UG Tips: The Honda Classic
The PGA Tour this week switches from the West Coast across to Florida for The Honda Classic at PGA National. This means a switch from the notoriously tricky Poa greens to Bermuda – which for some of the players will feel like manna from heaven. The field this week may not be as strong as in recent weeks but there is plenty of pedigree and a few course specialists to tickle our fancy.
Rickie Fowler leads the market this week, but at 8/1 is a little stingy and given that he let us down a couple of weeks back we’re going to give him a swerve. Rory, should by rights be in the mix this week, but he’s not quite hit his straps yet. This isn’t the longest course on tour, but has only twice seen a winning score in double digits under par. Perhaps a reason why the likes of Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell have been consistently successful here.
It will be worth keeping an eye on Adam Scott who has an excellent record here, but this season seems too be struggling with something.
I’ve put out a mix of course specialists and form horses and found some generous odds along the way.
Sergio Garcia 18/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £245
Sergio is always worth backing in The Honda as he nearly always performs. Since his Masters win (and wedding) he has been very careful in planning his schedule. This is his first outing on the PGA Tour this season, but such is his stature these days, that we fully expect him to perform once again – especially after a strong start in other events worldwide. It’s no surprise that he skipped the West Coast as his putting would have suffered! There’s water on 13 of the 18 holes here, but with Sergio’s game he will be well clear of that and right in the mix.
Gary Woodland 30/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £395
Woodland was awesome in Phoenix a couple weeks back in winning The Waste Management. Although this week isn’t a particularly long course, it clearly suits him as T2 last year and another recent top 6 shows. He’s been a talented player for a while now but has never followed up a win with a period of dominance. He’ll be full of the joys of spring and should be able to tame the par 5’s which could make the difference as scoring is notoriously difficult here.
Russell Knox 50/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £645
Little has been spoken of the Scot recently, but he is currently in another fine run of form. Waste Management aside he has picked up sizeable pay cheques on a weekly basis all season. He’s had both a T2 and T3 at The Honda recently and at 50/1 (the same as Bubba last week, who we tipped) looks to be a nice price on a course that suits.
Graeme McDowell 80/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £1020
G-Mac caught my eye in an interview he did at Pebble a couple of weeks back. He was really positive about the work he has been doing and backed that up with a strong showing last week (albeit a disappointing Sunday). Not only does he live nearby, but he clearly feels at home on the golf course as witnessed with 5 Top 15 finishes here in 6 years. He’ll be bringing in confidence this week after Riviera and at 80/1 I fully expect him to deliver some return this week. He’s desperate to get back into the Ryder Cup reckoning to play a part at a venue he loves in Paris – it’s going to be a long road ad he’ll have to start racking up some wins soon.
Wesley Bryan 175/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £1103.75
After the heroics of last season, he’s had a modest start to 2018. He’s made no secret of the fact that he loves the return to Bermuda and backed that up with T4 on debut last year. He’s another player who lives nearby. He may have missed his last 2 cuts, but he stands out at this price.
Sean O’Hair 200/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £1260
It’s amazing how long this guy has been out on Tour. He was T11 last year and has a further 6 Top 25’s (including 3 Top 15’s) at the venue in as many years. For a guy who just about bumbles along each year, he has an awfully good record in The Honda. His improvement on Bermuda v Poa is marked, so where his game has let him down these past few weeks, we should see the scoring benefit here.