The money list: Our 6 best bets for the Honda Classic
After picking the winner in each of the last two events, we are back with our weekly PGA Tour tips...
Sergio Garcia –
Only two of the last nine winners at the PGA National have been American, and Garcia has the form and course history to continue that trend.
The Spaniard is in reasonable nick, having finished inside the top 15 three times in his last five starts, and cruised to a three-shot victory at the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this month.
Garcia has also had some success at the Honda Classic in the past, finishing eighth in 2014 and second last year.
Currently ranked fourth in shots gained off the tee and around the green, the world No. 9 will, as ever, be a threat if he putts well.
Considering he opened with a 65 in Dubai and tends to be a fast starter, he is also a sensible choice to be first-round leader at .
Louis Oosthuizen –
With its swirling winds and abundance of bunkers, the PGA National provides a different challenge for players in the United States.
The ones who typically perform well on links courses tend also tend to do so in Florida, so former Open champions are a good place to look for potential winners here.
For that reason, Oosthuizen, who lifted the Claret Jug in 2010 and finished second at St Andrews in 2015, is a sensible bet.
The South African has never made the cut in this event, but too much shouldn’t be read into that given that he has not played here since 2013.
And he is in fine form, with top-five finishes in each of his last two starts.
That he ranks seventh in total shots gained this season illustrates how well he is playing, and that should translate to a good result at a course that is suited to his game.
Russell Knox –
Knox missed the cut at the Phoenix Open in his last start.
Prior to that, though, the Scot had accrued six consecutive top 20s, including at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The Travelers Championship winner has carried through his impressive form from the end of last season, and has the accuracy required to thrive in the wind at the PGA National.
He finished second here in 2014 and third a year later, and, given that he currently ranks sixth in greens in regulation percentage, is poised to make another challenge this weekend.
Knox has proven that he can win PGA Tour events and is a good bet here, at an ideal course and in a field that is missing a few of the world’s top players.
Betting on him to place in the top five at is perhaps the safer option, though.
Branden Grace –
A prolific winner on the European Tour, Grace has the steady game to make a real push for victory this weekend.
No area of the South African’s game has been particularly exceptional, but he manages to grind out good scores anyway.
He has the eighth-lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour this year, and the fifth-best birdie average.
Grace is also yet to miss a cut in seven 2017 starts, and looks a sure bet to finish in the top 20, priced at .
He is also a good pick at to be first-round leader, given that ranks first in early-round scoring this year and tees off at 7.55am on Thursday.
Best of the rest
Thomas Pieters –
Pieters has not played in the Honda Classic before, but is in decent form at present and went close to winning last week’s Genesis Open.
He finished tied for second there – five shots behind winner Dustin Johnson – after producing a round of 63 to climb the leaderboard on Sunday.
At 40/1, he is good value to carry that form through as first round leader.
Graeme McDowell –
McDowell typically performs well at the PGA National, having earned four top 10s in the past six years, including fifth in 2015.
He finished well down the leaderboard at the Genesis last week, but played well two weeks prior to that, finishing 13th in Dubai.
The Irishman should have a decent weekend here but, considering he has not won on the PGA Tour since 2015, a top-10 finish at looks the best bet.