Charley Hoffman celebrates after a birdie on the first hole during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament Saturday, March 13, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
- The Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship tees off Thursday, March 25th
- Charley Hoffman, Emiliano Grillo and Thomas Pieters are co-favorites
- We’ve narrowed down the golfers with the best chance of emerging victorious and provided the best value bets below
While the the top players in the world are competing to win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, the golfers who didn’t qualify are teeing it up in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. Unsurprisingly, with the big guns competing in Austin, Texas, the field in the Dominican Republic allows for a potentially unheralded champion.
This will be the fourth year that this tournament will be contested as a PGA Tour event, with the two previous years before that being a Korn Ferry Tour event. With the COVID-19 pandemic initially halting play for this championship early in 2020, it was later moved to September as the third event on the 2020-21 calendar. Hudson Swafford returns as defending champion.
Going low is a necessity for success at this track, with all three winners posting an 18-under-par score en route to their victories, and the two Korn Ferry Tour winners at this course shooting at least 20-under-par.
2021 Corales Puntacana Championship Odds
|Charles Howell III||+4500|
Odds taken March 22nd at FanDuel
Charley Hoffman Returning to Form
2021 did not get off to a good start for Charley Hoffman, as he had to withdraw from two events and missed one cut following his T-14 debut at the Sony Open. He’s found his game since then, with three top-17 finishes in his last four starts, with a T-7 at Pebble Beach, T-10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T-17 at the Players Championship.
While no one is watching, Charley Hoffman has gone 5-under over his last 5 holes to move to 2-under, which is now T-11. That’s a huge move for Chuckster, going birdie-eagle-birdie at 15, 16 and 17. #THEPLAYERS
— Stephen Hennessey (@S_HennesseyGD) March 11, 2021
He also fared very well at this tournament last September, when he tied for 14th. Hoffman is 18th on the campaign in strokes gained approaching the green (second of those competing in Puntacana), which bodes well for him to be able to make the required bevy of birdies to contend.
Of the trio of co-favorites, he’s been playing the most consistent recently on the PGA Tour, making him an intriguing option.
2021 Masters Odds Tracker
Corales Puntacana Championship Last Five Winners
|2020||Hudson Swafford (-18) 1 shot win|
|2019||Graeme McDowell (-18) 1 shot win|
|2018||Brice Garnett (-18) 4 shot win|
|2017||Nate Lashley (-20) 1 shot win|
|2016||Dominic Bozzelli (-24) 4 shot win|
*2016 and 2017 were contested as Korn Ferry Tour events
2021 Corales Puntacana Championship Best Value Picks
- Nate Lashley (+3400): Nate Lashley has had success at this track, winning in 2017 when it was a KFT event, and he finished in fourth place last September. Four starts ago at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am he was battling for the win right to the end before an untimely triple bogey on the 70th hole, dropping him into a tie for fifth.
- Brice Garnett (+4000): Keeping with the theme of players who’ve played well in Puntacana, Brice Garnett won this championship in 2018. Had a top-5 finish three starts ago at the Puerto Rico Open. Entered the final round of last week’s Honda Classic with a chance to win before fading a little, resulting in a T-25.
- Tyler McCumber (+5500): Tyler McCumber has been popping up on leaderboards recently. He was runner-up to Hudson Swafford here last year, and was right in the thick of it at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera before the brutal Saturday conditions ended his hopes. T-22 at the Players Championship and T-33 at the Honda Classic in last two starts.
Michael “Hound Dog” Harrison is well known in the sports industry as the resident statistician for the SC with Jay Onrait Show. He has worked at TSN for over 13 years, where he’s been featured on Sportscentre, That’s Hockey, That’s Hockey 2Nite, The Masters preview shows, and several more.