With the best players in the world contesting the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin this week, the Puerto Rico Open provides a great opportunity for the PGA Tour’s lesser lights to shine.
The Puerto Rico Open was first held in 2008, in the same week as the WGC-CA Championship. In 2016 it moved to be held opposite the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Past winners of the tournament include Greg Kraft, Chesson Hadley and Alex Cejka. Last year Tony Finau came through a playoff against Steve Marino to take the title. Ian Poulter was tied for third.
Finau is not back to defend his Puerto Rico Open title this week. He is first alternate for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and has decided to spend the week in Austin Texas, hoping one of the field will withdraw.
Wes Bryan will be the top ranked player in the field in Puerto Rico and there will be six Major champions on the start list. Former champion Alex Cejka will play as will European stars Graeme McDowell and Thorbjorn Olesen.
Ian Poulter and Ryo Ishikawa will tee it up and both have enjoyed good results in this event in the past.
Coco Beach Golf Club boasts two courses – The Championship and the International. The Championship Course is set within the trees and it features a number of water hazards.
The weather forecast looks pretty dismal with at least some rain forecast every day. It could be one for the poor weather specialists.
Venue: Coco Beach Golf & CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Date: Mar 23-26
Course stats: par 72, 7,506 yards
Purse: $3,000,000 Winner: $540,000
Defending Champion: Tony Finau (-12)
Graeme McDowell – The Northern Irishman looks to be re-discovering his game in recent weeks. He’ll look to take advantage of a weaker field in this event to get back to winning ways.
McDowell swing sequence:
Graham DeLaet – The Canadian has a good record in this event and has shown solid recent form. Those factors should combine to see him produce a good performance this time out.
Peter Uihlein – He’s had good results so far this year with five top fives across the world. He was tied sixth in this event back in 2013.
Key hole: 13th. It may be only 410 yards but it’s one of the most testing holes on the course – ranked second toughest in 2016. A lake runs the entire length of the hole on the right side and more water encircles the green. This is one where precision is required on both drive and approach.