Mayakoba 2022 rankings: Will Gordon leads, Viktor Hovland chasing world tech championship

The first round of a sneaky good Mayakoba event is in the books, and while the top leaderboard doesn’t jump off the page, the strength of the field is just beyond the leaders.

Will Gordon and Russell Henley are our 1-2 atop this chart after shooting 62 and 63 respectively in the first round, but the heavyweights are a few strokes back and looking to reach the top on Friday and beyond. Let’s take a look at how Thursday went in Mayakoba.

The leader

1. Will Gordon (-9): Gordon had eight birdies and an eagle en route to his first-round lead. The former Vanderbilt golfer had a solid year on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, racking up six top 10 finishes (including one win) and finishing sixth on the KFT points list. His best result on the PGA Tour, however, is a T3 at the 2020 Travelers Championship. He said after turning 62 he was avoiding what he had tried to do in the past by tempering his expectations.

“I think that’s what I’ve tried to do in the past, but honestly I’m just going to try to enjoy the moment and keep pushing forward,” Gordon said. “I don’t know what the rest of the week has in store for me, nothing is promised and nothing is given so I just have to keep trying to go out and earn it.”

Gordon’s season got off to a great start as he qualified in each of his first four events of the year. It was fascinating to hear him talk about what he learned and how he grew mentally from the success of those he competed with in KFT.

“There are a lot of guys my age and younger who are very successful here and guys who have been here and had major successes that I grew up playing with,” Gordon said. “So…it kind of takes away the fear in a way because you know you can do it, but you still have to go out and do it and win it. So it was good to see the KFT class play well this fall and I got to see a bunch of those guys, so it’s been a cool transition this fall.”

Other suitors

2. Russell Henley (-8)

T3. Scott Piercy, Francesco Molinari, Sam Ryder, Harris English (-7)

T7. David Lingmerth, Martin Laird, Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland (-6)

The big dogs reside there at point T7 with Hovland for his third straight victory in this tournament and Scheffler aiming for his fifth PGA Tour victory in 2022. They played together Thursday and shot a better 60.

“For the most part, you’re doing your own thing, but it’s good when you’re on the golf course and you can see other players hitting really good shots,” Scheffler said. “I think it’s a good momentum for the group, when someone starts playing well the other guys can feed off of that sometimes.”

Hovland’s last nine rounds at Mayakoba look like this: 67-69-63-65-67-65-62-67-65. That’s an average of 65.6 over the last three seasons, which is absolutely ridiculous. Still, Hovland says he can (and should) play better than he did on Thursday.

“I think the last two years I started at 4 and 5 under (he had 4 under in the first round of both wins) so I even improved on that,” Hovland said. “Obviously I made a few putts and got out of the bunker. I did a lot of good things today, but at the same time I felt like I also made some really bad shots. So I feel like there’s still room for improvement.”

Where is Morikawa?

I’m not going to worry about Collin Morikawa (or any top 10 player in the world) in early November of any year. However, he shot 71 on Thursday and is currently T90. If he finishes outside the top 25 (which seems like a probability right now), that would mark three straight events to start his season in which he didn’t land a top 25 appearance. That’s something which deserves to be watched.

Mayakoba 2022 odds, picks

  • Scottie Scheffler: 6-1
  • Victor Hovland: 13/2
  • Russell Henley: 9-1
  • Will Gordon: 14-1
  • English Harris: 18-1
  • Maverick McNealy: 18-1
  • Tom Hoge: 22-1
  • Francesco Molinari: 22-1

It’s a pretty interesting chart right now. Scheffler is a bit too short for my liking, although I kinda like Hovland at 13/2. Hoge at 22-1 speaks my language. I’ve been riding the Hoge bandwagon for weeks now, and he can’t stop shooting scores in the mid-60s. He’s one of the best iron players in the world that no one knows about. The value here is probably with Tony Finau – who was my pre-tournament pick – at 35-1. He is 3 under and just four behind in third place. That’s nothing for a goalscorer like Big Tone in a place like Mayakoba, and I think he shook off any rust he had in the first round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *