As the calendar year winds down, a lot of PGA Tour players are still looking to check off that one major goal for any and every golf season: A victory.
With any win comes many perks on Tour, but one of the best perks anywhere is that you’ve earned the right to make plans for a luxurious trip to Hawaii during the first week of the new year and a guaranteed payday.
See, win during the year and you’re automatically eligible for the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui which is held at Kapalua’s Plantation Course.
Hence the urgency this week at the Mayakoba Championship. The tournament will be played at El Camaleon Golf Club in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
It’s a simple solution: Win this week (or one of the final two events of this calendar year) and you get to play in Maui for a portion of the $15 million purse. That’s up from $8.2 million last year, and it’s one of the tournaments that saw dramatically increased purses going forward.
Intrigued? These guys better be as it’s a limited field of winners which means no cut, and did we mention a lot of money?
But to get there, they have to be qualified and time is certainly running out. This week will see an uptick in star power as players like Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland (the defending champion) will delay their offseason vacation plans and tee it up.
But it’s the guys who may not have earned that coveted spot to Maui we’re most interested in.
We’re going to give the nod to an obvious choice as well as a pair of players who haven’t won on Tour yet, but are certainly capable of winning this week.
Can there be a better time for that first win?
Use our exclusive link to unlock a free $50 bet and up to a $1,000 deposit match bonus at DraftKings.
Odds to Win Mayakoba Championship (DraftKings)
|Russell Henley|| +2500
|Alex Noren|| +5000
|Si Woo Kim||+5000
As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.
Expert Analysis: Look out for Hovland Three-Peat
Sure, Hovland is one of the betting favorites this week at +1000. But that’s to be expected when you’re the defending champion. That’s a solid price considering he also won this tournament two years ago.
That’s right, he’s got two straight victories here, and that’s a good enough reason for the bookmakers to think he could make it three straight.
Good vibes? Absolutely. Lots of confidence? You bet. Are we backing him? Without a doubt.
Bet against Hovland at your own risk. He’s coming into this event with two tournaments under his belt during this wraparound season. He was T-5 at the ZOZO Championship and T-21 at the CJ Cup–two tournaments with the best-of-the-best playing.
With the confidence he’s shown by winning here for two straight years, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in the hunt come Sunday’s final round.
Wager on golf at BetMGM: $1,000 sign-up offer with bonus code TODAY
Jump on the Maverick McNealy Bandwagon
We’ve said he’s due a couple of times before, and while Maverick McNealy has been close, he’s still looking for that elusive first win.
This has the makings of the perfect spot. If and when he does win, that McNealy bandwagon is going to start filling up fast.
McNealy, +1800 this week, has been T-12 and T-11 in the last two Mayakoba tournaments that Hovland has won, so he’s been in the hunt when the pressure is on.
He missed the cut in his first event during this wraparound season, but has three straight top-20 finishes including the ZOZO and CJ Cup star-filled events.
Will he finally get over the hump and post that first win? We’re betting that his time will come sooner rather than later, and this week could certainly be a prime time.
Bet golf at Caesars: Use code TODAYFULL for $1,250 First Bet + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®
Taylor Montgomery Will Win Early in his Career
A lot of time it takes newcomers to the PGA Tour more time than they would like to get established and feel like they belong. Forget about winning. Many of these guys are just looking to survive as they try to move up the ranks. They are trying to make cuts and get the feel of life on Tour.
Taylor Montgomery, at +2800 this week, flies against all the rules. He’s four-for-four in made cuts since getting his Tour card this fall. He’s not just making the cut, either, he’s been fighting for that first win.
All four of those tournaments have seen him finish in the top-15 with a career-best third thrown in to show he’s not afraid of the spotlight. Montgomery’s already ranked ninth in the FedEx Cup points race, and he’s on everyone’s radar. A win would certainly take him somewhere near the top of those rankings and when he wins–not if–he’s going to be off and running.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re always on the lookout for players who are looking to get back into relevance on the PGA Tour.
We’re not always looking for wins. Like last week we jumped on Aaron Baddeley to finish in the top 20 at +350. He Monday-qualified just to get into the event, and then wound up with a chance at winning the tournament.
This week we’re going to go hunting down the list again. Well, not too far. While we like Montgomery to win this week, there’s also good value in picking him to finish in the top 10 at +270.
One more name to keep an eye on is Thomas Detry at +400 to finish in the top 20. He’s coming off a solo second last week in Bermuda. He is also 4-for-4 in making cuts in this wraparound season.
Oh, and he also picked up an extra $200,000 or so when he holed out from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole to move from a four-way tie for second to a solo second.
Like backing professional sports teams that are on a winning streak, always keep the hot golfer on your radar.
Also read: Longshots who can win Majors in 2023