WGC-Mexico Championship 2020: Cabrera Bello can get hot in Mexico

Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello
Rafa Cabrera Bello can enjoy another big week at Chapultepec

After tipping runner-up Sung Kang at 200/1 in the Genesis Invitational last week, Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for the action in Mexico...

"We already know Cabrera Bello can do well at Chapultepec as he was an excellent third there in 2018. That followed T38 in the inaugural edition while last year's T19 could have been so much better but for an opening 76. He followed it with rounds of 69-66-68, shooting lower over his final 54 holes than runner-up McIlroy."

Main Bet: Rafa Cabrera Bello each-way @ 80/1

A look through past results of the three WGC-Mexico Championships shows that you need to ply your trade on the European Tour or be a very top-level PGA Tour star.

In the latter category we have the champions, with Dustin Johnson winning twice (2017 and 2019) and Phil Mickelson taking the title in 2018.

Players like that can obviously win anywhere but why the proliferation of Euro Tour stars?

Tommy Fleetwood, a runner-up in 2017, offered this very plausible explanation two years ago when asked to give his thoughts on Chapultepec, a 7,345 par 71: "It is a very European layout. Last year it just reminded us of playing in Italy or some of the courses that we play, a bit of an old-school golf course."

I already had some picks in mind but when checking the leaderboard from the 2019 Italian Open - played on a typical, tree-lined track - it was a welcome boost to see some of them up there.

I'll revisit that with my final two picks but the main bet this week is Rafa Cabrera Bello at 80/1.

The thinking here is based on a few things, one of them being his tied 17th place in last week's Genesis Invitational at Riviera.

Riviera and Chapultepec share similar grasses and their proximity on the calendar allows players to bring hot form from one to the other. Exhibit A would be Dustin Johnson winning the Genesis and WGC-Mexico in consecutive starts in 2017 while, that same year, Thomas Pieters was runner-up at Riviera and top five in Mexico a few weeks later.

DJ, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy all made the top ten at both last year when the tournaments were held back-to-back.

We already know Cabrera Bello can do well at Chapultepec as he was an excellent third there in 2018. That followed T38 in the inaugural edition while last year's T19 could have been so much better but for an opening 76. He followed it with rounds of 69-66-68, shooting lower over his final 54 holes than runner-up McIlroy.

"I felt lots of love from the Mexican crowd. I enjoy interacting a little bit with them," said the Spaniard, something obviously helped by sharing a common language.

Of the layout, he added: "I think it's a golf course that suits, you need to drive it good."

Cabrera Bello ranked 12th in SG: Off The Tee at Riviera last week which bodes well and, overall, the 80/1 for a player who can land the big finishes in big events has some decent each-way juice in it.

Oh, and finally, if we like the Italy link, he was fourth in the last Italian Open he contested in 2018 and T12 (2016) the one before that.

Next Best: Matt Fitzpatrick each-way @ 40/1

Matt Fitzpatrick is another who can add to the European Tour success in this event.

The Englishman finished fifth on last year's Race to Dubai, finishing runner-up no less than four times in his 20 starts.

His seconditis continued at the beginning of 2020 when he was runner-up in Abu Dhabi while, most recently, Fitzpatrick seems to have dipped a little with a run of 45-60-30. However, stop those three events (Dubai, Pebble Beach and Genesis) after 54 holes and his positions were 30-20-22 and he would have been thinking about top tens.

Poor Sundays come and go in a golfer's life and he shot a closing 67 to finish second in Abu Dhabi last month and final-round 64s when pipped at the Scandinavian Invitation and Hong Kong Open last season.

The World No. 24 has a solid record of 16-30-26 here, one over-par round each year hampering his progress. But it's a track he should really like and finishing runner-up in last year's Italian Open and winning his first European Tour trophy at Woburn shows a liking for tree-lined courses.

What I also like is how he's finished T4 (FedEx St. Jude) and 7th (HSBC Champions) in the last two WGC events played: he would have landed the each-way cash in both).

Also 21-41-12-20 in last year's majors, this is a player becoming more and more comfortable at elite level and, on this particular course, it looks a great chance for him to improve that record further and, after so many second places, perhaps he's just been storing it all up for a biggie.

Playing at Riviera last week and making the top 30 was a nice way to tune up and ranking 6th in Strokes Gained: Approach was certainly a good sign.

Final Bet: Kurt Kitayama each-way @ 100/1

I had several candidates for the final spot.

Louis Oosthuizen has played some excellent golf over the last few months while he's improved his finish here each year. It now reads 48-30-25 and contains a 64 and a 66.

Sergio Garcia is a big fan of Chapultepec and it shows in his results of 12-7-6. He played some good golf on the Desert Swing with top 10s in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia but couldn't quite mount a challenge when T37 at Riviera last week.

This looks an obvious place for him to up it.

Bernd Wiesberger won last year's Italian Open and almost the Race to Dubai before being pipped by Jon Rahm but he's a little hard to assess at the moment. Tied 8th in Abu Dhabi suggested a continuation of last year's play but he's since missed cuts in Dubai and Saudi.

So that leaves me taking something of a punt on Kurt Kitayama.

The American won two lower-grade European Tour titles last season but then came good again towards the back of the season with a second, a third and a fourth in the space of four events. That included a top three in the Italian Open.

He's also started out well in 2020, posting tied sixth in the Dubai Desert Classic before heading back to his American homeland to finish a creditable T18 at Pebble Beach.

This is his first start in this event and just second appearance in a WGC but the first went pretty well when he took T28 in the HSBC Champions in China and his experience of playing a variety of courses on the European Tour will hopefully help him adapt quickly to Chapultepec.

He went to college in Las Vegas so that should help a little with the adjustments for altitude required in Mexico City this week.

Kitayama is a three-figure price and I think he's worth chancing.

Dave's 2019/20 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £544
Returned: £429.60
P/L: -£114.40

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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