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The Rundown: 2023 Mexico Open

The Rundown Preview Article

First of all, welcome to the only comprehensive PGA TOUR preview you’ll ever need.

I’m Nate, one of a few additions to the Tour Junkies jamboree, and as such, I'll get your week off to the right start with a preview that will prime you for success on all of your golf betting endeavors with the weekly Rundown.

Each week, I’ll be previewing the action on the PGA TOUR with everything you need to know about the weekend’s event. From course notes/quotes and historical trends, to angles and numbers to know, the Rundown has got you covered like Waffle House hashbrowns.

With that out of the way, it’s time to Viva Vallarta for the 2023 Mexico Open.

course notes & quotes

In an ironic twist of fate, the PGA TOUR returns to the Greg Norman signature course at Vidanta Vallarta for just the second-ever edition of the Mexico Open as a TOUR event. Prior to 2022, the Mexican national championship moved around the country across multiple venues and was not on the TOUR schedule. As a result, we’ve only briefly seen Norman’s design in the spotlight, but that’s enough to get the gist.

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One of three courses at the Nuevo Vallarta resort, the Vidanta course stretches to a longer 7,400-yd par-71 for the Mexico Open. With paspalum grass across the board, the coastal resort layout is characterized by numerous lakes and bunkers with water or large waste areas present on nearly every hole. The layout is unique in that it features five par-3s (two of which are over 200 yds) and four par-5s, including the mammoth 6th and 12th holes that measure over 600 yds.

Despite the length and abundant agua, the fairways here are expansive and relatively easy to hit. Last year, it was rare to see any of these guys pull less than driver, and the long-bomb approach from Jon Rahm proved fruitful as he bludgeoned the course to a -17 winning score.

When asked about pulling the big stick around here, Rahm said, “I'm pretty much comfortable hitting driver anywhere. If it doesn’t fit, we’ll figure it out.”

Any player looking to win this year will likely need a similar approach. This is a long layout that requires quite a few more approach shots from 200+ yards than the average TOUR stop.  So expect the longer hitters and long-iron snipers to have the advantage.

Bomb & Gouge

“I'm pretty much comfortable hitting driver anywhere. If it doesn’t fit, we’ll figure it out.”

— Jon Rahm on Vidanta Vallarta

Course history

As noted above, there isn’t much to go off of in terms of course history, but here are a few things that stuck out when looking back at the 2022 edition.

Low Scores

Rahm wasn’t the only one deep in red figures last year. He narrowly held off a group of pursuers at -16, with Brandon Wu and Tony Finau firing a pair of 63s to grab a share of 2nd. Remember, this is a resort course for 51 weeks of the year, so expect these pros to eat it up if conditions are mild.

Weak Field

Fewer than 10 players ranked inside the top 50 in the OWGR elected to tee it up at this event last year, while Rahm was the only representative from the top 10. This year is the same story with the new world No. 1 again the only top-10 player in the field.

Tee-to-Green Show

Nine of the top-10 finishers from last year gained at least one stroke T2G for the week, while five of the top 10 actually lost strokes around the green -- further proof that this layout rewards driving and ball-striking over precision with the shorter clubs.

Greg Norman Signature Course at Vidanta Vallarta, site of the 2023 Mexico Open

Betting picks & plays

Be sure to check out the Tour Junkies Blog throughout the week for more picks and insight from the rest of the gang including the all-new Around the Clubhouse column and DB's Big Balls Betting Card, which might just feature a few of these longshots.

Nicolai Højgaard (+3500, T10: +280)

The young Danish bomber has made the cut in each of his eight starts across both major tours in 2023. He already has three top-15 finishes this season, including a runner-up at Corales earlier this year on the PGA TOUR. Vidanta should be a perfect fit too as the 22-year-old ranks second only to Jon Rahm in this week's field in SG: T2G in 2023, and Højgaard is top-5 in SG: OTT on the DP World Tour to start the year. Throw in the fact that he's a pro on paspalum (three top-10s and two top-5s on the stuff in '23) and this just might be the week Højgaard grabs his first victory on the big TOUR.

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Vincent Norrman (+10000, T20: +350)

We're sticking with the Scandinavians and long odds here with a guy coming off a nice top-10 in the Zurich last week. Norrman has been solid in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR and has fared well in his first two events on paspalum at the Puerto Rico Open (T21) and the Corales Punta Cana Championship (T16). He's a big hitter, ranking inside the top 20 on TOUR in driving distance in 2023, and for what is admittedly a small sample size has shown laser accuracy with the long irons, ranking 6th on TOUR in approach proximity from 250-275 yards.

Cameron Champ (+11000, T20: +400)

He's not going to win, but hear me out on the logic for a T20/40 play. With just one year of course history, it's hard to lean too much on last year's results, but Cam Champ absolutely mauled this place off the tee in '22. He led the field in SG: OTT on his way to a T6 finish. Now, it hasn't been pretty for Champ as of late with just one made cut at the Farmers this year, but that means we can get a great number for a potential bounce-back south of the border.

Meet the Author:

Nate Moore

A Georgia native, proud UGA alum and former media guy for Augusta National, the only thing Nate Moore loves more than the Peach State is a Top-20 parlay. Nate is a golf-obsessed sportswriter/journalist who brings his experience in the golf industry to the Tour Junkies brand.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and commentary in this post belong to its author and do not necessarily represent the Tour Junkies as a whole.