Spotlight on: Justin Thomas in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

The American star heads the outright market in Mexico this week but is he a good bet to shine on his third visit to El Camaleon?

The autumn can often be a quiet time for the world's best golfers.

They've put in the hard work across the Majors and the FedEx Playoffs so this is a time to perhaps take stock and rest up a little.

But 25% of Justin Thomas's 16 PGA Tour wins have come in late October/early November so this is traditionally a good time to back him.

After finishing with a 64 to take tied 18th place in the CJ Cup last time, JT returns to action at this week's World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in Mexico.

Thomas admitted he was disappointed with his 2020/21 season despite a brilliant victory in the prestigious Players Championship.

So will this week's event present him with an ideal opportunity to bank his first success since that Sawgrass triumph back in March?

It's certainly a course he enjoys. Last year, Thomas said: "I love this place. Very similar to Malaysia (where he's won the CIMB Classis twice), it's same exact kind of grass.

"If you can hit your numbers and you get your ball in the fairway, you can get after it."

Here, Planet Sport looks at the different ways to back him in Mexico this week...

Thomas in the outright

This is JT's third start at El Camaleon, the short and windy coastal track at Mayakoba Resort.

He first played it way back in 2014 when a young, emerging talent ranked 128th in the world.

Thomas shot 67-70-69-69 and finished a promising tied 23rd.

After a five-year absence, he returned to the tournament last season when it was played in December.

He started slowly that year, opening with a 72 that left him in tied 70th.

But he fired a second-round 67 and then surged up to fifth place with a sparkling Saturday 62.

He couldn't repeat the magic in Sunday's closer as a 69 left him in tied 12th but Thomas did enough that week to suggest he could win this tournament sooner rather than later.

Widening the lens, Thomas seems to have a particular fondness for Mexico.

He's played seven events there and has finishes of 2-23-5-2-9-6-12.

Thomas in the first round

Starting from September 2020, Thomas has been the first-round leader three times in his last 26 strokeplay starts.

An opening 65 put him in the outright lead after day one of the 2020 US Open while the same score gave Thomas the joint lead with Harris English in January 2021's Tournament of Champions.

Four starts ago, he opened with a 63 at The Northern Trust to share FRL honours with Jon Rahm.

During that same period, he was also second after the opening lap of both the Zozo Championship and the Scottish Open.

Although he's not started fast in this event, he has done in other Mexico tournaments.

The 28-year-old was the leader after round one of the Korn Ferry's Mexico Championship in 2014 while he sat second (2020) and third (2019) following Thursday's play at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

In short, he's a proven fast starter and can go low early in this part of the world too.

Thomas in Thursday's three-ball

Thomas tees off (from the 10th) at 07:50am local time on Thursday in a marquee threesome also featuring Rickie Fowler and Joaquin Niemann.

In the last four events when this trio have all been present, Fowler has shot the lowest or joint-lowest first-round score in all four.

The latest example came at the CJ Cup when Fowler shot 66 on Thursday to Niemann's 67 and Thomas's 69.

They all played this event last year and Niemann went lowest on day one: Niemann 66, Fowler 70, Thomas 72.

Fowler has the best finish at the course - a second place in 2017 - so after his return to form with a third place at the CJ Cup, the Californian could offer some value in round one.

Conclusion

Thomas is worth a look in the outrights but perhaps it's worth chancing the more volatile first-round leader market.

He's done better for first-round leader punters than outright backers over the last 12 months and has been known to start fast in Mexico.

An early tee-time will give him the ideal opportunity to attack the fresh greens.

READ MORE: Spotlight on: Abraham Ancer in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

Latest Golf Videos