Mexico Open 2024 First-Round Leader Tips: Early Tee Times an Advantage

 | February 21 | 

5 mins read

jamie worsley pga tour

The PGA Tour heads for Vidanta Vallarta this week and our Golf Tipster Jamie Worsley has put together his analysis of the First-Round Leader Betting Market for us at Betfred Insights. He picks out three names who he feels are worth a flutter.

Remember, please check out his full Mexico Open 2024 Betting Preview if you haven't already done so...

Mexico Open 2024 First-Round Leader Betting Tips:

  • Taylor Pendrith 40/1 – 1/4 5 places – 1 pt ew (First-Round Leader)
  • S.H. Kim 60/1 – 1/4 5 places – 1 pt ew (First-Round Leader)
  • Andrew Novak 90/1 – 1/4 5 places – 0.75 pts ew (First-Round Leader)

I’ve taken a look at the first-round leader market for this week’s Mexico Open and whilst the sample size is small, there is enough evidence to suggest that the early starters will have the advantage.

In the first edition of this event here in 2022, six players ended round one tied at the top of the leaderboard on 7-under-par. Of those players, only Kurt Kitayama had a PM starting time.

Jump forward to last year and Austin Smotherman went one better than the 2022 FRL score, firing an opening round of -8. Again, he had an early start time and with the forecast predicting the wind to increase just enough on Thursday afternoon to make a difference to those later starters, it could pay to side with those who tee off in the morning.

Taylor Pendrith 40/1 – 1/4 5 places – 1 pt ew (First-Round Leader)

Start time: 07:30

I’m going to begin with a man who has been very popular this week in the outright betting, Taylor Pendrith. Whilst his strong ball-striking game certainly made him of interest in that regard to me this week, I feel he stands a strong chance of ending the first round of this event at the top of the leaderboard.

Pendrith was in great form at the end of last year, recording finishes of 3rd in the Shriners Open and 8th in Bermuda over his final four starts. He continued in a similar vein this year, recording two top 10s in his opening three starts; the most recent of which came at the Farmers Insurance Open.

He’s started slowly in those two events, not exactly ideal for this market but he does have several low rounds, with three 66s or lower, showing he’s in the type of low-scoring mood you have to be in to take down this market.

Further to that, Pendrith finished 30th on his debut here last year and in contrast to those recent starts, his best round came in round one, shooting a 6-under 65 to sit 4th at the end of the opening day. A round which came in one of those AM timeslots that he’s bagged himself again on Thursday.

S.H Kim 60/1 – 1/4 5 places – 1 pt ew (First-Round Leader)

Start time: 07:52

S.H Kim has been producing positive results at the start of 2024 and with his first-round performances getting better with each passing week, he looks to be trending into a first-round lead in Mexico from his favourable early start time.

Kim has started his second season on the PGA Tour by making four of five cuts and recording three results of 31st or better; the best of these a 28th-place finish last-time-out in the Phoenix Open.

The driver has been key, for which he ranks 31st in this field over those starts and it was this club that helped him to a 24th-place finish at Vidanta Vallarta on debut last year; ranking 9th in the field and shooting four rounds in the 60s.

Kim ranked just outside the top 50 in round-one scoring last year, owing to particularly strong starting efforts when 2nd in the Fortinet Championship, 4th in the Sony Open and 5th in the Canadian

Open. He’s starting to do the same this year, improving his first-round positions with each start; culminating in sitting 8th after eighteen holes of the Phoenix Open two. He can take advantage of the calmer conditions early on Thursday to keep that trend going this week.

Andrew Novak 90/1 – 1/4 5 places – 0.75 pts ew (First-Round Leader)

Start time: 07:30

Andrew Novak was a distant 2nd to an inspired Nick Taylor in the Phoenix first round two weeks ago. Though I was impressed with how he maintained his performance there and with some positive results here, where he’s started well on both visits, I fancy him to start swiftly again this week.

Novak missed his first three cuts this year before finishing 8th in Phoenix but there were promising signs over the three prior starts. Especially at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he drove the ball well and looked neat and tidy with the short game, but failed to find anything in approach. This was the big difference in Phoenix as he ranked inside the top 10 with his irons.

This is often the key to his game, as he’s shown on both previous visits. He ranked 4th in approach when finishing 15th on debut here in 2022 and was again inside the top 15 last year when finishing 49th; it’s a course where he also feels comfortable letting go with the driver.

Perhaps more encouraging in regards to this week is that Novak’s best rounds at Vidanta Vallarta have come in round one on each start. He shot a 66 to sit 11th after the opening round in 2022 and recorded a round of 67 to sit 14th after last year’s first round. If the potential bias does indeed play out again, he looks well placed to challenge for FRL this week.

Jamie Worsley previews the PGA, LPGA and DP World Tours for us at Betfred Insights. You can check out all of his previews and latest Golf Betting Tips on our Golf homepage...

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