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Corales Puntacana 2020 expert picks: Our tour caddie predicts this unknown favorite will win

Will Zalatoris

USGA/Kohjiro Kinno

We could talk all about Bryson DeChambeau and our expert Christopher Powers’ accurate U.S. Open prediction, but you’re here for advice on betting the Corales Puntacana 2020 event. For Powers’ gloating, scroll down to listen to our podcast. We know, though, gamblers don’t like to dwell on the past. Every week is a new opportunity in golf betting, and our leading panel of golf experts—up more than 220 units last season—is eyeing up this week in the Dominican Republic.

Our panel, like every week, includes a caddie reporting anonymously from the Dominican Republic (we’re jealous of the mai tai photos, enough bro!), noted experts Pat Mayo of Mayo Media Network; Brandon Gdula of numberFire; Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com; Lee Alldrick of FanShareSports; and us two knuckleheads. Plus, we had Ben Rasa of Awesemo.com as our guest on the BE RIGHT podcast, so make sure to listen for his expert analysis (scroll down)—much more useful than Powers' victory dance.

The Corales Puntacana, previously an opposite-field event for the past two years and a Korn Ferry Tour event for two years before that, has been elevated to a full tournament with a 2021 Masters invite and FedEx Cup points-wise due to the adjusted schedule. It’s one of the longest courses on tour—a 7,600-yard par 72—but this has been a birdie-fest on every occasion, and if early-weather forecasts are any indication, we should expect another low-scoring event.

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Read on to see who we like this week at the 2020 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Corales Puntacana 2020 Expert Picks To Win (Odds from William Hill)

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Will Zalatoris (12-1) — I realize this is the favorite—a kid playing in just his ninth PGA Tour event. But his iron play is superb … it’s why he finished so well at Winged Foot. Oh yeah, plus he’s insanely long off the tee. It’s hard for me to fade this talent, and someone who will be hungry to win on the PGA Tour.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Pat Perez (35-1) — There are a lot of reasons to like Pat Perez this week. There’s the crossover with the Mayakoba, and he tends to do well on these birdies-fests on resort courses. Just like Graeme McDowell last year, this could be another veteran resurgence.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Adam Schenk (40-1) — The past two winners have come from the 35-1 to 50-1 range here, and while I don’t always put a lot of stock into those types of trends, in fields of this ilk, there are only favorites in name—not so much form. My model likes Will Zalatoris to win this thing a little more than his odds imply at 12-1, so I don’t hate betting him. That said, I’m also OK starting lower and just peppering the middle tiers. Schenk ranks 10th in strokes gained/off the tee over the past 50 rounds since last September (per FantasyNational.com), and he’s top 50 in approach and putting. He also has course knowledge, playing Corales both times on the PGA Tour and twice on the Web.com/Korn Ferry Tour.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Mackenzie Hughes (16-1) — There’s a case to be made that missing the cut at the U.S. Open actually increases his chances of winning the Corales Puntacana Championship. The grueling conditions at Winged Foot wore down some of the world’s best golfers, but Hughes was able to avoid the carnage on the weekend. Hughes was on a great run in the FedEx Cup Playoffs with three consecutive top-15 finishes. He’s played this event once, finishing second last year.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Denny McCarthy (35-1) — You have recent form and course history converging for Denny McCarthy this week. McCarthy has a solo fourth and T-26 in two starts at the Corales. And per our guy Rick Gehman and his RickRunGood.com database, only two other golfers in this field have averaged more strokes gained on approach than McCarthy since the 3M Open (minimum of 10 rounds played). This could be time for the best putter in the world (no exaggeration).

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Henrik Stenson (35-1) — The former Open champion might not be playing well (MC-35th-MC-MC in his last four starts), but he’s still wildly mispriced here. I know the recent results aren’t great, but he’s gained on approach in three of his last four starts, which is his bread and butter. This is not a week to be betting heavy on an unproven favorite. Stenson, who has 11 Euro Tour wins and six PGA Tour wins, has a lot of value here.

Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Pat Perez (35-1) — Perez comes into this event ranked ninth in strokes gained/tee to green on correlating courses (many people are looking at Mayakoba, where he’s won before) and 10th for strokes gained/putting over the past 12 months. His form has also been good, ranking 18th in the field for strokes gained/tee to green over the past two months.

Results from last season: Golf Digest's betting panel predicted 14 winners correctly last season, and collectively on outright winners, top-10 bets and matchups won and lost, our panel went up 225.30 units (the equivalent of being up $2,253 if you wagered $10 on all of our bets) last season. Be sure to check this column every week for picks from the hottest betting panel in golf!

Corales Puntacana 2020 expert picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses That Could Win

Caddie: Adam Long (25-1) — I realize this isn’t truly a sleeper based on the odds. But most weeks, Adam Long is a double-digit favorite, so give me a little slack. I really just want to give you a winning bet and tell you about Adam Long. He’s been so steady these past couple months, and this course suits him well. He has a runner-up at Mayakoba on his résumé, which is a very similar type of course. I’d bet on him to hoist the trophy this week.

Mayo: J.J. Spaun (100-1) — Spaun can be streaky, and he’s coming off a T-9 at the Safeway Open. The Mayakoba is the two biggest corollary event for me this week, and he has good history there, too (T-3 at Mayakoba in 2019), so I think Spaun can scare the leader board—as it’s proven distance isn’t mandated at Corales.

Gdula: Keith Mitchell (50-1) — Because I’m going with Adam Schenk at the top, I don’t have to dig too far down for a longshot, and it’s just one of those weeks where I’d rather live in this range than back a favorite or guess at true dark horse. I’m just peppering this mid-range and looking for realistic winners where value exists. There’s definitely value on Mitchell, who is the fifth-best long-term golfer among the field in my model. He’s going to gain strokes off the tee, and the putting has been off and on of late. When looking for outright winners, that’s valuable.

Gehman: Doug Ghim (66-1) — The fiery Ghim will look to follow up his T-14 at the Safeway Open in his last start with another good run this week. We’ve seen his name pop up on the first few pages of the leaderboard more often recently, also finishing T-18 at the 3M Open. According to RickRunGood.com, one of the most similar courses to Corales Golf Club is Coco Beach Golf Club, the host of the Puerto Rico Open. Ghim finished T-20 at that event in February. He’s got the pedigree to add a win to those finishes.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Xinjun Zhang (40-1) — There’s a lot of reasons to like Zhang this week. He’s top 15 in this field in Birdies or Better in his past 50 rounds, per FantasyNational.com; he has the course history—finishing fifth here in his last appearance in 2018; and he’s playing well, coming off the Safeway where he gained nearly five strokes on approach.

Powers, Golf Digest: Akshay Bhatia (125-1) — After missing seven straight cuts to start his PGA Tour career, Bhatia POPPED at Safeway, finishing ninth. He gained strokes in every major stat category, including three strokes to the field on the greens, the most he’s gained in eight career starts per Fantasy National. If the putter stays hot, I think he’ll build on that ninth-place finish and maybe even contend.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Keith Mitchell (50-1) — Mitchell ticks an awful lot of boxes for someone in this price range. He ranks top 30 in the field this week for all strokes gained/tee to green on correlating courses (we’re looking at Coco Beach, Houston, San Antonio and Louisiana), strokes gained/tee to green over the past two months, Opportunities Gained over the past two months and strokes gained/putting over the past 12 months.

Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)

Caddie: Kristoffer Ventura (35-1) — He’s a talented kid, but I haven’t seen enough from him yet to see that he can win on the PGA Tour. These kids usually have one or two close calls before they get it done.

Mayo: Mackenzie Hughes (16-1) — Just like Brandon says below, the reliance on the putter makes him a fade. This will be a birdie-fest, but the putter isn’t predictive week to week.

Gdula: Mackenzie Hughes (16-1) — Hughes had a really impressive FedEx Cup playoff stretch (13th, 10th, 14th), but he does it all with the putter. The irons haven’t been dreadful, but he needs to dominate with the putter to play well. I’d rather bet Zalatoris (+1200) if betting a favorite.

