Most of the attention this week is on Concession and the WGC event but the alternate event in Puerto Rico has produced some big-name winners including Tony Finau and Viktor Hovland in recent years and again looks set to produce a big-priced winner. Here are The Wolf’s tips for the Puerto Rico Open.
Big-priced winners have been the norm in Puerto Rico with only one winner shorter than $51 over the last decade. This is a tournament that has seen the emergence of rising stars and/or unlikely wins from Tour veterans. The Wolf is banking on the latter this week.
Indian Anibarn Lahiri does not have a win on the PGA Tour but he is an out-and-out winner with 18 professional wins in Asia. He can absolutely get the job done here at a big price.
The key to success here is a strong iron game and an ability to get hot on the greens. Lahiri ranks 3rd in Putting Average, 4th in Par 4 Scoring, 7th in Proximity 200+ Yards and 10th in Birdie or Better.
He also finished 6th in the 2020 Corales, a key correlation tournament.
There is absolutely no doubting the class of Englishman Matt Wallace. He has four European Tour wins as well as three Top 20 finishes in majors. He regularly heads betting in European Tour events. He is clearly ready to make his mark on the PGA Tour and this is just the event he can thrive in. There is no player in the field more talented.
Wallace’s recent form is good with runner-up efforts in the Scottish Championship and the Golf In Dubai Championship while he finished seventh in Abu Dhabi three starts back.
The hard-nosed Wallace ranks 5th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach and 8th on the European Tour Putting Average. He has the game to thrive at Coco Beach.
Form does not matter heading into Puerto Rico. Only one of the last 10 winners have finished in the Top 23 in their prior event. That puts someone like Ryan Blaum right into this.
Blaum is not playing well. He has missed 9 of 12 cuts and has just one Top 40 finish in that stretch.
He profiles well here though. Blaum leads the Tour in Proximity 200+ Yards while he ranks 10th in Par 4 Scoring and 18th in Strokes Gained: Approach