European raiders may not have a prayer against Kevin Chappell
Tommy Fleetwood can enjoy another good week
Tournament starts 5.15pm Thursday
Live on Sky Sports Golf from 7pm
Threeballs and matchbets
The long, tree-lined Chapultepec layout, home of the WGC-Mexico Championship, demands quality ball-striking, and Kevin Chappell seems much more likely than his playing partners to pass the test in the opening round.
Chappell is a crisp ball-striker who has made a lucrative US Tour career from churning out greens in regulation and the Californian can be fancied to boss his 5.39pm (UK and Ireland) group with European Tour regulars Wade Ormsby and Brandon Stone.
Chappell has started the year strongly, with results of 21-6-31-8-20, and he gained some competitive experience of Chapultepec when finishing 55th last year, having arrived at the event in miserable form. Much better can be expected in his current mood, self-belief having increased since he played his part in a Presidents Cup triumph for the States.
More advice from Steve Palmer
Ormsby, seeing the course for the first time this week, has started the year in awful nick, and looks likely to struggle throughout, while Stone has been enduring a crisis of confidence in his swing, performing abysmally for four months. The South African finished 67th of 77 at Chapultepec last year when in much better form, so a horror story could unfold this week.
There are some hugely glamorous threeballs for this mega-bucks gathering – Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm tee off together at 5.51pm – but Chappell is by far the most appealing betting proposition.
Pat Perez enjoys performing in Mexico, where he won the OHL Classic in fine style in 2016, and the steady Phoenix man should see off Brendan Steele in a 72-hole match. A mid-division effort in this event a year ago was solid from Perez and enough to beat Steele by a shot. Both men have started this term in decent nick, but Perez is better suited to Chapultepec.
Tommy Fleetwood took his narrow defeat in good spirits at PGA National on Sunday, finishing fourth in the Honda Classic with a smile on his face, and the Englishman is thrilled with the state of his game. He has returned to a happy hunting ground – the Race to Dubai champion was runner-up to Johnson in this event last year – and should feature on the leaderboard again.
Fleetwood to beat Rickie Fowler, who has lost plenty of swagger after missed cuts at Torrey Pines and PGA National, and a flop from the front in the final round of the Phoenix Open, looks a strong match wager, particularly with Sky Bet offering a 5-6 draw-no-bet price.
K Chappell to win threeball
4pts 10-11 Betfair, Paddy Power
P Perez to beat B Steele
2pts 17-20 Betfred
T Fleetwood to beat R Fowler
2pts 5-6 Sky Bet
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