The Florida swing ends with the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens this week with Lee Westwood looking to build on his second-place finish at The Players Championship last week.
Former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im will return to defend his maiden title where he’ll be competing against a field that boasts 18 major champions.
Course: PGA National GC
Length: 7140 yards (Par 70)
Architect: Tom and George Fazio, re-designed by Jack Nicklaus
The Florida swing ends with the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens and like the last couple of years, it’s clear that this tournament is a victim of the new schedule this year more than ever after Brooks Koepka who is usually the top billing here had to withdraw with a knee injury.
That leaves Daniel Berger, the in-form Lee Westwood and defending champion Sungjae Im as the only ones in the top 20 in the world ranking and, as with all weaker fields, this gives us some interesting options down the betting board.
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 it is 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. The Bermuda greens 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 putting
- Results at tough/windy courses
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 138 units
Won: 352.42 units
Result: 21442 units
Waste Management: Brooks Koepka 41-1
Genesis Invitational: Max Homa 56-1
The Players Championship: Justin Thomas 19-1
After occupying the back end of leader boards for his first couple of years on tour the young American seems to have taken some significant steps in the post-shutdown period with three top-five finishes in his last eleven starts capped off by an impressive T5 last week at the PLAYERS.
Gooch is a first-class iron player with a good short game and a putter that usually works well, his one weakness is his off the tee game but on a course that demands that you leave the driver in the bag on multiple holes, I think this is a good fit for him to get his breakthrough win.
The course history also seems to indicate this with a T38 and a T20 finishes here over the last couple of years when he was not half the player he is today.
When I try to pick winners I usually go after two types of golfers; either young players who have not won yet but who I see promising signs of them having a high ceiling like Talor Gooch or proven winners.
Matt Wallace fits in the latter category as a guy who has won four times on the European Tour and while he has yet to get his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour this field is just the kind of event, I can see the 55th ranked golfer in the world breaking through on this stage.
His last few months have been promising with a couple of top 10s in the middle east just before Christmas in stronger fields than this and he looked good at The Arnold Palmer Invitational a couple of weeks ago gaining strokes in all four major categories on his way to a T18.
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