World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba Tips: Abraham the Ancer

Abraham Ancer can score a home win
Abraham Ancer can score a home win

The PGA Tour heads to Mexico and Dave Tindall is back with three each-way tips for the action at El Camaleon Golf Course...

"In every visit since 2016, he's posted a round of 65 at some point and his last four finishes from 2017 to 2010 read: 9-21-8-12."

Back Abraham Ancer each-way @ 17.016/1

Main Bet: Abraham Ancer each-way @ 17.016/1

Having landed some 12/1 about Hideki Matsuyama winning the Zozo Championship in Japan, I'm perhaps duty bound to tip Abraham Ancer to repeat the local-hero-sends-the-crowds-wild act and triumph in Mexico.

Last year I wrote that I've always had a feeling that Ancer would one day win his home event but didn't pull the trigger.

Ancer was 16/1 in 2020 in a field that featured Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka. Those two are in opposition once more as are plenty of other good names (11 players who contested the Ryder Cup).

But despite the deeper field, I'm still happy to play him due to the extra swagger he must surely have this time.

For the first occasion in seven visits, Ancer will be announced onto the first tee as a PGA Tour winner. And that victory wasn't just any old event; it came in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational just six starts ago.

Sometimes first-time winners go off the boil after finally climbing their Everest but Ancer has had three top 15s in five subsequent starts. They came via tied 9 (BMW Championship) and tied 11th (Tour Championship) in the Playoffs and a tied 14th in the CJ Cup last time where he shot middle rounds of 65-63.

Ancer was playing some classy golf before the win and he's continued in the same vein after it.

As for the all-important course form at El Camaleon - a short, windy, seaside track with Paspalum grass - he has plenty of it.

In every visit since 2016, he's posted a round of 65 at some point and his last four finishes from 2017 to 2010 read: 9-21-8-12.

His thoughts on Mayakoba week? "I love playing here, love the food, love the place, I could hang out here every single day and not ever get bored. It's always a pleasure to come here and play in front of my people."

As for the course. "I love it, I think it's a great golf course. You've got to hit it really good off the tee. Off the tee's key here. It has been a course that I feel really comfortable out there off the tee."

Good driving certainly helped last year's winner, Viktor Hovland, who ranked 8th for Distance and 12th in Accuracy.

Ancer, who was 24th for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee last season, goes in as the headline pick.

Next Best: Rickie Fowler each-way @ 46.045/1

While Ancer points to prowess of the tee, most of the stats suggest Greens In Regulation is absolutely vital.

Hovland ranked 1st last year, hitting just under 85%, while 2019 winner, Brendon Todd, was 3rd. And so it continues as you go further back with five of the previous six ranked in the top 11 for GIR.

Perhaps it's too soon but if Rickie Fowler hits the ball the way he did at the CJ Cup a few weeks ago, then I'd give him a big chance here.

The American has had a strange few years but looks to be turning a corner. He's still working with swing coach John Tillery but received some validation that he's on the right path when hanging out with Butch Harmon recently.

Harmon, his former coach, liked what he saw and Fowler regarded it as a "stamp of approval".

Fowler finished third at the CJ Cup and, notably, ranked 1st for Greens In Regulation. In new money, he was 1st for both Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and Tee To Green.

The fact his top three came after a season when he didn't even make the Playoffs suggests a new leaf but wind back a little and Fowler was tied eighth in the PGA Championship and tied 11th in the Memorial next time.

For me, it's a case of find the right course for him and these new improvements can reap reward.

A missed cut last year was probably part of a wider malaise so I prefer to look at Fowler's other two starts here. He was runner-up on debut in 2017 and again shot all four rounds in the 60s when tied 16th in 2018.

"We're at a great resort, staying on the beach. It's very easy. It's a fun, easygoing week. When you are that relaxed and just having a good time, it makes it easy to go play good golf," said Fowler ahead of that 2018 event.

We've had to recalibrate Fowler's odds in the last couple of years but 45/1 at this type of event is historically much bigger than usual.

If he's coming back to his best, I want to try and cash in while such prices exist.

Final Bet: Russell Knox each-way @ 81.080/1

There's an argument for not backing those who played last week due to their swings being buffeted and knocked out of synch by the wind.

But I've covered that angle by picking Ancer and Fowler. Neither were in the field at the Bermuda Championship.

One man who did start there was Russell Knox and the Scot only just came up short for his numerous backers when finishing in a tie for 12th.

Knox got the nod from many for his exploits on similar courses to Port Royal where he now has finishes of 12-16-11.

This week's track, El Camaleon, was a prime piece of evidence. Knox has never finished worse than tied 27th in eight visits and he enjoyed a run of 2-3-9 from 2015-2017.

Asked why he likes the event so much, Knox said last year: "I guess it's the tequila and tacos. Obviously I love the course, it sets up well for me.

"I mean, historically, my driving accuracy and iron play's been my strength, so that's kind of the key things that this course brings out in you.

"This course is all about just drive it in play and then attack."

Looking at his Bermuda stats last week, Knox ranked 6th for Driving Accuracy and 1st for Greens In Regulation so his game looks on point for this test.

Knox finished 68-67-67 last week after shooting 72 in the brutal Thursday morning conditions so he was unlucky with the draw.

"Was that windy?!" he said afterwards. "At the ninth we were on the front edge of the green there and I've never experienced wind that strong on a golf course."

The forecast this week has some wind in it but more like 10mph.

Knox enjoys it when it blows to I'd probably want something nearer 15mph if looking for ideal conditions but the 80/1 really does look a good price.

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