Preview – PGA Tour — The Honda Classic – PGA National – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida –
The PGA Tour heads to the Sunshine State for the Florida Swing beginning with The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
Twelve of the world’s Top 25 players headline this week including Top 10 players Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. Several international players – including Masters champ Danny Willett — are in the field this week as players gear up for the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship in March and the Masters in April.
The famed “Bear Trap” takes center stage at PGA National this week – site of the Honda Classic since 2007. Jack’s Bear Trap – holes
15, 16 and 17 – are expected to decide the champion. The Champions Course (Par 70, 7,110 yards) ranks among the most difficulty on tour each year with plenty of water hazards.
PGA National has crowned a solid list of international-born champions including Scott, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Rory Sabbatini, Camilo Villegas and Y.E. Yang. Americans Michael Thompson and Russell Henley won in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
- Scott (9-under) edged Garcia by a shot to capture the title. It was the start of two-straight PGA Tour wins for the Aussie. Thomas was T-3 at 5-under alongside Blayne Barber, while Vijay Singh, Billy Horschel and Rickie Fowler were among those logging Top 10 finishes.
FANTASY: Take international players, which have a great history at PGA National. Scott is certainly a great pick for this venue coming in as defending champion. But, he also played well last week (T-11) at Riviera to finish off the West Coast Swing. He is fresh, rested. Take Russell Knox, who has Top 3s in two of his last three Honda appearances. Thomas is a must-start after three wins already this season.
BETTORS: Scott, at 12-to-1 odds, is the betting favorite at Ladbrokes.com. But for better value, take a shot with Knox (28-1) and Daniel Berger (33-1). Berger lost here in a playoff in 2015 to Harrington. His maturity might pay off this week. Take Louis Oosthuizen (28-1), who contended in Australia last week on the European Tour. Travel concerns me, but he is a streaky player when he gets it going.
Other Golf News:
- Dustin Johnson’s win at Genesis Open moved him to No. 1 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings. It marks his first stint at the top spot. He is idle this week.
- The LPGA Tour hosts the Honda LPGA Thailand this week. Shanshan Feng of China is the betting favorite at 6-1 odds. Last week’s winner Ha Na Jang comes in at 12-1 alongside Lexi Thompson.
- The European Tour hosts the Joburg Open this week.
- Fred Couples (16-under) beat out Miguel Angel Jimenez by three shots to capture the PGA Tour Champions’ Chubb Classic. It marked his first win of 2017.