Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 US PGA Tour: The Honda Classic

2020 US PGA Tour: The Honda Classic

 Brooks Koepka putts the ball

Damien Kayat takes a look at the Honda Classic taking place at the PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Garden, Florida.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

2020 US PGA Tour | The Honda Classic
PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Garden, Florida
Thursday 27 February - Sunday 1 March 

Last week’s WGC event ended in spectacular style, with around seven players flirting in and out of contention. It was certainly a magnificent start to the WGC roster, showing just how unpredictable the upcoming Major season will be.  Patrick Reed looks in good shape to make another push for a Green Jacket. With the West Coast Swing well and truly over, the tour moves to Florida for the Honda Classic. Poa Annua greens will give way to Bermuda and you may see this reflected in upcoming leader-boards. This will be the 48th edition of an event originally known as the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic. Honda has been the sponsor of this event since 1982 and PGA National Champion Course became the host course 13 years ago.

PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Garden is the brainchild of Tom and George Fazio. It’s the first event in Florida all year and is one of the toughest tests on the PGA Tour. Jack Nicklaus notably reworked the course in 1990.  It is heavily bunkered and features an array of water hazards.  Last season it was ranked the most difficult non-major Par 70 on tour. Only three of the four winning scores here have reached double digits. There are immense par 4’s and players will need to drive well this week. Holes 15 through 17 are famously referred to as the ‘Bear Trap’: the par 3 17th was the hardest par 3 on the 2018 tour. While not a links course, this is an exposed design that is wind-affected. Three Open Champions have tasted success here.

I truly find it somewhat hysterical to see Tommy Fleetwood leading the markets ahead of Brooks Koepka- regardless of most recent form. Fleetwood’s only victory for the better part of two years came at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Defending champion Keith Mitchell will be hoping that a return to Florida can see some reversal in his recent fortunes. Ricky Fowler is a former champion here while both Justin Rose and Louis Oosthuizen should feel comfortable around here. And we surely shouldn’t discount last week’s Puerto Rico victor: Viktor Hovland.

Past Winners
2019: Keith Mitchell (-9)
2018: Justin Thomas (-8)*playoff
2017: Ricky Fowler (-12)
2016: Adam Scott (-9)
2015: Padraig Harrington (-6)*playoff

Outright Betting (To Win)
Tommy Fleetwood (10/1)
Brooks Koepka (11/1)
Rickie Fowler (12/1)
Gary Woodland (20/1)
Justin Rose (25/1)

Value Bets

Daniel Berger
To Win (33/1), To Place (7/1)
Daniel Berger returns to a course that he knows well.  Berger lost in a playoff here in 2015, though he has little form here since that close call. Berger’s career seemed to be in state of freefall in the last few seasons. Berger seems to have found something again in his game, with back-to-back top 10’s at the Phoenix Open and Pebble Beach. At Pebble, his stats were encouraging, finishing fifth in shots gained tee to green and seventh in the scrambling analysis. The Florida native could be primed for a huge weekend.

Dylan Frittelli
To Win (125/1), To Place (25/1)
This one just looks very enticing in the place markets. The Champion is a course riddled with 400-450 yard par 4’s.  These are exactly the type of holes that Frittelli can score on.  The pure ball-striker missed the cut here last season but finished 11th the season before. Since then he has broken through with his maiden PGA Tour victory at the John Deere Classic. Frittelli hasn’t started this season in scintillating form but does have a couple of top 10’s to his name- at Sanderson Farms and the Safeway Open.

The Man to Beat

Billy Horschel
To Win (28/1), To Place (6/1)
I have an extremely positive feeling about the amicable American this week. Like this week’s favourite Tommy Fleetwood, Horschel is a highly accomplished long-iron player who can tame this beast. He finished in a tie for 10th last year and has a further top-five finish to his name around The Champion. Horschel enters this event in brilliant form, having secured back-to-back T9 finishes at the WGC Mexico and Phoenix Open. The former FedEx Cup Champion is playing some of his most consistent golf in years and could be a slightly under-the-radar champion this week.  

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