|Fabian Gomez EW||60/1||Bet365|
Initiated in 2010 the Puerto Rico Open has always been an event held when something more important is going on elsewhere on the PGA Tour.
For a long while that reality impacted on the names who lifted the trophy. Derek Lamely won the first edition, veteran Michael Bradley the second, journeymen George MacNeil, Scott Brown, Chesson Hadley and Alex Cejka followed suit.
But in the last two editions at Coco Beach GC two names leap out. In 2016 the winner was Tony Finau and in 2017 the runner-up was Bryson DeChambeau; they are now ranked 12th and 5th in the world.
What can we expect this time around, two years since the last tournament owing to a cancellation last year following hurricane damage? A reversion to everyman type? Or a pointer for the future? Here are four players to watch.
Winners in this tournament rarely have much in the way of glittering form, a natural by-product of this being an opposite field event. But they have often thrown some half-decent form up and Bozzelli offers that.
He was fifth in the Desert Classic, before that T11th at Sea Island and he also briefly contended during the third round at Waialae, the latter two both decent primers for this week’s examination.
Playing his third year at PGA Tour level his only experience of the course was when he missed the cut in 2017, but that came in his first start after a career-best finish.
What does add interest is that on the 2016 Web.com Tour he claimed a victory in the Dominican Republic, a course that visually is quite similar to Coco Beach. He’s 50/1 with Bet365.
If a journeyman is to claim the trophy again why not Trahan? He’s a two-time on the PGA Tour but hasn’t tasted success in nearly 11 years, that’s one reason why not. But the numbers tell a different story.
He ranks second in the field for six-month stroke average and eighth for the last eight weeks. After making five of 22 cuts he is currently on a run of five made in six starts, with a top 20 in the opposite field Barracuda Championship, seventh in the Sandersons Farms Championship and T18th two weeks ago at Pebble Beach.
He was also eighth on the course back in 2013 and is 100/1 with Bet365.
At first glance there is nothing about the form of Argentina’s Fabian Gomez to excite, in fact he has missed his last three cuts on the bounce. But he opened both of his last two starts with rounds of 67 to lie in handy early positions which he failed to take advantage of.
Back in 2013 his form ahead of this tournament read: MC-MC-T64th with the latter having an opening 66 and a closing 80. None of that bothered him too much as he thrashed 69-64-65 to tie the 54-hole lead and eventually end the week second.
He’s a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, at Waialae and Southwind, both blustery venues with grainy greens, features he’ll face again this week. He’s an elusive character to get right, but these are the conditions that suit him and he’s 60/1 with Bet365.
Why stick with one mercurial Argentine golfer when you can have two? 37-year-old Romero is the forgotten man of the 2007 Open Championship, the golfer who hit the 17th tee with every chance of setting a target which Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia would never match.
Alas he found water and it was not to be. He relocated to the PGA Tour, tasted early success in 2008, but the form slowly fizzled away. And then, out of nowhere, off the back of four missed cuts, he won the European Tour’s BMW International Open in 2017.
His form is far from solid currently, but he has made 12 of his last 16 cuts and playing the European Tour’s Desert Swing he made a lot of birdies (albeit plenty of dropped shots too). He’s finished fifth and sixth on the course, has length from the tee (an advantage here) and can play in wind. He’s 70/1 with Bet365.