To kick off the Florida swing, the PGA TOUR is hosting the Honda Classic at PGA National (par 70, 7,125 yards, Bermuda greens). Since 2007, this par 70 located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has the been the lone home of this event. At last year’s Honda Classic, Sepp Straka secured the first PGA TOUR win of his career, finishing at -10, one stroke clear of Shane Lowry. Over the last five years, the average winning score of this tournament has been -9, showing you that PGA National is without question one of the most difficult non-major courses on the annual PGA TOUR schedule.
What makes this venue challenging is its narrow fairways, difficult to stick greens and that water comes into play on 15 of 18 holes. Accuracy is much more vital than distance at PGA National, so we should see most of the field elect to keep their driver in the bag for many holes this week, making OTT rather irrelevant. However, you need to be in strong form with your irons and a crafty player around the greens to contend at this tricky par 70. Of the past four Honda Classic champions, three were in the top-8 in SG APP and SG ARG during their victories.
As expected with a par 70 – which means this course presents 12 par fours and only two par fives – being an elite par four player is a must if you want to succeed at PGA National. For three years running, the golfer to take home the novelty check at the Honda Classic has ranked top-eight in par four efficiency.
After back-to-back world class fields, most of the best players on the PGA TOUR have elected to skip the Honda Classic this year, with only three of the top-25 ranked players in the world teeing it up in Palm Beach Gardens. Also, after last week’s limited field at the Genesis, the Honda Classic is a full field of 156 players, with the top-65 and ties moving onto the weekend following the first 36 holes.
Below, I break down four of my favorite sub $7.5K value plays for the Honda Classic on DraftKings.
Ryan Palmer ($7,400) – Palmer is a true course horse at PGA National, making 10 of 13 cuts at the par 70. Notably, the veteran has produced seven top-30 finishes at PGA National, two of which have come over the last four years. As for his current form, Palmer’s ball striking has been promising, gaining strokes with his irons at four straight events, helping him advance to the weekend at three of these tournaments.
Palmer has real top-25 upside in this form and is a great bargain at this cheap salary, which is a notable $500 decrease from his price tag for last year’s Honda Classic.
Danny Willett ($7,400) – Willett finally looks to be back to full strength after dealing with a shoulder injury earlier this season. After carding a T41 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the 2016 Masters champion posted a T18 at the Genesis this past week. Outside of his putting, Willett gained strokes in every major category at Riviera, most notably with 5.8 strokes from T2G.
The Englishman has shot under par in six of his past eight rounds and recorded a respectable T48 at PGA National last year. Willett should outdo himself with a higher finish this week and is one of the best bargain plays for the Honda Classic at this reasonable salary.
Zach Johnson ($7,100) – Johnson has been consistent recently, only missing one cut in his last seven starts. Specifically, the two-time major champion has proceeded to the weekend at three consecutive events coming into this week and has shot even par or better in 10 of his 12 rounds during this span.
In this form, Johnson should extend his cut streak at PGA National, which is a course he has been successful at throughout his career. In nine appearances at the par 70, Johnson has made six cuts and notched four finishes of T33 or better, including a T8 just two years ago.
Ben Martin ($6,900) – Martin is an excellent combination of course history and current form that must be attacked at this sub 7K price point. The Clemson product has never missed a cut at PGA National in three appearances at the Florida venue and is fresh off a T13 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, marking his best finish of the season.
During this start, the 35-year-old gained strokes in almost every major category and shot under par in three of four rounds. Martin has now made three of his past five cuts and ranks fifth in SG APP when we compare this field’s last 24 rounds.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.