The Valspar championship is done for another year and perhaps played a lot easier than many expected. Sam Burns eventually won a playoff against Davis Riley to successfully defend his title and move into golf’s top 10 players in the world.
The PGA tour rolls on and this week we head to the Dominican Republic for the Corales Puntacana championship. Originally a Korn Ferry tour event, the Corales offers an alternate field the chance to lock up their status as the top 64 golfers in the world are playing the WGC Matchplay.
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With the biggest names in golf playing the WGC Matchplay, the Corales offers a chance to some of golf’s future stars as well as some of its more senior stars.
Joel Dahmen will be hoping to do what no one has ever done here before and defend his title this week. With an array of former champions in the field and former major winners including Graeme McDowell, Jimmy Walker and Danny Willett, Dahmens task will be easier said than done!
Perhaps a surprise addition in this field is world number 93 Jhonattan Vegas who is coming off a tied 27th finish at last week’s Valspar championship and was the first round leader at 7 under. If he doesn’t withdraw before Thursday then this course should set up nicely for him.
The tournament field this week includes 120 players with sponsor exemptions already decided. The tournament begins March 24 and runs through March 27.
2021: Joel Dahmen
2020: Hudson Swafford
2019: Graeme McDowell
2018: Brice Garnett
2017: Nate Lashley
2016: Dominic Bozzelli
Corales Golf Club
A Tom Fazio design, that is set among natural cliffs and ocean coves that overlook the Caribbean sea.
Corales is long! Despite the length though previous winners have been some of the shorter hitters on tour. This is in part due to its generous wide fairways. The large paspalum greens normally play slow, this is in part because of the course’s proximity to the coast.
Corales ends in a three-hole stretch known as the Devil’s elbow where golfers will have to hit over the Bay of Corales at 18. This 3 hole stretch has played over par in 3 of the last 4 championships, so golfers will have to be weary as they finish their rounds.
Corales’ only real defense against low scores is the wind, so worth monitoring the weather this week.
Strokes Gained Approach
Strokes Gained Off The Tee
Strokes Gained Par 5’s
Strokes gained on approach are key around here especially if the wind gets up. Solid iron play and ball striking can help the golfers survive a few bad breaks and it’s evident in previous winners including Graeme McDowell who ranked first in this metric when he won back in 2019.
As mentioned, this course is extremely long! The last 2 years have featured some very big hitters near the top of the leaderboard so strokes gained off the tee is of more interest this week than it has been.
Scoring opportunities are good indicators in general, and par 5 scoring is where the winners will make their bones. Each of the last 4 winners here ranked inside the top 6 in the field on the par 5’s so it’s worth looking at more than it has been in recent weeks.
As noted it’s worth keeping an eye on the weather this week as this course becomes more difficult in the wind. Some game theory in our DFS lineups could come into play. I will certainly target some of the early starters as they could get the softer/calmer conditions.
When picking lineups it could be wise to sprinkle in some picks who are likely to be less owned.
The Corales might not be the most glamorous stop on the tour, but it offers a chance to the next wave of PGA golfers a chance to shine. This week’s contest has a €12 buy-in with a €5,000 prize pool.
€12 entry – THE Corales Puntacana Championship Main Event – €5,000 GTD – 24th – 27th of March
€2 entry – THE Corales Puntacana Championship Mini-Main Event – €1,500 GTD – 24th – 27th of March
€2 entry – THE Corales Puntacana Championship Round 2 – €750 GTD – 25th of March
€2 entry – THE Corales Puntacana Championship 3 – €750 GTD – 26th of March
€2 entry – THE Corales Puntacana Championship Round 4 – €750 GTD – 27th of March
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