While the cream of the crop compete at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the rest of the PGA Tour will be in Caribbean. Barry Plummer has everything you need to know
With many of the big names being drawn to the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week, the Puerto Rico Open represents a great opportunity for one player to secure a PGA Tour title and receive all the playing rights that come with that. With a few surprise names in the field, I have studied the form closely and picked out three players who I think can challenge this week. But before I get into my free betting tips…
Puerto Rico Open: The details
Venue: Grand Reserve Country Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Dates: February 25-28, 2021
Course stats: Par 72; 7,506 yards.
Course summary: This Tom Kite design is a flat, wind-exposed track with water in play on 13 holes. Paspalum fairways weave toward average-sized greens, with solid approach play required to find the putting surface. Four par-5 holes will be a welcome sight for players if the wind plays ball, so don’t be surprised if we get a low scoring affair.
Last year’s champion: Branden Grace (-19)
Puerto Rico Open golf betting tips
Bazza’s Banker: Rafa Cabrera-Bello – 2pt win @ 25/1 with Bet365
Cabrera-Bello arrives in Puerto Rico after a solid stint in the desert on the DP World Tour, with a second place finish at Abu Dhabi Championship the obvious highlight. That recent experience on exposed, windy tracks will be invaluable here and with his pedigree I can’t see how he isn’t favourite for this event.
Cabrera-Bello has some impressive form in this event, finishing 10th and 24th in two visits. The Spaniard also won recently at the Open De Espana in Madrid – just eight starts ago in fact. With the strength of field on show this week, I can’t see many matching an in-form RCB.
The Each-Way Play: Satoshi Kodaira – 1pt e/w @ 60/1 with Bet365
Kodaira has had a strong start to the 2021-2022 PGA Tour season, with three out of four cuts made and an impressive T12 finish. An opening 78 took him out of the mix at the Honda Classic last time out, but a solid recovery round of 70 on day two demonstrated his ability to bounce back.
Kodaira currently ranks 1st for proximity to the hole on the PGA Tour, and also ranks in the top-10 for fairway proximity and a multitude of approach-to-the-green metrics from inside 200 yards. That suggests to me that ball striking is not an issue, and that he feels comfortable with the lower irons and wedges in hand. That will be important here, with a few short par-4 holes, so this selection looks to pack plenty of value on that basis.
The Long(er) shot: Josh Teater – 0.5pt e/w @ 66/1 with Bet365
Teater has made the cut for the long shot selection based on his ability to play similar windy coastal courses. Teater was 22nd in last year’s event, but dazzled in 2020 when runner-up by just one shot to Viktor Hovland.
In 2019, Teater was 11th at the Bermuda Championship on a similar track and despite missing the cut this year did open with a 66. Teater has also made the cut and finished in the top-5 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, so at a big price I am banking on him finding his form on familiar ground.
For more prices, visit the Bet365 website.