- Full preview of the Honda Classic with The Golf Insider
- Four value picks between $23 and $81
This week’s second golf tournament sees the players hit the state of Florida. We now have a short run of events here (this week’s Honda Classic, the Arnold Palmer, the Players Championship and Valspar), with a short detour to Texas (WGC Match Play & Texas Open). Then the first major of 2020, the US Masters.
So there’s plenty of great action to come on the PGA Tour between now and then.
Honda Classic: The Tournament
The Honda has been played in several locations around the state during its 48 year history, but has been at the current venue, Palm Beach Gardens, since 2007. As the first event on a new part of the schedule it’s not always the best attended tournament, giving plenty of players the chance to win.
Honda Classic: The Course
We’re at the PGA National Champion course located in West Palm Beach, just up the coast from Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It’s a par-70 course which measures 7,140 yards. Originally opened in 1981, the facility was later re-designed by Jack Nicklaus, whose name is checked on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, known as “The Bear Trap”!
It’s now a tougher course with plenty of water hazards and bunkers to catch out the players. Recent winning scores have been between 6-under and 13-under-par.
264: Justin Leonard (2003).
61: Brian Harman (2012)
Honda Classic: Past Winners
2019: Keith Mitchell
2018: Justin Thomas
2017: Rickie Fowler
2016: Adam Scott
2015: Padraig Harrington
Honda Classic: The Field
Honda Classic: The Weather
There’s no expectation of rain on any of the four days, with only light cloud cover on Thursday and Sunday. Temperatures though will be a little below average, in the low 20s Wind speeds are highest on the first day (around 16mph) but will generally lessen as the event progresses.
Honda Classic: Outright Value Bets
Justin Rose (currently $23 with BetEasy)
Rose hasn’t enjoyed the best of times over the past twelve months. By his own admission his long game has been poor and he’s failed to challenge as often as he normally does in big events. However he played encouragingly at Riviera last time out, with two 69s putting him in the frame before he drifted off the pace over the weekend. This week’s course is a fit with Rose’s game, and despite missing the cut last year his previous three starts were 4-5-3. So course conditions will suit, he’s well-rested, back in the familiar surroundings in Florida, and but for a slump in form would be right up there at the head of the market. He looks big to me at the price in a tournament where most of the real big names are absent, and he knows he can play well on the course.
Lee Westwood (currently $67 with BetEasy)
Westwood is worth chancing here considering his confidence and morale are high after a recent win in Abu Dhabi. Westwood’s form dipped shortly after this win, but that’s to be expected. He did shoot four rounds under par last in Mexico and his game looked sharp. His form at PGA National is impressive, having finished in the Top 10 on three occasions from six starts. Europeans have a good record here due to the breezy conditions and nature of the course, and Westwood will no doubt be looking forward to going back to a happy hunting ground in good form. He looks like a great each-way play to me as I was expecting more like 40s on him this week.
Corey Conners (currently $67 with BetEasy)
As you will already know, I’m a huge Conners fan due to his superb tee-to-green game. His form of late has been average but he continues to rank highly in driving and approaches. He just needs to find his touch on and around the greens again. He ranks 11th in Ball Striking, 19th in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee and 25th in Approach over the last two events despite finishing 50th n Mexico and missing the cut at the Genesis. This week, ball-striking around a breezy PGA National will be crucial, just like it was when he won in Texas last year. He’s a class operator who I’ll continue to back when he’s priced at these sort of odds. Considering this week’s field is average in strength. Conners is an auto-bet for me at the price.
Luke List (currently $81 with BetEasy)
We backed List last time out at the Genesis Invitational, and he was going great until a final round 75 saw him fall from the Top 15 to 30th. He played well enough to suggest he’s hitting top form just in time to exact revenge at a venue that definitely owes him one. He lost in a play-off to Justin Thomas in 2018 – after Thomas birdied the final hole to force a play-off when it looked like List had won. List also finished tenth in 2016 so he knows how to handle this week’s test. His strokes gained figures over the last two events are really encouraging, ranking inside the Top 50 in seven of the eight categories. He’s 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and 15th in Strokes Gained: Around The Green, which is really encouraging considering it’s his short game where he struggles.
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