers has a T8 at Pebble Beach, and a T7 at the API last week. Rodgers is 50th in scrambling and 24th in SG: Putting.
Kelly Kraft: Kraft isn’t a great finisher but will provide you with safe enough stats to be worthwhile from Thursday-Saturday at least. Last November at the Shriners, Kraft posted 67-65 to start his week and finished 79-73. His last time out at the Valspar, Kraft started out 68-70 and finished 70-75. Now, both of those were good enough for T47 and T31, but think of the results with better finishes; we’re talking guaranteed top-25s. The 29-year-old Texan is 8-for-12 in cuts this year, with a T8 at the Honda Classic just a month ago.
Sam Ryder: A PGA Tour of Canada graduate and current Web.com TOUR golfer, Ryder’s career highlight so far is a Web.com TOUR win last July by a score of 21-under. An eight-stroke margin of victory. Ryder has an edge this week having played in this tournament last year where he posted a top-15 finish. He is just 5-for-10 in cuts made on the year, but after missing four straight to start the season, he has put together a five-for-six since mid-November.
Jim Furyk: Although the ageless wonder hasn’t played enough to post any statistical qualifications, we can take some of his numbers from singular events. At the Valspar just a week and a half ago, Furyk placed 13th in proximity to the hole and fourth in scrambling. It’s incredible how quickly he has seemed to regain focus since shoulder surgery, with two of three cuts made in the last month. Furyk has gone cut-T46-7th getting better each tournament. He’s even posted a low-round 66.
Chris Wood: The 95th ranked golfer in the world hasn’t appeared on the PGA Tour yet, but he has gone T48-T13-2nd in his last three events worldwide after missing three straight cuts. The course he played at the NBO Oman Open where he finished second has a similar layout to the Corales. His last three times out on a PGA event, he went T14-73rd-T33. Those three events were the British Open, the WGC-Bridgestone, and the PGA Championship. Some pretty big tournaments, if you ask me!
Trey Mullinax: Mullinax ranks second on tour in driving distance and 18th in SG: Off-The-Tee. Look for the big bomber to put himself in contention just with the driver. He’s currently playing on exempt status from his 137th finish in FedEx Cup points last season, so this week could pay off huge for him. He’s posted five cuts in eight tries, with a T20 at the Shriners and a T8 at the Valspar.
Paul Dunne: Dunne has made 17 cuts in 20 worldwide starts, which includes a win at the British Masters, seven top-19s, and a T55 in his last PGA start the WGC-Mexico. Potential winds and rain won’t bother the Ireland native.
Rafael Campos: Campos currently ranks seventh on the Web.com Tour in earnings this season and is no stranger to “tropical” layouts. He’s coming off a T2 at the Panama Championship and a T3 at the Bahamas Exuma Classic in the last five weeks. He also finished in the top-15 last year at this event.
Corey Conners: Conners failed to go wire-to-wire at the Valspar Championship, where he “settled” for a 16th-place finish, but he has made 10-of-11 cuts this season without much notice. The 26-year-old Canadian has just that one top-25 finish, but Conners is a guy who acts as a security blanket who can also make a splash. He surprisingly ranks 21st in SG: Off-The-Tee and 29th in greens in regulation percentage.