While the big guns are at the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, another field of golfers are in the Dominican Republic for the 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in Punta which begins on March 28, 2019.
After two year as a Web.com Tour event, the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship transitioned into an alternate event on the PGA Tour beginning March 2018. The 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship will be played opposite the WGC-Dell Match Play and it is the first PGA Tour to be held in the Dominican Republic. Aside from the prize of $3M, the rewards for the winner includes 300 FedEx Cup points for the winner, a 2-year exemption and 24 OWGR points. However, the winner doesn’t get an invitation to the US Masters.
Last year, Brice Garnett won his first ever PGA Tour event by capturing the 2018 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. Garnett’s triumph in the Dominican Republic was the first wire to wire winner in the PGA Tour last season and the first since Marc Leishman’s win at the BMW Championship.
Garnett returns to defend his title this year but he isn’t among the favorites to win this year at just a +8000 according to bet365.com. Track the 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship Leaderboard here.
Who Are The Favorites?
Jhonattan Vegas is the betting favorite to win the 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship at +1400. The 34-year old Venezuelan was also T-10th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month, T-16th in the Honda Classic earlier this month and 23rd in the Arnold Palmer Invitational before his biggest outing to date at The PLAYERS Championship, finishing a T-3 behind Rory Mcilroy and Jim Furyk. Vegas has three career wins on the PGA Tour and he might be staring at a fourth one right here.
The promising Sungjae Im is next on the oddsboard at +1600. The 20-year old from Korea National Sport University is off to a busy start in 2019 as he will be making his 11th start in 12 weeks. In between getting cut at The PLAYERS Championship, Sungjae Im finished T-3 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T-4 in the Valspar Championship last weekend. He needs a second place finish at this tournament to qualify for the 2019 US Masters and given his love for teeing up, you bet he’s going all out to win this.
Nate Lashley won this event on the Web.com tour in 2017 and placed 28th here last season. Lashley though has only has one Top-10 finish in seven starts this year and that was a T-8 in the Puerto Rico Open. Denny McCarthy looks to improve on his fourth-place finish at Corales last year and he’s coming off a T-9 finish at the Valspar Championships last weekend. On the other hand, Australia’s Aaron Baddeley was a T-2 in the Puerto Rico Open and a T-17 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. On the other hand, South Africa’s Charles Schwartzel has been cut in five out of his last seven starts but was a T-6 at the Puerto Rico Open and a T-16 at the Honda Classic in between.
Here are the odds from bet365 to win the 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship:
Vegas has been driving the ball well and putting consistently this year. He isn’t in spectacular form but he’s coming off a big outing and may be the best bet in the field. However, I find great value on Corey Conners at +4000 because the former US Amateur finalist has been showing flashes of brilliance on the tour and has done so with excellent ball striking.
Conners is currently ranked 26th overall in strokes-gained approach and that average is second only to D.J. Trahan in the field for the 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. That said, if Conners can get to a good start and make putts, he could be the dark horse here.. Remember that the Canadian was well in contention in this same tournament last year before that disastrous final round 76 which pulled him down to 13th place.
I like Jhonattan Vegas to win but I like the betting value on Corey Conners at +4000. I’m swinging big here and going with Conners but if you’re not so convinced, then Conners is also a +450 to finish in the Top 10 and a +200 to finish in the Top 20. You might like both bets instead.