Mexico Open at Vidanta
Vidanta Vallarta – Par 71 – 7,456 yards
Field – 144 entrants
Purse – $7.3M
The Mexico Open might look like an unfamiliar occurrence on the 2022 schedule, but the event has been around since the 1940s, most recently as a stop along the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s rotation from 2013 to 2021. Vidanta Vallarta is now primed to host for the first time, but the tournament’s transition to the big stage isn’t immediately translating to prestige as we see one of the worst fields all season in attendance this week, despite the full 500 FedExCup points and typical victory perks awarded to the eventual champion.
Vidanta’s wide fairways lend a resort-style feel, so a potential birdie fest is not beyond the realms of possibility while driving distance is rewarded, especially at this sea-level venue. However, there are also several defenses in the form of coastal winds, water hazards and north of 100 bunkers in play. The par-71 layout features five par-3s ranging from 170 to 226 yards, but the usual quartet of par-5s invite opportunities scoring as well.
Key Stats to Victory
Par-3: 175-225 efficiency
Birdie or Better percentage
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
John Rahm – $53
Although Rahm is “slumping,” with zero results better than a T10 in stroke-play formats dating back to the WM Phoenix Open while losing his No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, the Spaniard’s ball-striking metrics continue to jump off the page. Among this week’s field, he’s first in SG: Off-the-Tee and second to only Gary Woodland in SG: Approach over their last 24 rounds. The $53 Yahoo salary is steep, but it’s really nothing compared to his ridiculous outright odds that have reached +350 at some places.
Gary Woodland – $37
The aforementioned Woodland is coming off a missed cut at the Masters, but he never plays well at Augusta National, and he still recently racked up a collective 10.6 strokes gained with his irons en route to a T21-T8 stretch at the Valspar Championship and the Valero Texas Open. Woodland has gained at least 4.9 strokes from tee to green in four of his last five measured starts, but he’s also picked up an average of 1.9 strokes putting per event in this same time frame.
Cameron Champ – $34
Champ was awful from the season-opening Fortinet Championship through the Valero Texas Open and fell outside the top 100 in the OWGR, but he rebounded in a major way with a T10 at the Masters, where he finished eighth in SG: OTT and 11th in SG: Approach. Despite the lengthy run of poor results prior to his top-10 at Augusta National, he still comes in at seventh in proximity from 200-plus yards, 10th in par-5 efficiency, 17th in proximity from 175-200 yards and first in driving distance over his last 24 measured rounds. He’s a three-time winner on the PGA Tour at just 26 years old, which is good enough to put him near the top of the list from a win-equity perspective compared to his peers in Mexico.
Sebastian Munoz – $33
Munoz has rested since a T26 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but he’d previously placed T39 or better in five consecutive stroke-play events from the Farmers Insurance Open through the PLAYERS Championship. He’s been sneaky good with driver, ranking second in SG: Off-the-Tee and 35th in driving distance over his last 24 rounds. During this span, he’s also second in Prox: 175-200, seventh in Birdie or Better percentage, eighth in SG: Approach and 13th in par-4 efficiency. That’s a tough ball-striking resume to beat, especially against weaker competition at Vidanta.
Aaron Rai – $26
Rai paired with David Lipsky ($24) to place T4 at this past week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which came on the heels of a top-30 outing for the Englishman at the Valero Texas Open where he posted his best performance since the 2021 WGC-Workday Championship. Rai is second to none in proximity from 200-plus yards over his last 24 measured rounds, but he’s also top 20 in Birdie or Better percentage and par-5 efficiency within this sample size.
Wyndham Clark – $20
Clark is someone I tend to avoid because of his generally lousy iron play, but his elite power off the tee should be a massive advantage at Vidanta, and he even gained 2.8 strokes on his approach shots in his most recent measured start at the RBC Heritage . Clark also ranks 12th in SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds, and he just placed T10 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans playing partner Cameron T alongsideringale ($42).