PGA Tour: Honda Classic Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

We preview this week's Honda Classic which is to be hosted by the PGA NAtional Champion Course in Flordia between 22 February - 25 February. 

The PGA Tour heads to the East Coast this week for the 46th edition of the Honda Classic. Formerly known as the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic, Honda attained sponsorship in 1982. The event will have added poignancy this week in the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in Florida last week.

Ricky Fowler won in dramatic fashion last year while Rory McIlroy won back in 2012. So this is certainly an event with a rich history. This will be the 12th consecutive year that the event has been staged at the PGA National Champion Course.

The Honda Classic | 22 February - 25 February | PGA National Champions Course, Florida

PGA National was designed by Tom and George Fazio and later renovated heavily by Jack Nicklaus. It has water in play on 13 holes and is heavily bunkered. It is not exceptionally long and it’s quite flat, and is rather exposed if the elements go haywire. The players will have to make some quick adjustments this week, as they have been playing on the West Coast for the last few weeks. The Poa Annua greens give way to Bermuda, which should suit more of born and raised in the south far better. 

Ricky Fowler understandably leads the markets in the light of last year’s performance. I still tend to balk when I see Ricky at single digits in high quality fields- the presence of McIlroy and Thomas tend to make his price somewhat short. There is a significant European contingent this week, with Masters Champion Sergio Garcia and Tyrell Hatton at the head of the field. With the Masters just around the corner, players are looking to build momentum in a quest to challenge at the world’s most iconic golfing tournament. 


Past Winners
2017: Ricky Fowler (-12)
2016: Adam Scott (-9)
2015: Padraig Harrington (-6)*playoff
2014: Russell Henley (-8)*playoff
2013: Michael Thompson (-9)

To Win Outright:
Ricky Fowler 8/1 | Rory McIlroy 10/1 | Justin Thomas 11/1 | Sergio Garcia 18/1 | Tyrell Hatton 28/1

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Value Bets

Kevin Kisner- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
Kisner is certainly one of those players who will be pleased with the switch to Bermuda. In fact, Kisner’s form in this neck of the woods has been remarkable in recent years, with finishes of first, third, fourth, seventh and 42nd in his last five starts in the South East. His victories at Colonial and Sea Island also have high corollary with this course. Both courses are not overly long and are exposed, Bermuda based tracks. Kisner sat in eighth last year after 54 holes and is just due a deep run in this event. 

Rafa Cabrera-Bello- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
Europeans have traditionally done well in recent years at PGA National, with at least two Europeans in contention since 2012. Cabrera-Bello has been in decent form of late, with T26 finishes in both Pebble Beach and Riviera. He was T37th last year, but sat inside the top 20 after three rounds of 68-70-69. He has shown a propensity to do well in strong fields recently, with a fourth in last year’s Open followed by a fifth at the elite field WGC HSBC. His T4th at Sawgrass perfectly displays his abilities to becalm a Floridian Course with Bermuda greens.

Lucas Glover- To Win 200/1, To Place 43/1
I always like to include one option that’s slightly off the beaten path, and former US Open Champion Lucas Glover certainly fits that category. The South Carolina native has a penchant for this area of the world, with all three of his PGA Tour victories coming on the East Coast. He definitely qualifies as a Florida specialist, with his last five trips to the state yielding no worse than 27th place. He managed a top four finish last season and could be a formidable dark horse in the place markets. 

The Man to Beat- Tyrell Hatton- To Win 28/1, To Place 6/1
Tyrell Hatton is actually one of the most consistent players on the planet at present, with six consecutive top 20 finishes to his resume. After winning the Alfred Dunhill Links and Italian Open, Hatton picked up an impressive T11th in the star studded WGC HSBC. He finished the season with a commendable T8th at the season ending DP World Championship. He had a solid start this season with a T15 finish in Abu Dhabi, followed by a tremendous solo 3rd in Dubai. He also has course form, finishing T4th last season with three round of 68 or better. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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