The Florida swing begins this week with the Honda Classic. PGA National (par 70, 7,125 yards, Bermuda greens) in Palm Beach Gardens has been the only home of this tournament since 2007. A year ago, Matt Jones ran away with the second PGA TOUR victory of his career at this par 70, winning at -12, five strokes better than runner-up Brandon Hagy. Simply put, PGA National is one of the most challenging non-major courses used on the PGA TOUR. Including Jones, only three Honda Classic champions over the last decade have cracked double-digit strokes under par. The fairways are narrow, the greens are difficult to hit consistently, water is in play on 15 holes, wind can always be a factor and the “Bear Trap” — which is holes 15-17 — is arguably the most difficult three-hole stretch in all of golf. Given how tight these fairways are and that PGA National is a short course overall, clubbing down OTT is always a common strategy to improve accuracy. Speaking of accuracy, players stick the Bermuda greens at PGA National at nearly a 7% lower clip than the average PGA TOUR course. This makes great iron play pivotal for success, along with strong work around the greens. Over the last five years, every player to record a win in Palm Beach Gardens finished T7th or better in SG APP. Furthermore, the last three Honda Classic victors all ranked inside the top 7 in SG ARG, with Jones leading his field in the stat last season.
As always with a par 70, which means there are 12 par 4s and only two par 5s, being efficient on the par 4s is critical at PGA National. Jones led his field in SG on the par 4s last season, making him the fourth Honda winner over the last five years to finish T13 or better in the metric. Following the star studded field at Riviera last week, the Honda Classic is a major downgrade. At No. 13 in the world, Louis Oosthuizen is the highest ranked golfer listed in this field of 144 players, and only one of six top-30 ranked golfers teeing it up in South Florida this week. A standard top-65 and ties cut will be taking place following the first two rounds, and below are four of my favorite values under $7.5K to attack on DraftKings for the Honda Classic.
Lucas Glover, $7,400
Glover is always a sharp target at PGA National. The savvy ball striker has produced five top 25s at the par 70, four of which have come over the past five years. Glover is 7 for 12 in terms of made cuts at PGA National and returns to the track as the maker of eight of his past 10 cuts on the PGA TOUR. Additionally, Glover’s ball striking has been top notch, ranking 19th in SGT2G and 10th in SG APP over his last 24 rounds.
At this cheap salary, Glover stands out as one of the best values on the board, especially when we compare DFS pricing to outright odds. On the DraftKings Sportsbook, the 42-year-old and Gary Woodland both carry +6500 odds to win the Honda Classic this weekend, but Glover costs $800 less than Woodland for DFS.
Greyson Sigg, $7,400
Even with no experience at PGA National, Sigg is an excellent choice at this low price. The Georgia graduate has been consistent, advancing to the weekend in his first four tournaments of the new year with no finishes worse than T42. During this stretch, Sigg has gained strokes on APP in all four starts and has shot even par or better in 14 of 16 rounds.
Despite no history at the Honda Classic, Sigg holds +550 odds on the DraftKings Sportsbook to finish inside the top 10 this weekend, which are tied for the best odds of all the players priced under $7.5K.
Zach Johnson, $7,200
Over his last five starts, Johnson has made four cuts and provided a pair of top 20s. The veteran has generated positive strokes ARG in four of his past five and brings this compelling form to PGA National, where Johnson has been very successful throughout his career. The two-time major winner has made 6 of 8 cuts in Palm Beach Gardens, including three top-30 finishes — most notably, a T8 last season.
At the minimum, Johnson should get us four rounds of golf this week, and he shouldn’t be a name that gains much attention. For 10 consecutive starts, Johnson has been rostered by less than 5% of the field in the main GPP of the week.
Mark Hubbard, $6,900
Hubbard has been competing on the weekend in 14 of his last 17 starts and checks all the boxes for the Honda Classic. Across his last 24 rounds, Hubbard’s irons have been terrific, ranking 15th in SG APP, and the 32-year-old has also been a great scrambler, ranking 19th in SG ARG. Additionally, Hubbard ranks sixth in bogeys avoided during this time, certainly setting him up well for his return to the demanding PGA National.
Excluding his DQ in 2016, Hubbard has made 3 of 4 cuts at the par 70, with his best finish being a T11 two years ago. Hubbard has top-30 upside in this weak field and is the best sub $7K option available this week.
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