MEXICO hosts the second World Golf Championship of the season this weekend at Club de Golf Chapultepe.
There is a top-class field, including last year’s winner and four-time WGC champion Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, who won the first WGC this season in China, and last week’s winner Justin Thomas.
Club de Golf Chapultepec, Mexico City, Mexico: 7345 yards; Par 71
Chapultepec took over the WGC from Doral in Florida last year. The course sits on the affluent outskirts of Mexico City and celebrates its 90th anniversary. The construction was interrupted by the Mexican Revolution and architect Willie Smith never saw the culmination of his work as he died in 1916.
The Mexican Open got its start at Chapultepec in 1944 and remained as host until 1960 when the tournament began rotating to different courses. Greens In Regulation are vital while the fast Poa Annua greens, running at 11.5 on the stimpmeter, will cause some trouble and with a bit of movement on them there could be a lot of short putts missed. Experience from last year might be an advantage.
One man who seems to be building up to a good season is Old Lefty himself Phil Mickelson. In the last three tournaments of the West Coast Swing big Phil has finished T5, T2 and T6.
His putting is really in a great placewhich will be needed here. Last year he finished T7 on the Chapultepec course so he has the knowledge and we know he can putt on this type of green. He looks like he’s slowly but surely getting himself into the right place for a tilt at The Masters and who would write him off with the way he is playing.
- Greens in Regulation: 62.14% (173rd) Strokes Gained Putting: .912 (5th) Putting Average: 1.659 (2nd).
One man who has come out in top form this year is England’s Tommy Fleetwood. He won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a -22 total incorporating some superb golf. He then had a T6 in the Dubai Desert Classic, T37 at the Genesis Open and followed up last week with a fighting fourth at the Honda Classic.
So he goes into this week in great form. Last year he was runner-up to DJ at Chapultepec and although his stats aren’t that great this year he is worth a shot here.
- GIR: 64.35% (143rd) Strokes Gained Putting: -.024 (113th) Putting Average: 1.770 (85th).
My selection last week, Swede Alex Noren, didn’t do much wrong. His second shot at the 72nd hole landed on the front edge of a greenside bunker which left him with a difficult third and unfortunately couldn’t get a birdie which would have put him into a play-off.
And even after shooting a five-over par second round he still managed to get himself into a leading position come Sunday. As I said last week he has taken the PGA Tour by storm and his first win isn’t that far away. His first visit to Chapultepec last year resulted in a T55 but he knows the course and I think his form is a lot better.
- GIR: 67.78% (70th) Strokes Gained Putting: .847 (7th) Putting Average: 1.746 (37th).
For a guy who won his first PGA Tour in November 2015 then took a further year to win his second Justin Thomas made up for lost time in 2017 when he won five times. With two wins already this season it looks like it could be another strong year for the Kentuckian. Also had a good run here last year, finishing T5, and led the field in birdies or better percentage. It’s hard to leave out the American especially after his finish at the Honda when he still managed a birdie at the 72nd hole despite having to chip out from the rough.
- GIR: 69.84% (36th) Strokes Gained Putting: .302 (64th) Putting Average: 1.713 (13th).