This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship
Punta Cana, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic
Corales Golf Club - Par 72 - 7,670 yards
Field - 132 Entrants
Purse - $3.0M
The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship appears on the PGA Tour's schedule for just the second time in its brief history, albeit as an opposite-field event with the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship attracting the best players in the world to Texas' Austin Country Club. Nonetheless, the perks that come with winning at the Corales Golf Club can be life changing. A crowned champion will earn 300 FedExCup points, an ascent in the Official World Golf Ranking, and, most importantly – a coveted two-year exemption on Tour. All that's missing is an invitation to Augusta, but a celebration in the Dominican Republic might extend into Masters week anyways. Taking a quick look at the resort's course itself, on paper Corales is a lengthy 7,670-yard, par-72 layout along a breezy coast. The course plays shorter than it would appear, however, as competitors are able to nuke it off the tee in most spots. Ryan Brehm led the field in driving distance last year with an average of 316.6 yards off the tee, while 19 others averaged over 300 as well. From the Bear Trap to the Snake Pit in recent weeks, another brutal closing stretch appears at Corales in the form of the Devil's Elbow (holes 16-18). The eventual champion may eventually flirt with 20-under-par by tournament's end, but par is a good score on these three holes. As for the weather, the wind might be at its worst Thursday afternoon, so an AM/PM stack may carry a slight advantage.
2018 - Brice Garnett
2017 - Nate Lashley (Web.com event)
2016 - Dominic Bozzelli (Web.com event)
Key Stats to Victory
SG: Approach - Eighteen entrants were able to hit 50 or more greens in regulation at the Corales in 2018, as quality iron play is emphasized at a venue where birdies mean so much more than fairways hit
Driving distance - The resort-style course features wide fairways and forgiving rough, so precision takes a back seat to power off the tee
SG: Putting - Garnett leaned on a hot putter en route to victory here in 2018, finishing top-5 among his peers in one-putt percentage, putts per GIR and three-putt avoidance
Birdie or better percentage - Bozzelli reached 24-under in 2016 when Corales first appeared on the Web.com Tour's schedule and Garnett notched 24 par-breakers in 2018, so there are a number of birdie and eagle chances outside of the Devil's Elbow
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Sungjae Im - $45
With top-4 performances in two of his last three starts and four top-10s on the season, Im has surpassed Cameron Champ as the highest-ranked rookie in the FedExCup points. Im is still looking for his maiden victory on Tour, but he's getting closer. He gained over four strokes on approach and 8.6 strokes tee-to-green on the way to a T4 at the Valspar Championship last week, jumping to a career best 59th in the OWGR. He's gained an average of 4.3 strokes tee-to-green in his last 10 tournaments and ranks 19th in SG: Total through 43 measured rounds.
Jhonattan Vegas - $43
Vegas lands atop the list of betting favorites alongside the aforementioned Im, with Vegas collecting three straight top-25s, culminating with a T3 most recently at THE PLAYERS Championship. He gained 6.8 strokes tee-to-green and 5.1 strokes with the flat stick at TPC Sawgrass, so there hasn't been a weakness in his game for several weeks now. Vegas leads this week's field in SG: Total through his last 12 rounds.
Joel Dahmen - $38
Rebounding from a stretch of four straight missed cuts from the Waste Management Phoenix Open through the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Dahmen went T12-T30 at the PLAYERS and Valspar Championships to reach a career best 150th in the OWGR. In his last eight rounds he ranks fifth in SG: T2G and seventh in SG: Approach against the Corales field. The putter has held Dahmen back since early February, but look for him to contend if he's able to find success on the slower greens in the Dominican.
Joaquin Niemann - $36
Checking in sixth in both SG: T2G and SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds, Niemann is another great ball striker whose upside has simply been detained by a lousy putter. The 20-year-old avocado connoisseur from Chile has gained strokes approach in a whopping nine of 10 measured events this season, but has lost strokes putting in all but two of those showings. Niemann is 42nd in total driving, 38th in SG: T2G, 33rd in proximity and 30th in SG: Approach. Expect healthy ownership for the kid at this affordable price.
Trey Mullinax - $32
Mullinax has cooled off a bit in his last three starts with results of T51-MC-T54 from the Honda Classic through the Valspar, but he's still ninth in SG: T2G and 14th in SG: Approach over his past 12 rounds. He posted a top-25 at the Corales Championship in 2018 when he ranked eighth in driving distance, playing the par-5s in nine-under-par. The University of Alabama product is now 20th on Tour in driving distance, 36th in GIR percentage, 12th in proximity from over 200 yards and 22nd in P5 birdie or better percentage.
Brian Stuard - $31
Stuard gained a combined 9.2 strokes on his approach shots and putting en route to a T18 at Innisbrook last week, his second top-20 in three starts dating to the Honda. He loses strokes off the tee in pretty much any tournament he enters due to a significant lack of power, but ranks 18th on Tour in driving accuracy while also residing top-35 in both putting from inside 10 feet and scrambling. He'll lean on that short-game prowess at the Corales Golf Club in an effort to notch his first top-10 since the Sony Open.
Roger Sloan - $30
The Web.com Tour graduate found success in his previous effort against an opposite field, tying for second at the Puerto Rico Open before adding two more top-30s at the Honda Classic and API. Sloan has risen to 76th in the FedExCup standings and ranks 39th in total driving. The Canadian is also 28th in putts per round, 16th in one-putt percentage and 50th in proximity.
Matt Jones - $29
Jones has made the cut in five consecutive events and gained strokes tee-to-green in all but one of his past six starts. In his last 12 rounds, the Aussie ranks second in SG: Off-the-Tee, eighth in SG: T2G, eighth in SG: Putting and 14th in SG: Total against the competition this week. Jones broke 70 twice here in 2018 and finished top-10 among the Corales field in putting average.
Nate Lashley - $24
A past champion at Corales Golf Club in 2017 at the Web.com level, Lashley feels underpriced despite a missed cut in his previous showing at the API. He picked up a T8 at the Puerto Rico Open and owns four top-25s in just seven events played this season. Lashley ranks 29th in SG: Approach, 28th in SG: Putting, fifth in proximity and 46th in birdie average.
D.J. Trahan - $20
Coming off back-to-back top-20s at the Puerto Rico Open and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Trahan could be a steal in Punta Cana at the minimum price. He's gained strokes tee-to-green in each of his four events with Shotlink this season, leading to a trio of top-25s in just five starts. In 11 measured rounds, Trahan ranks top-20 on Tour in SG: OTT, SG: T2G and SG: Approach.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week
This might be a good time to focus on bankroll management with March Madness and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play drawing a majority of the attention from fellow gamers this weekend. I'll be turning mostly to cash-game formats such as 50/50s and double-ups in an effort to steadily grow the account, especially with the Masters looming in just two weeks. It'll be much more fun to splurge for the biggest event of the year and therefore sacrifice by remaining risk averse the next few days. Quality tournament plays can be even more difficult to pinpoint with such an erratic collection of subpar talent in the field at Corales.