The PGA TOUR heads to the Sunshine State this week for the first leg of its Florida swing. The venue in play this week is a classic as the players will be visiting PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, a Jack Nicklaus redesign that features “The Bear Trap,” one of the toughest and most famous three-hole stretches in pro golf. The course plays as a par 70, measuring at approximately 7,048 yards and ranked as the third-toughest venue on the PGA TOUR in 2020-21. We’ll also be switching to Bermuda greens this week, a regular feature of the Florida venues.
The field this week sees us lose a lot of top players. Last week, all of the top-10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings were in attendance, while this week none of them are. The field at The Honda Classic is led by No. 24 ranked Sungjae Im ($11,000), who is coming off a T33 finish at the Genesis. He’ll be joined by World No. 13 Louis Oosthuizen ($10,800), World No. 15 Brooks Koepka ($10,100) and World No. 20 Joaquin Niemann ($10,600), who is also coming off a win last week.
The field at The Honda Classic maxes out at 144 golfers and will again feature a regular PGA TOUR cutline with the top 65 and ties making it to the weekend. We should expect lower totals though for our DraftKings daily fantasy golf lineups as PGA National typically plays as one of the hardest venues of the year. Last season, the scoring average at PGA National ballooned to 71.9, or +1.904 strokes over par, and we rarely see winners at this event get to double digits in scoring.
The greens at PGA National are some of the hardest to hit on the PGA TOUR as we often see green in regulation rates trend 5-10% lower at this event than the PGA TOUR average. Scrambling around PGA National is also difficult, as saving par from off the green typically trends 5% lower than average for the field as well. Good approach games and around the green play are what to focus on this week as power at PGA National is de-emphasized for the most part—perhaps more than any other course on the PGA TOUR. Driver isn’t a club players need to hit regularly and that shows by the fact the average driving distance for this venue often comes in a full 10 yards less than the average Driving Distance on the PGA TOUR.
Big hitters can still compete though and the likes of Gary Woodland ($8,200) and Keith Mitchell ($9,100) are two players in the field this week who are good proof of that. Still, this event has been a friendly home to crafty veterans like Ian Poulter ($7,600) and Matt Jones ($9,000).
Alex Noren ($9,300 on DraftKings)
I mentioned above how this venue truly favors veteran players who can grind out pars with good iron play and around the green work. Alex Noren’s entire game is predicated on just such a formula and he comes into this week just two starts removed from a T6 finish at the Phoenix Open. Noren’s best assets are his around the green play and putting, but his approach game has popped in recent starts too and he gained +3.4 on Approach alone last week, his best week in that metric since exactly a year ago at the 2021 Genesis.
Noren also has a history of producing for daily fantasy golf at The Honda Classic as he grabbed a solo third-place at this event back in 2018. His price this week is the most expensive it’s been for a while, but as a player with four top-10s in his last 13 starts, the low $9K-salary isn’t as outlandish as it seems. The weaker field and A+ setup for Noren make him a target in daily fantasy golf on DraftKings.
Chris Kirk ($7,500 on DraftKings)
You’ll see a trend forming quickly in these picks and that’s experience paired with solid recent form in approach and around the green play. Chris Kirk comes into this event having gained strokes around the green in each of his last eight starts. The American has been a little sluggish with his ball-striking to begin 2022 but he’s gained strokes on Approach in each of his last two starts and was hanging around the top-10 for much of the weekend at the WM Phoenix Open (T14).
Kirk has played this event numerous times in the past as well, with this year marking his 11th appearance at PGA National for The Honda Classic. He’s clearly a fan of this setup (or he’d not show up this much) and has finished as high as T12 in 2014. The four-time winner looks underrated at this price on DraftKings, especially with similarly-skilled players such as Brian Harman ($8,700) and Mackenzie Hughes ($8,300) priced far above him. Kirk is a good mid-tier value to target this week in daily fantasy golf.
Lucas Glover ($7,400 on DraftKings)
Almost all of the analysis I laid out above for Kirk can also apply to Glover. The 42-year-old grabbed his first win in over a decade last year at the John Deere Classic and has started 2022 nicely, already landing a top-10 finish at the Sony Open (T6). Glover has excelled at tough venues throughout his career so we shouldn’t be shocked to see that he’s found consistent success around PGA National. Glover has finished T21 or better at this event in four of the last five seasons and ranks 15th in SG: Approach stats over the last 50 rounds.
The price on Glover also looks too low as he comes in $100 lower than Kirk, despite having out-performed him this season. Looking above him, we see out-of-form players like Ryan Palmer ($7,900) and Rickie Fowler ($7,600) available at much higher prices. It all makes Glover a great mid-tier target to build around for daily fantasy golf lineups this week.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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.