OHL Classic at Mayakoba preview
The PGA Tour heads south of the border to Mexico this week for The OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Defending champion John Huh will look to repeat his breakthrough victory last year.
This year’s event will return to the 6,923 yard, par 71 layout at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Now a premier event at the new beginning of the season, the prize fund has increased to $6,000,000, with the winning share at $1,080,000. The tournament will also award FedEx Cup points for the first time.
Four major champions are in the field this week, including new full-time PGA tour member Darren Clarke. The last time Clarke was a full-time member of the PGA tour was in 2006.
Jose de Jesus Rodriguez will be carrying home hopes for Mexico. Rodriguez, 32, who leads the PGA Tour Latinoamerica Order of Merit, is playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption.
A Greg Norman design, El Camaleon Golf Club has a spectacular layout stretching from the tropical jungle to the sea on Mexico’s eastern-most tip. Open since 2005, the PGA Tour has been making a tour stop here for the last six years.
Thanks to the scheduling change, all six former champions will be teeing it up this week: Fred Funk, Brian Gay, Mark Wilson, Cameron Beckman, Johnson Wagner and Huh.
Last year’s event saw U.S rookie Huh outlast Australia’s Robert Allenby in an eight-hole playoff, the longest on tour since the 1993 Phoenix Open.
Brian Gay holds the record for scoring at this venue on 264 (-16) in 2008. The course has since been adapted into a par 71.
Venue: El Camaleon, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Date: Nov 14-17
Course stats: par 71, 6,923 yards
Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: John Huh (-13)
Thursday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Friday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Saturday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Brian Gay – The 2008 champion is second in all-time earnings at the OHL Classic. He also has a T20 and a 5th on his CV at this venue. Gay had a great start to his 2013 season, recording a win at the Humana Challenge and he finished in a tie for 4th at The McGladrey Classic on Sunday.
Ryan Moore – The American is making his first appearance at the OHL Classic. Perhaps starting to make winning more of a habit, Moore leads the tour in season earnings and is fresh off his victory at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
Briny Baird – Veteran Baird has a knack for getting into contention at El Camaleon. Never finishing outside the top 15 in each of his 6 starts is the recipe for a good week. His current form is also good, coming off a narrow miss last week.
Key hole: 17th. With a green sitting just two yards to the right of the canal, the 17th will be one to test the nerves in the closing stages. At just 386 yards, distance is not an issue but accuracy is paramount. Many will be looking for a late surge on Sunday, but the water looms, especially with the organisers’ favourite final-round hole location tucked front left.