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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
OHL Classic at Mayakoba experts' picks


Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.


Horse for the Course

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Brian Gay
In 2008, the 41-year-old four-time tour winner had rounds of 66-67-62-69 to win the Mayakoba Classic at the El Camaleon Golf Club. Gay had a tie for fourth last week at the McGladrey Classic.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Brian Gay
The winner of this tournament at El Camaleon Golf Club, Gay tied for third in 2011 and has another top-20 finish in the tournament's six-year run.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Briny Baird
How about five top-12 finishes in his last five starts in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba? Doesn't hurt that he gutted out a second-place finish last week at the McGladrey Classic with that clutch bogey save after rinsing his approach shot with a first PGA Tour title within reach.


Birdie Buster

Evans: Tim Clark
The 37-year-old South African has not won on tour since the 2010 Players Championship, but he's had 10 top-10s since then, including a tie for second last week at the McGladrey Classic, where he shot a 62 in the final round.

Harig: Tim Clark
Clark had nine birdies on Sunday in a final-round 62 at the McGladrey Classic and held the clubhouse lead before settling for a tie for second.

Maguire: Scott Brown
Not exactly a household name, but Brown does own two top-four finishes through six starts early in this 2013-14 season. One of those came last week at the McGladrey Classic, where bookend 66s helped the Augusta, Ga., native earn more than $227,000.


Super Sleeper

Evans: Brooks Koepka
With three victories on the Challenge Tour in 2013, the 23-year-old former Florida State All-American has playing privileges on the European Tour, but the Wellington, Fla., native wants to also earn the right to play full-time near home. He almost got it done at the Frys.com Open in October, where he took a tie for third.

Harig: Briny Baird
He's won more money in PGA Tour history than any player without a victory and suffered a tough loss Sunday at the McGladrey, where his approach on the 72nd hole found water and he finished a shot back. He does have three top-10s at Mayakoba.

Maguire: Books Koepka
Koepka, who nearly won the Frys.com Open and settled for a T-3 finish off a sponsor's invite last month, hopes to earn enough FedEx Cup points this week to get PGA Tour special temporary membership. Clearly he has the game for the PGA Tour, but will the difficulty of getting consistent starts hurt his chances? That's why he's a sleeper.


Winner

Evans: Matt Every
There are not many who play as fast as this 29-year-old former Florida Gator. It's the rare occasion that he ever takes a practice swing before hitting. He's in a rush to win and has the game to do it. In 2012, he finished in a tie for third at Mayakoba and had a tie for seventh last week at the McGladrey Classic.

Harig: Ryan Moore
The winner last month at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, Moore is off to a fast start in the new season as he leads the money list and also has another top-10 finish. A victory here gives him a terrific head start on the 2013-14 season as the tour takes a break.

Maguire: Tim Clark
The diminutive South African showed his mettle with a final-round 62 that gave him a share of second place at the McGladrey Classic. This week's venue, the Mayakoba Resort, isn't particularly long at just under 7,000 yards, so the short-hitting Clark should be able to hold his own.