Fantasy Advice

Mexico Open at Vidanta DFS picks 2024: Our expert reveals his favorite value plays

February 19, 2024
ST SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 17: Davis Thompson of the United States hits a tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of The RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort on November 17, 2023 in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

After a memorable week at Riviera in Los Angeles, the PGA Tour heads south to Vallarta for the third edition of the Mexico Open. Vidanta Vallarta, the host venue, was designed by Greg Norman in 2015 and will provide a different test for defending champion Tony Finau and a promising group of challengers. Vidanta features the longest set of par 4s and par 5s on the PGA Tour, yet the Norman design is a perfect illustration of how length no longer equates to difficulty for the modern men’s professional game. Each of the last two years, Vidanta has played as one of the 12 easiest courses on the PGA Tour. Despite its imposing yardage, Vidanta features extremely generous fairways and receptive Paspalum greens that feature very little undulation.

Finau will look to build upon his immaculate résumé at Vidanta Vallarta, and he is priced a full $900 more expensive than the second-most expensive golfer on the slate, Emiliano Grillo. While the defending champion’s course history is hard to ignore, questions still surround Finau’s putter, as he enters the week losing over three strokes on the greens in three straight starts. DraftKings is offering a uniquely more spread out slate this week, with 51 golfers priced at $6,900 or lower. Let’s dive in.

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$10,000 range

Play: Thomas Detry, $10,100:

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Orlando Ramirez

Thomas Detry has been quietly playing some excellent golf this season with top-20 finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The big-hitting Belgian now travels to a golf course that will accentuate his elite power off the tee and long iron play. While this will be Detry’s first appearance at Vidanta Vallarta, his three top-15 finishes at Corales has me incredibly encouraged that the 31-year-old can succeed on wide open, driver heavy, Paspalum resort courses.

Fade: Thorbjørn Olesen, $10,300:

While Thorbjørn Olesen has been playing some tremendous golf on the DP World Tour, he continues to struggle with translating that form to the PGA Tour. Olesen has not played a golf tournament in North America since he missed the cut last May at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Even his statistical profile on the DP World Tour raises some concerns. Olesen has lost over a stroke off the tee in four straight starts, which is certainly enough cause for a hesitation at a price tag that will require him to contend.

$9,000 range

Play: Taylor Pendrith, $9,600:

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Michael Reaves

I always have interest in Taylor Pendrith on long, wide-open, driver-heavy courses that accentuate power off the tee and mid- to long-iron play, and Vidanta Vallarta fits that bill to a tee. Pendrith ranks top 25 in this field in carry distance, strokes gained/off the tee on driver-heavy courses with a low missed fairway penalty, overall approach play, and fairway proximity from 175-plus yards. Coming off a ninth-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines where he gained strokes in all four major categories, another long golf course with a low missed fairway penalty, I expect Pendrith to continue his momentum.

Fade: Mackenzie Hughes, $9,400:

While Mackenzie Hughes has certainly drawn some attention for his social media activity and "walk and talk” during the Genesis broadcast, I have a difficult time reconciling this price tag. Hughes lacks the requisite power off the tee and long iron play to truly contend at this course, and he will have to rely significantly on his flat-stick to keep up this week. Coming off a week at the Genesis where he ranked toward the bottom of the field in approach play, Hughes is an easy fade at this price point.

$8,000 range

Play: Davis Thompson, $8,900:

A former No. 1-ranked amateur player in the world, Davis Thompson is beginning to really find his footing on the PGA Tour. The former University of Georgia standout is coming off a 15th-place finish in Scottsdale, where he overcame the wrong side of a weather advantage to gain over five strokes ball-striking. Now he travels to a golf course that should fit his skill-set perfectly, as Thompson ranks top-12 in this filed in both SG/off the tee on driver-heavy courses with a low missed fairway penalty and approach proximity from 200-plus yards.

Fade: Charley Hoffman, $8,400:

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Sean M. Haffey

While Charley Hoffman’s runner-up finish in Scottsdale was certainly impressive, that feels far more like an anomaly than the new norm for the PGA Tour veteran. Hoffman came right back down to earth last week with a 50th-place finish at Riviera, losing over two strokes off the tee and 3.8 strokes on approach. Now playing his third week in a row, after a draining two weeks in Los Angeles and Phoenix, this is a good spot to sell high on a player at an inflated price tag due to one anomalous performance.

$7,000 range

Play: Vincent Norrman, $7,600:

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Orlando Ramirez

Vincent Norrman, now a winner on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, possesses all the tools to succeed at Vidanta Vallarta. The Swede ranks top 15 in this field in carry distance, strokes gained off the tee on driver-heavy courses with a low missed fairway penalty, proximity from 175-plus yards and SG/total on Paspalum courses. It should not come as a surprise that Norrman finished 18th last year, gaining strokes in all four major categories. I’d argue the big hitting 26-year-old is one of the most under-priced players on the slate.

Fade: Chesson Hadley, $7,700:

Similar to Mackenzie Hughes, Chesson Hadley’s path to success this week is far more challenging than his similarly priced peers due to his lack of power off the tee and skill with his long irons. Coming off a missed cut at the Waste Management Open where he lost strokes in both ball-striking categories, Hadley does not inspire a tremendous amount of confidence attempting to tackle such a distance-biased golf course in his first appearance.

Flier: Sam Stevens, $7,100:

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Orlando Ramirez

Bombers off the tee unquestionably have an advantage at Vidanta Vallarta, and Stevens remains one of the best big-hitting values on the slate. Ranking top 25 in this field in carry distance, SG/off the tee on driver-heavy courses with a low missed fairway penalty, approach proximity from 200-plus yards and SG/total on Paspalum courses, Stevens possesses the perfect skill-set here. Coming off a 28th-place at the Waste Management where Stevens overcame the wrong side of a weather advantage, expect the 27-year-old to surprise this week.

$6,000 range

Play: Justin Lower, $6,100:

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Orlando Ramirez

With pricing so spread out this week, there are actually some very solid options farther down the slate. Justin Lower at $6.1K is one of my favorite cheap plays due to his elite upside with the flat-stick. Lower ranks first in this field in slow-green putting, and he is actually an incredible capable iron player as well, ranking top-10 in overall approach play. Finding some salary relief at the bottom of board in players like Lower will be absolutely crucial this week.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports