Wagner Leads Mayakoba List For This Week's ICG Fantasy 5 (Plus 3)

A couple times each year golf fans are treated to a "double dose" of golf action. This is one of those times. jwagner_swings2.jpg

The PGA TOUR officially travels to Riviera Maya, Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. 64 of the best players, though, will be traveling to Tuscon, Arizona for the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.

At iCHOOSEGOLF we'll be focusing on the scoring in Mexico as well as keeping an eye on how the brackets shake out in Arizona.

And so, in honor of the extra serving of competitive golf this weekend, we offer up the ICG Fantasy Five Plus Three. We'll take a look at five players that should finish high on the leaderboard in Mexico as well as three names to keep an eye on at the WGC Accenture.

For the Mayakoba Classic ~

Johnson Wagner: The defending champion at any TOUR event usually carries a little extra weight when looking at favorites for this year's version. And so, with his win at Mayakoba in 2011, Wagner makes the list though, for this year, he'd still be in this group. He's already won - at the Sony in January, he's ranked #2 on the FedExCup points list and #3 on the Money List. He's also in the top 10 on our ICG Index list (a formula that takes into account Greens in Regulation, Birdie or Better Conversion and tournament finishes). The Virginia Tech alum with the 'Magnum' mustache hasn't missed a cut this year. Expect another good week in sunny Mexico.

Brian Gay: The former Florida Gator is off to a good start in 2012. He already has two top 20 finishes (at the Sony and at Pebble Beach) thanks in large part to his #7 ranking in Driving Accuracy and #23 rank in Scoring Average. Gay finished T5 at the Mayakoba last year, T20 in 2009 and won the event in 2008 so it's obvious he likes the course. Look for a similarly high finish in this year's version of the event.

Spencer Levin: Though fatigue will likely be a factor for Levin this week (it's his SIXTH tournament in a row on the TOUR schedule) it would be hard to count him out. He hasn't missed a cut this year in six events and notched a third place finish in Phoenix as well as a T9 at Pebble Beach two weeks ago. Simply put: Levin can play, as evidenced by his #20 rank in Scoring Average. This week may be a bit of a "Mexican vacation" for the California native but another good finish should be just the right salt for his margarita.

Jarrod Lyle: Like Gay, Jarrod Lyle, the big Aussie, is off to a good start this season. He's missed only one cut in six tries and is coming off a T4 finish at Riviera this past week. And, like Wagner and Gay above, Lyle played well at the Mayakoba last year with a T5 finish. He's in the top 50 on our ICG Index, 37th in Total Driving on the TOUR and 36th on the FedExCup points list. He's likely on your "dark horse" list for this week but don't be surprised if he finishes high on the leaderboard when the dust settles on Sunday.

Cameron Beckman: Call this one a bit of a "homer" pick for Beckman, a San Antonio native and college roommate of a good friend to ICG. But there is some substance to this pick as well. Beckman won the Mayakoba in 2010 and finished 12th last year and T15 in 2009 at the event. The term "horses for courses" applies here and so, with many of the biggest dogs of the TOUR playing in Arizona, look for Beckman to take advantage of the opportunity at a course he enjoys.

BONUS ICG picks for the WGC Accenture Match Play Championships ~

Adam Scott: Match play is about consistent pressure on your opponent and grinding out pars when necessary in order to keep the momentum going. Scott absolutely did both of those things in leading the International team at the President's Cup in November. You will not find a more consistent (or pretty) swing anywhere in the world and now Scott has the putter (albeit, a long one) to match. He is coming off a T17 in his first event last week. He'll be hard to beat in Tuscon this week.

Steve Stricker: Regarding Stricker's skills, see the discourse on Scott above. Long regarded as one of the best putters on the TOUR, the extremely likable Wisconsin native can be a force in match play. He's already won this season (at the Hyundai TOC on Maui) and followed that up with a T38 in Honolulu the next week. Now rested and ready to go, expect Stricker to go deep into the bracket at the WGC Accenture.

Brandt Snedeker: The third "S" in our triumvirate of picks (total coincidence, by the way) Snedeker makes the list for several reasons. With a win this season at the Farmers, a T8 at the Humana Challenge and a T17 last week at Riviera, Brandt is obviously playing well. He's ranked second in Scoring Average and 4th in All-Around Ranking. If you were writing a formula for success all of the aforementioned stats would be applied. Expect "Sneds" to show up big in Tuscon this week.

Enjoy the coverage on the Golf Channel and NBC Sports this week.

By Michael Weigand, ICG

 

 

 

 

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