My PGA Tips for the Honda Classic – three off the tea….sorry, tee!

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And I thought playing golf was frustrating, but tipping and betting on it seems to take it to a whole new level! I will freely admit I did not look twice at winner Joaquim Niemann and hats off to the Chilean, but I had hoped until the very last round that we would score one or even two big priced places, until Marc Leishman threw in a final round of 73, six shots worse than his Saturday effort,  and Xander hit a 70, taking them to 15th and 13th respectively – and out of the money as far as our bets are concerned.

This week we move on to the Honda Classic from the tough as teak PGA National course in Florida, a par-70 measuring in at 7,140 yards, but that is only the half of things. Fifteen of the 18 holes have water (that’s an incredible 83%), and when the wind blows, trouble awaits. The greens are large enough that even I might find them (eventually), but they are also heavily contoured – hit the wrong part of pretty much any of them and two putts would be seen as a great result.  Add in the little know fact that they have allowed the rough to grow to three inches or more, and I am expecting par to be tough to beat throughout the weekend for the golf course officially ranked the toughest outside of the Majors– but fingers crossed we get a bold showing from these three…

Selections with reasoning:

***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value, and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here accurately as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.

1pt each way Tommy Fleetwood 28/1 top 8 places William Hill (32.0) Betfair)

Let’s start with a very biased selection from me – Tommy is a golfer I appreciate, and when he is in full flow and the golf Gods are shining, his swing is an absolute pleasure to watch. He has only played in this tournament twice, finishing fourth in 2018 and second in 2020, putting together some decent rounds that averaged out at less than 69 – the lowest number of all the players here.  That figure is enough for me to suggest him as a play this weekend, and as he seems a little choosier about his tournaments these days, the fact that he even turns up here may be a hint in itself.

1pt each way Billy Horschel 22/1 top 8 places William Hill (24.0 Betfair)

The length of this course may well play to the strengths of local boy billy who only lives 9- miles up the road, with all his best form on tracks with so many things in common. His best efforts in the past few years have been on courses where there is plenty of water (tick), Bermudagrass greens (tick), and his putter has been on fire (tick) leading the strokes gained putting stats over the last couple of months. Hs approach play still comes up a little short compared to the very best, but it is something he is obviously working on, and he should be able to mount a serious challenge in this field.

1pt each way Daniel Berger 14/1 top 10 places Boylesports 16/1 top 8 places most other bookmakers (18.5 Betfair)

I am tempted to lose a couple of points for the ten places with Boylesports here but that is a choice you will have to make for yourselves. The shortest price of my three selections, I am les convinced about his value than I am about his ability, hence he is third of the trio.  His six visits here have seen two top four finishes which is what got me interested, though be warned, he is working is way back from a back injury which I am hoping will not be aggravated this weekend. His ranking sees him sit a worthy ninth in Strokes Gained – overall, and a  respectable 10th for Strokes Gained – Tee to Green – the latter stat looks particularly important here, and he is another who should make the cut, and at least give us some hope for the last two days.

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