Plenty of Points to Play for in Puntacana

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Hudson Swafford is set to defend the Corales Puntacana Championship he won last year but Charley Hoffman holds favouritism.

Charley Hoffman in action at the Players Championship.

While the best players in the world head to Austin, Texas for the WGC Match Play, there are still plenty of FedEx Cup points to play for at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.

Hudson Swafford defends the title he claimed in September, and is 100/1 to do so successfully, although it may pay to look elsewhere for a winner.

Hoffman Heads to Corales in Decent Form

It is the second time in seven months that PGA Tour players will test themselves against the winds of the Corales Puntacana after last year’s tournament was delayed by six month because of the pandemic.

Charley Hoffman heads the field and his recent form suggests he may be able to justify market leadership, even though he has not tasted PGA Tour success since the 2016 Texas Open.

This is not the strongest field we will see this year and the 44-year-old from Las Vegas should be confident as he just needs to knit four decent rounds together.

He was seventh at Pebble Beach despite a second-round 72 and tenth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he finished with a 75.

His 17th among the high-class assembly at the Players Championship at Sawgrass, when he shot a third-round 76 and finished seven shots behind winner Justin Thomas, also stands out.

So plenty of the ingredients are there and, after finishing 14th on his first visit here in September, it would be no surprise if he was knocking on the door at 16/1.

Howell Can Challenge in This Company

Another player who has not won as many tournaments as he should have is Charles Howell III, whose success at the RSM Classic in 2018 ended an 11-year barren spell.

However, he has been playing steadily enough to figure in a competition of this calibre.

Howell has shaken off some early-year rust that saw him miss the cut at the American Express, the Farmers Insurance and the Genesis Invitational.

He was 36th at the Arnold Palmer but he really caught the eye at Sawgrass, where his 66, which was the joint-best round of the final day, was enough to earn him a tie for ninth.

He missed the cut in this last time, despite shooting an opening 69, but he should be brimming with confidence so is worth following at 28/1.

Time for Unfamiliar Names to Shine

This is a great tournament for different names to force their way on to the leaderboard and two players stand out in this regard.

A good tee-to-green game is essential at Corales and that bodes well for Justin Suh, who is ranked 13th in greens in regulations and second in strokes-gained putting.

He was 14th last year and 37th at the Farmers and 35th in Puerto Rico, which were decent performances.

Suh was also eight at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October and could flourish in this sort of company at 35/1.

Brice Garnett, meanwhile, won here in 2018 and was fifth in Puerto Rico, when he closed with a 65.

He was 25th at last week’s Honda Classic, which included a 64 on Friday, and he can threaten at 40/1.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A single-handicapper, James always offers an interesting insight to the world of golf, with extensive knowledge of both the US and European Tours. James also has a wealth of information about the domestic and international football scene.

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