The PGA Tour heads to the Dominican Republic this week, the postponed Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship offering a vastly different test to Winged Foot and the US Open last week.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Major Champion Graeme McDowell broke a four-year win drought in 2019. The Northern Irishman beat Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes and American Chris Stroud by a single shot.
Among the top courses in the Caribbean, Corales Golf Course at the Puntacana Resort & Club was designed by Tom Fazio and opened for play in 2010.
Featuring six holes played alongside the ocean, the 7,666-yard par-72 incorporates large waste bunkers throughout, while the wind is always a factor, especially over the closing three-hole stretch, nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Elbow’.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Henrik Stenson has only made three starts since COVID-19 halted the PGA Tour and had played just one of the ciruit's events and the opening round of the canceled Players Championship prior to the pandemic, and despite a mostly missed cuts in those appearances, the Swede is the lone member of the top-50 in the world rankings teeing it up here.
Stenson missed the weekend again at Winged Foot last week, but as a major winner with ball striking his major strength, it wouldn’t surprise to see him follow McDowell’s 2019 example and find himself in the hunt here this week.
RIGHT: Graeme McDowell poses with the trophy in 2019. PHOTO: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.
Will Zalatoris has been the breakout player on the Korn Ferry Tour this year, with 10 top-10 finishes including one win. And the American showed his game is capable of stepping up to the biggest stage last week, finishing T6 at the US Open.
Zalatoris will get another chance to show off his game this week in the Dominican Republic, where his incredibly consistent ball striking will be a major asset on the windswept seaside venue.
Aaron Baddeley has missed more cuts in 2020 than he would care to mention, but the return to this venue might be just the tonic to get his 2020/2021 season off to a good start.
Baddeley was T7 here last year, and if not for the equal worst final round of the top-20 finishers (71) he might have contended for a fifth PGA Tour win.
72-HOLE RECORD: American Dominic Bozzelli reached 24-under par (264) on his way to victory in 2016 in the first of two years as a Korn Ferry Tour event before the tournament became part of the PGA Tour schedule in 2018.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winners.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Rhein Gibson, Matt Jones, Cameron Percy and John Senden.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
*AEST, check local guides