The PGA Tour continues this week as it visits Vidanta Vallarta for the 2022 Mexico Open at Vidanta. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as my predictions for who will finish in the top 10, my dark horse, and my player to fade.
Winner: Charles Howell III- Howell has had a quiet season on tour, with just 1 top 10 and 3 top 25’s in 11 starts. Nonetheless, there are signs of hope. Howell has had a good bit of success in another tour event played in Mexico, The World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, where he has had 3 top 10’s and 9 top 25’s in 13 career starts. It’s a bit of a stretch, but both this tournament and The Mayakoba are played on paspalum greens, which leads me to believe he can parlay his success from The Mayakoba at this tournament too. Howell hasn’t been lighting up the greens this season, but I predict he will get the ball rolling and find himself back in the Winner’s Circle this week!
Top 10: Chad Ramey- Winner of this season’s Corales Puntacana Championship, Ramey has played his best this year on tropical-style courses, with a win at Corales, a T-5 finish at the Puerto Rico Open, and a T-17 finish at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Ramey doesn’t light up the board in any one particular stat, but I must add that it’s worth noting that he has not missed a putt inside of 3 feet all season, which is vital when the nerves start creeping in on Sunday. Ramey clearly has a game that sets up well for this style of course and I predict that his recent success will continue as he brings home his third top 10 finish of the season.
Dark Horse: Andrew Novak- Currently ranked #361 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Novak has had a pretty quiet year, with just 3 top 25’s in 15 starts. However, where those top 25’s occurred at are vital: a T-11 finish at the Corales Puntacana Championship and T-22 finishes at both the Puerto Rico Open and at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Like Chad Ramey, Novak also has a game that is suited quite well for tropical-style courses. I would be very surprised if Novak pulls off the upset victory this week, but another top 25 finish would certainly be reasonable based on his recent results.
Player to Fade: Ben Crane- At 46 years old, Ben Crane still tees it up occasionally on the PGA Tour. However, he hasn’t had much success lately, missing the cut in 5 of his last 6 starts over the last 2 PGA Tour seasons, with his lone made cut being a T-67 finish at this season’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship. This week’s event has a mixture of players of varying success, from the second ranked player in the world in Jon Rahm to players ranked outside the top 1,000 in the Official World Golf Rankings. With such a wide variety of players, anybody can come up aces if things go their way. However, I don’t see Crane climbing out of his slump this week and predict that he will miss the cut.