PGA Honda Classic

The PGA tour now heads to Florida as the PGA National Resort and Spa hosts the Honda Classic. The par 70 7,125-yard layout was the 2nd hardest course on the tour last year outside the brutal US Open. The course has water hazards everywhere you look, and the open layout means the wind can play havoc as well. The National is known for the “Bear Trap,” which is one of the most hardest stretch of golf on the whole tour. Holes 15, 16 and 17 can certainly ruin a good round and more often create a bit of a sweat before the cut or down the stretch on a Sunday.

This week I am looking to focus on ‘Strokes gained on approach’ and more importantly Par 4 scoring as the National only has two par 5’s. As there is water everywhere, I don’t really need to focus on the bombers as many tee shots do not require the driver. Unlike last weeks stacked field in Mexico, this week’s field is rather “bottom” heavy with over half the field currently under $6,800 in DraftKings salary. A quick check on Moneyball shows 100+ golfers under $5,800. So, whilst there are some “rough” players in the field, let’s hope there are some diamonds we can unearth.

DraftKings again have posted a big $500,000 Drive the Green contest for a $5 entry fee and Moneyball have their $500 contest for a $10 entry fee.

Let’s see who my targets are in this week’s line-ups at the Honda Classic:

Justin Thomas ($11,900 DK $9,500 MB) – Yes, I am targeting JT again this week and with more of a “stars and scrubs” approach we can certainly look at Thomas. Last year’s champion of the Honda classic, Thomas made big headlines last Sunday by ripping up Mexico in the 4th round with a blistering 62. The number 1 on tour with strokes gained from tee to green, it is a scary position not having Thomas in your line-ups.

Adam Scott ($10,300 DK $8,200 MB) – Scotty was excellent back at the Genesis but the stretch on Sunday proved a little difficult and fell to a T7. Scott missed the Mexico event and previously has a great record at the Honda. Scott is the 2016 champion and has 4 T15 finishes since 2014. Currently ranked 18th on the tour for putting which a facet of Scott’s game that required attention. I will be banking on Scott’s great iron play and being solid through the Bear trap.  

Jason Kokrak ($7,300 DK, $5,800 MB) – Kokrak has been a very consistent performer this season going 7/7 for cuts and posting good tournament finishes. Whilst nothing pops off the page in terms of statistics, I am liking the high ratings in Shots gained approach the green (8th), off the green (28th) and tee to green (31st). I do worry that this is Kokrak’s first go here at the Honda.

Ben Crane ($6,000 DK, $4,800 MB) – Here we go, Crane is the cheapest golfer on the slate and hopefully this diamond I am looking for. Crane was a T8 at the Puerto Rico open last week (let’s call it the magoo’s tournament). So, this result means Crane earns a spot in the field for the Honda Classic. It is a bit of a punt, but the bottom half of the field this week can be described as a punt as well.

Cameron Tringale ($6,400 DK, $5,000 MB) who has made 3 out 4 cuts, John Huh ($6,000 DK, $4,800 MB) a wildly hot and cold performer and Jim Furyk ($7,000 DK $5,600 MB) who is currently number 1 for driving accuracy on the tour are other potential diamonds I am looking for.

Cameron Smith ($9,500 DK $7,600 MB) – Whilst Smith had a great result at Mexico last week with a T6, Smith is going to be my fade this week as this National course will be a difficult task. Smith has been woeful off the tee with only 50% accuracy in the past 3 tournaments and going at 65% for greens in regulation. A first timer at PGA National we cannot rely on Smith’s scrambling here.


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