The PGA Tour continues on this week as it visits the Corales Golf Club at Puntacana Resort & Club for the 2023 Corales Puntacana Championship. Located in the Dominican Republic, the Tom Fazio design will play as a lengthy Par 72, 7,670 yard layout this week. With fairways, roughs, and greens all crafted out of paspalum grass, the world’s best will certainly be tested by this unique, seaside course. Last year’s edition was won by Chad Ramey, who came from two strokes behind on the final day to beat Ben Martin by one stroke and earn his maiden PGA Tour victory.
Player to Fade:
A two-time PGA Tour winner, with his most recent W coming back in 2008, Daniel Chopra’s best days on tour are long behind him. Chopra last made the cut in a PGA Tour event at the 2020 Puerto Rico Open and hasn’t even had a top 20 finish since the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Even though Chopra has made the cut here in 2 of his previous 3 starts, Chopra is averaging just 276.3 yards off of the tee this season, which is a tall task to overcome when navigating a course that plays over 7,500 yards. Chopra may have had past success here, but we will be surprised if he is able to replicate it, as we predict that he will miss the cut quite handily.
The 264th ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Kramer Hickok would usually be considered a heavy dark horse most weeks on tour. However, with many of the usual studs playing in the match play event, Hickok suddenly moves up the ranks as one to watch, regardless of recent or past success. Hickok has the goods for both of those categories this week, finishing in the top 30 in 2 of his last 4 PGA Tour starts, as well as finishing in the top 25 in all 3 of his previous trips to the Dominican Republic. Hickok could very well pop off and win this week, but we predict that he will build on his recent play and keep his top 25 streak in this event alive by week’s end.
Fresh off of a top 5 finish at the Valspar Championship last week, Wyndham Clark enters this week’s event with arguably the most momentum of anyone in the field. With 3 top 10’s and just 2 missed cuts in 14 starts on tour this season, Clark is certainly putting together what could potentially be a career year for him. Currently ranking inside the top 50 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Approach the Green, and Total, Clark’s game is solid all the way through the bag. Clark has only played in this event one other time, finishing T-22 here last season, but with his recent play, we predict that he will improve on that and bring home a top 10 finish for the second straight week.
The pride of Brussels, Belgium, Thomas Detry has had 2 top 10’s and 4 top 20’s in 12 starts on tour this season, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, another event that is played on a tropical-type course. Detry also has had past success in this event, making the cut here in all 4 of his previous starts, including a T-15 finish last year after being in the mix for the majority of the tournament. Averaging 307.7 yards off the tee this season, Detry will certainly have the advantage off the tee this week. We predict that the rest of Detry’s game shows up too and that he makes a few more putts on the way to his first PGA Tour victory!