Honda Classic Preview: Brooks the man to beat as Florida swing begins

David Kristiansen came agonisingly close to picking his third winner of the season on Sunday, but has dusted himself down and is back with his selections ahead of the Honda Classic in Florida.

David Kristiansen

A number of familiar names will make their way to The Honda Classic this week at the PGA National, regarded by many as one of the toughest courses on the tour.

Contenders include past winner Rickie Fowler and 2018 FedExCup champion Justin Rose along with Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland, who are looking for their first wins at this venue.

Sponsor exemptions include former teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa, recent European Tour winner Kurt Kitayama and two-time PGA TOUR winner Lee Westwood, who, at the age of46, won on the European Tour earlier this year

WGC Mexico Recap

Partick Reed

The tournament on the outskirts of Mexico City always seem to deliver a thrilling tournament and this year’s edition was no exception.

When the leaders made the turn on Sunday, McIlroy, Thomas, Reed, Rahm, Dechambeu and Van Rooyen were all within one shot of each other.

With a few holes to go, it looked like it was Dechambeau’s to lose, but a bogey on the 17th left the door open for Patrick Reed and the controversial American took advantage birdieing three of the last four holes to win by one.

It’s not the first time Reed has performed well in the midst of a controversy so make sure to back him the next time he causes a stir.

When it comes to our bets, we must feel a little hard done by after our man Bryson seemed to have it wrapped up a couple of times during the weekend, but that’s golf betting so we dust our self’s off and move on to this weeks tournament.

Course/Field

Course: PGA National GC
Length: 7140 yards (Par 70)
Greens: Bermuda
Opened: 1981
Architect: Tom and George Fazio, re-designed by Jack Nicklaus

The Florida swing gets underway with the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens and like last year it’s clear that this tournament is a victim of the new schedule with Brooks Koepka being the only of the top 10 players in the world that is teeing it up this week.

PGA National is a par 70 that regularly plays as one of the toughest on tour with a winning score most years in the single digits. The course is protected by water on 14 holes, heavy rough and moderate to strong winds, so this is one of the weeks where its better to be straight than long (you of course preferably want to be both).

With people clubbing down off the tee approaches will be even more important than usual this week, with the 150-200 range being where most approaches will be coming from including all four par 3s.

We are also back on Bermuda greens that are large and usually plays fast and are protected by water and bunkers.

Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:

  • Par 4 scoring 400-450 yards
  • Strokes gained approach
  • Proximity 150-175 and 175-200 yards
  • Good drives
  • Bermuda puttingResults at tough/windy courses

2019/20 Season overview

Wagered: 98 units
Won: 149.66 units
Result: + 51.66 units
Outright winners: Hero World Challenge: Henrik Stensson 25-1 / Farmers Insurance Open: Marc Leishman 50-1

Picks

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka at 12.00* 3 pts to Win

In my opinion, the bookmakers keep undervaluing the four-time major champion and while his comments on his knee might be seen as a red flag, I just don’t think he would have shown up here if it wasn’t at least manageable.

He came into last year’s Honda Classic in similar form and delivered nicely for a tie for second and as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago many of his top performances including wins have come on the back of some mediocre results.

Being a two-time U.S Open and PGA Championship winner he loves tough courses and the 43rd place finish at the Genesis doesn’t look promising on the surface, but he gained strokes both on approach and off the tee, though lost on and around the green, now he`s back on Bermuda where he is one of the best putters in the world.

Shane Lowry at 34.00* 1 pt Each Way

The Open Champion comes off a middling performance in Mexico (T29) where he gained strokes off the tee and on approach but uncharacteristically lost around and on the greens, this is usually strengths of the Irishman so he should be able to turn that around this week.

His strengths are suited for tough windy conditions and while he don’t have any high finishes at this tournament its good to see that he has played here a couple of times and made the cut both times.

 

Each Way – 1/4 the odds, 5 places. *Odds subject to change

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