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USATSI

Though this week’s PGA Tour event is, in the wake of the U.S. Open, not the strongest tournament in the world — the Payne’s Valley Cup on Tuesday had a better strength of field — there are still plenty of interesting things to discuss about the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. Between the best player not being a PGA Tour member, an 18-year-old phenom and several older stalwarts involved, the tournament should still be terrific.

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s contest, with odds and prop bets provided via William Hill Sportsbook.

Event information

What: Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship
When: Sept. 24-27
Where: Corales Golf Club — Punta Cana, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic

Three things to know

1. Zalatoris watch: What if I told you the best player in this field — and also the betting favorite — was not a full-time member of the PGA Tour? It’s true. Will Zalatoris, who finished T6 at last week’s U.S. Open is still a full-time Korn Ferry Tour player and, because of COVID-19, might not be able to move up to the bigger tour until the end of 2021. Data Golf has him as a top 25 player in the world so it makes sense that he’s your 12-1 favorite.

2. More Akshay: I continue to be fascinated by Akshay Bhatia’s career. He’s 18 years old and got a spot in the field by finishing top 10 at the Safeway Open two weeks ago. He’s an interesting sleeper at 125-1 if only because the talent is intoxicating and now he has the confidence that comes with actually making a cut on the PGA Tour. 

3. Masters bid: For the first time, this winner of this event will get a bid to the Masters. That bid will not come until the 2021 Masters, but its elevation to full status for the FedEx Cup means whoever grabs the trophy will also be grabbing a tee time next April at Augusta National Golf Club. That’s a massive carrot dangling at the end of Sunday afternoon and probably worth as much as any of the other spoils that come with winning a PGA Tour event.

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Grading the field

Listen, it is not great. Your favorites include Zalatoris, Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners, Sam Burns, Adam Long and Emiliano Grillo. And while there are some interesting names in the field — Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell, Branden Grace and Pat Perez — none of the bigger names are really at the top of their games right now. It should still be a fun tournament, but it is not a grandiose field. Grade: C-

Corales Puntacana picks