Mackenzie Hughes

Mackenzie Hughes putts on the 11th green during the first round at the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course). (Robert Beck/USGA)

Robert Beck

Gehman: Henrik Stenson (35-1) — There’s no doubt that Stenson is the owner of, by far, the best résumé in this field. However, there’s so many unknowns in his game right now. He’s only played three times since the restart, finishing T-35 at the WGC FedEx St. Jude but missing the cut at both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. This is a questionable place for Stenson to tee it up because he, presumably, loses a lot of his advantage at a resort course. Corales Golf Club is long and wide open, which doesn’t really benefit Stenson who wants to pipe 3-wood down the middle of narrow fairways. I’ve got more questions than answers with Stenson and his prospects this week.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Charles Howell III (30-1) — People will see CH3’s name in this lower-level field and be intrigued by him. How about if I told you CH3 is ranked 103rd in THIS field in strokes gained/approach over his past 50 rounds per FantasyNational.com? You’re going to need to hit it close this week. Howell is 113th in proximity in his past 50 rounds. His putter and short game have saved him recently … I’m not relying on that when there are interesting names around him.

Powers, Golf Digest: Will Zalatoris (12-1) — Too many people love Zalatoris this week after his impressive performance at the U.S. Open. When the whole gambling community is on somebody, that usually spells doom, especially when that somebody is the favorite.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Corey Conners (18-1) — Yes he's one of the best ball-strikers in the world but the putter has to be better than it has been to compete for win at a course like this. Even the course tee to green does not suit Conners this week, raking just 85th in the field for strokes gained/tee to green on similar courses.

Corales Puntacana 2020 expert picks: Matchups

Caddie: Brian Stuard (-110) over Kyle Stanley (DraftKings) — Stuard is coming off a third-place finish at the Safeway Open, and this course plays to his strengths. He’s a great iron player, and he gained three strokes on approach last week. I love taking him over Kyle Stanley here—Stanley has lost strokes putting in all but one event (where he was even to the field) since Torrey Pines, per Fantasy National.

Mayo: Xinjun Zhang (-110) over Bo Hoag (DraftKings) — Hoag has lost strokes on approach in nine of his past 10 starts, while Zhang routinely competes in far stronger fielder. Plus, in Zhang’s last appearance here (2018), he finished T-5.

Gdula: Sam Burns (-118) over Emiliano Grillo (FanDuel) — Burns sits top 50 in strokes gained/off the tee (third), strokes gained/approach (49th) and strokes gained/putting (17th) over the past year on the PGA Tour, via FantasyNational.com. Grillo’s ball-striking is better overall (eighth off the tee and third in approach), but he’s 129th in putting. Burns just rates out much better for me from a safety standpoint.

Gehman: Thomas Detry (-110) over Matthias Schwab (DraftKings) — I believe this is a difficult matchup for oddsmakers to accurately handicap with each of these players residing primarily on the European Tour. Detry has been solid all over the world, including making the cut at the U.S. Open last week. Schwab failed to make the cut at Winged Foot and only had one Top 25 finish in his last seven starts worldwide. I give the nod to Detry, who is seemingly the better player in both the short and long term.

Hennessey: Sam Burns (-110) over Charles Howell III (DraftKings) — Rarely do Powers and I see eye to eye in this column. But I’m fading Charles Howell III for the reasons stated above, and Burns will have a good chance to win. This is easy money.

Powers: Sam Burns (-110) over Charles Howell III (DraftKings) — If I had to bet a favorite this week, it’d be Burns at 20/1. Instead, I’ll just take him to beat one guy, Charles Howell III, who surprisingly has just one top 10 since the restart. Of course, it was a third-place finish at 3M, but I think Burns likely contends again this week like he did at Safeway, which should be enough to edge out three sticks.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Sam Burns (-112) over Corey Conners (PointsBet) — Pure and simply, Burns should output Conners this week. Statistically Burns gains 0.8 shots per round on Conners putting over the last 12 months. That's a healthy headstart for two players with similar form.

