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Cameron Champ watches a shot during the final round of the Masters.
Established in 1944, the Mexico Open has been around long enough to anoint such champions as Billy Casper, Lee Trevino and Roberto De Vicenzo. But it has never been a part of the PGA Tour rota. That will change this week when play gets underway at Vidanta Vallarta, a par-71 Greg Norman design in Puerto Vallarta that has been beefed up to defend against the big boys, with 250 yards of extra length and 51 new bunkers.
World No. 2 Jon Rahm headlines a field that includes Gary Woodland, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed, along with Mexican-born Tour winners Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz.
Just across the U.S-Mexico border, from his base of operations in San Diego, Erick Lindgren will be following the action, having correctly called the outright winner in two of the last three events. Our terms with Lindgren remain the same: we give him a $1,000 gambling budget (just play money), and he supplies us with his top-five picks. Check them out below.
(Looking to play any of these bets yourself? We teamed with BetMGM and the online sports book is offering a Risk-Free Bet of up to $1,000.)
Not since the peak-Tiger era has the Tour seen this type of to-win line. Despite the modest payout, Lindgren likes the play against a relatively weak field. “Rahm lost his No. 1 spot to Scottie Scheffler, and I know he isn’t too happy about it.” Lindgren says. “He starts climbing back with a win here.”
Lindgren is especially bullish on Champ here, given a layout that, for all its added bunkers, still features relatively wide fairways that allow for a grip-and-rip approach. “Cam is off a nice showing at Augusta,” Lindgren says. “And I expect him to keep trending.”
Despite the rookie’s rising profile, Theegala remains something of a bettor’s sleeper, Lindgren says. “His upside is massive, and he has a maturity about him that belies his experience.”
There are horses for courses. And grasses for golfers. This week’s venue is wall-to-wall paspalum, and Lindgren, having done his agronomic research, says that Grillo is one of the top players on that kind of turf. “We just need his putter to heat up,” he says.
Garrigus grabbed headlines last week when he became the first Tour pro known to the public to request permission to compete on Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed rival circuit. Lindgren likes him to remain in the spotlight (or at least in the picture) with a strong showing in Mexico. “He and Tommy Gainey got off to a fast start in team play in New Orleans,” Lindgren says. “Let’s take a shot on him cashing in.”
A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.
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