Tue, 26 Jan 2021

Thomas heavy favorite at Mayakoba Golf Classic

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2020, 03:40 GMT+10

Justin Thomas was left as the only top 10 player in the field at this week's Mayakoba Golf Classic when top-ranked Dustin Johnson decided to extend his post-Masters break.

At No. 3 in the world, Thomas is being offered at 600 to win the event by BetRivers. That's well ahead of four-time major winner Brooks Koepka (1200) and 2013 Mayakoba champion Harris English (1400).

Thomas has a pair of victories in 2020 and is coming off a solo fourth-place finish at the Masters in his most recent start. He also has five consecutive top-15 finishes. However, Thomas is far from a sure thing as he failed to convert Sunday leads at the Workday Charity Open and the Zozo Championship in recent months.

Koepka is seeking his first victory since last year as he works his way back from his latest injury layoff. Koepka does have consecutive top-10 finishes and tied for second -- behind Thomas -- at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

If one of those two former major champions don't run away this week, there are plenty of intriguing players offering longer odds to consider.

Among them is English, whose Mayakoba resume includes a solo fifth last year. The second of his PGA Tour victories came later in 2013 but he has been knocking on the door much of this year, rising to a career-high 33rd in the world rankings thanks to 12 top-20 finishes in his past 17 events.

Then there are a pair of rising talents from Mexico.

Abraham Ancer (1800) held a share of the 54-hole lead at Augusta National before crumbling with a 76 on Sunday. He's one of the Tour's better ball-strikers, which should make him a serious threat at El Camaleon Golf Club, where distance isn't as much of a premium.

Ancer is trying to become just the fourth Mexico native to win on Tour. The third? That was Carlos Ortiz, who won the Houston Open last month. He enters the Mayakoba Golf Classic as a 4500 longshot by BetRivers.

A quiet force in this week's field could be Daniel Berger. After a sizzling summer run that saw him rise to No. 13 in the world, Berger hasn't been heard from much of late as his win at the Charles Schwab Challenge did not qualify him for this year's rescheduled Masters.

Among the most consistent players in 2020 in this week's field, Berger (2000) had seven top-10s over a nine-tournament stretch.

He's one of numerous young players with the game to be a factor on any given week.

Viktor Hovland has missed the cut at El Camaleon each of the past two years, but that's more likely coincidence than an issue with the course. The 26th-ranked Norwegian has four top-15 finishes in his past five starts, won in Puerto Rico earlier this year and is an intriguing option at 2200 by BetRivers.

So, too, is Chile's Joaquin Niemann, who offers even longer odds at 3300 along with rising Tour rookie Will Zalatoris. Niemann was knocked out of the Masters due to a positive COVID-19 test after reeling off four consecutive top-20 finishes. He's another excellent ball-striker who should fare well at El Camaleon.

Then again, no one has won more money at the Mayakoba event than Pat Perez.

The wily 44-year-old veteran has earned a cool $1,898,929 in the event's history, more than any other player. That includes a victory in 2016. That was one of only three Tour victories in his career, but it's difficult to overlook Perez at 10000 odds.

Also being offered at 10000 by BetRivers is Peter Malnati. He has produced a pair of top-10s and a T21 while regularly being in contention during the fall swing.

He has been far more consistent than defending champion Brendon Todd, who enters this week at 5000 on the heels of seven consecutive events without a top 20 result.

Also being offered at 5000 by BetRivers is Adam Long, one of three players who finished a shot behind Todd last year. Long also finished runner-up at the 3M Open in July and held the 54-hole lead at the Corales Puntacana Resort Club Championship in September before a 75 on Sunday dropped him to fifth.

Bettors looking for a true dark horse to back might take a look at Harry Higgs.

The affable 28-year-old is coming off a pair of missed cuts in his past four events. However, the 2019-20 Tour rookie has flashed several times this year, including a solo second at the Safeway Open after reaching the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs with a T11 at The Northern Trust.

Higgs (15000) also finished second in Bermuda last year and won an event in 2019 on the Korn Ferry Tour to help earn his PGA Tour card.

--Field Level Media

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