Matchup Results from the U.S. Open: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Xander Schauffele (+100) over Justin Thomas); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Hideki Matsuyama (-110) over Tommy Fleetwood); Powers: Push (Webb +100) over Rory); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Patrick Reed (-125) over Tiger Woods); Mayo: 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1.

Matchup Results this season: Caddie: 2 for 2 (up 1.73 units); Alldrick: 2 for 2 (up 1.71 units); Gdula: 1 for 2 (down 0.09 units); Gehman: 1 for 2 (down 0.09 units); Hennessey: 1 for 2 (down 0.15 units); Mayo: 1 for 2 (down 0.17 units); Powers: 0-1-1 (down 1 unit)

Corales Puntacana 2020 expert picks: Top 10 (odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)

Caddie: Mackenzie Hughes (+170) — He has the course form (runner-up last year) plus the recent form. Against this field, he’s proven he’s playing a notch above the others with his FedEx Cup run.

Mayo: Henrik Stenson (+240) — I usually like going long shots here, but there’s value with Henrik Stenson. His ceiling is higher than others in his range.

Gdula: Xinjun Zhang (+750) — I’ve bet Zhang for top-10s in fields tougher than this in the past. He ranks 26th in strokes gained/off the tee and in putting and is 12th in birdie rate gained over the past calendar year. He also finished fifth here in 2018 and played once when it was a Web.com event.

Gehman: Thomas Detry (+320) — Detry plays primarily on the European Tour but did come over to play the U.S. Open and finished in a tie for 49th. It’s been an impressive run for Detry, who has only missed one cut in his last 19 starts worldwide. He’s also added a handful of top finishes—eight in the top 10 in that same stretch. The caliber of play this week should be similar to what he’s used to on the European Tour. For example, the strength of field for his runner-up at the Celtic Classic a few weeks ago was stronger than the strength of field for the Corales Puntacana Championship last year.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Emiliano Grillo (+270) — Grillo is top five in this field in strokes gained/approach over his past 36 rounds, per FantasyNational.com, and that should predict success. Plus, he gained more than six strokes on his approach at the Safeway. As is usually the case with him, his putter let him down. These putting surfaces are way flatter than Silverado’s, so I like Grillo to keep the hot play going.

Powers, Golf Digest: J.J. Spaun (+1000) — If not for our “Be Right” podcast guest Ben Rasa mentioning Spaun’s name this week (scroll up to listen), I wouldn’t have even known he was playing. But Spaun just finished ninth at the Safeway Open, and he actually has a very good history of putting back-to-back good starts together. Five times in his career he’s posted consecutive top 15s. He gained eight strokes tee-to-green at Silverado, 5.1 on approach and 2.5 off-the-tee. Let’s bet on a hot hand at 10-1 … why not?

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Chris Kirk (+750) — The recent KFT event winner ranks 12th in the field this week in strokes gained/tee to green over the past 12 months and fifth in Opportunities Gained, per FantasyNational.com. We also have him ranked sixth for strokes gained/tee to green on correlating courses.

Top 10 results from the U.S. Open: Everybody: 0 for 1.

Top 10 results from this season: Everybody: 0 for 2 (down 2 units each).

One and Done picks:

Gehman: Denny McCarthy — The best putter on tour for two consecutive seasons, McCarthy is turning the corner and improving the rest of his game. If he can be even average from tee-to-green, he will make a ton of noise this week and many weeks moving forward.

By The Numbers:

Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:

26 — The strength of field number from the Official World Golf Rankings for the 2019 Corales Puntacana Championship. One of the weaker field strengths of the PGA Tour.

9 — The number of PGA Tour events that betting favorite Will Zalatoris has played in his career. He made the cut in two of them, including the U.S. Open last week.

1.25 — The average number of strokes gained per round by Kristoffer Ventura since the restart. It’s the most of anyone in this field with at least five rounds played.

7,666 — The number of yards of the Corales Golf Club, one of the longest courses on the PGA Tour.

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.

Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.