The first of the four World Golf Championship events of 2018 gets underway at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico this week, with 45 of the world’s top 50 teeing it up.
Last year’s event marked the first time a WGC event had been held in Mexico, with Dustin Johnson seeing off the European trio of Tommy Fleetwood, Ross Fisher and Jon Rahm to capture the second of his four PGA Tour titles of 2017.
The 7,330-yard course offers an interesting challenge in that it is located 7,300 feet above sea level, meaning the ball travels further than normal. However, the layout has been designed to reward precision over distance.
We've taken a look at who you should be keeping your eyes on...
Tommy Fleetwood – 16/1
Last year, Tommy Fleetwood won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship before going onto finish runner-up. Earlier this year, he won in Abu Dhabi again – but can he go one better this time? The Englishman is coming into the event on the back of a T4 finish at the Honda Classic and, as last year’s result shows, he’s a big fan of the course. “It is a very European layout,” he said. “The general feel of when you're walking down the fairways and seeing the tee shots, it's tree-lined, that is quite a European feel to it.”
Alex Noren – 25/1
You’ll struggle to find a player going into this event on better PGA Tour form than Alex Noren. After committing to a series of Stateside starts at the beginning of the year, the Swede’s finishes read: T2, T21, T16, 3. Impressive – especially given that he had only previously made three PGA Tour starts outwith majors and WGCs.
Phil Mickelson – 25/1
Chapultepec was the scene of Phil Mickelson’s second-best performance on the PGA Tour last year – finishing T7 – and it came after a, let’s just say, erratic display off the tee, as this clip shows.
While Mickelson’s accuracy off the tee hasn’t improved in 2018, he has put together a string of fine showings on the PGA Tour, going a combined 36-under-par at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am and Genesis Open, where he finished T5, T2 and T6 respectively.
Thomas Pieters – 33/1
A big performance is surely on the horizon for Thomas Pieters, who hasn’t tasted victory since the 2016 Made in Denmark, which propelled him into the European Ryder Cup team. The Belgian put together four consistent rounds at last week’s Honda Classic – finishing T13 – and ended up T5 at last year’s WGC-Mexico Championship, three shots behind winner Johnson.
Shubhankar Sharma – 175/1
Twenty-one-year-old Shubhankar Sharma grabbed his maiden European Tour title at the Joburg Open in December and followed that up swiftly at the Maybank Championship after a stunning final round 62 – becoming the only multiple winner on the European Tour so far this season. This is the biggest event of the young Indian’s career to date but, as his weekend performance in Malaysia showed, he certainly isn’t overawed by the enormity of a task at hand.