With the California swing coming to a close this past weekend, The Tour now makes it way to PGA National (par 70, 7,140 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for The 2018 Honda Classic. Rickie Fowler is the defending champion, shooting -12 last season, which was the lowest winning score here since Rory McIlroy in 2012, with the winning number ranging from -6 to -12 the past five years. PGA National is known as one of the tougher non major tests these golfers will see all season. 11 of these 18 holes played over par last season and this course is home to one of the toughest three hole stretches in golf, holes 15-17, which is also known as “The Bear Trap”. Finding the fairway is more important than length off the tee, but that doesn’t mean we need to find players who rank well in driving accuracy, because most of these players will elect to club down off the box, naturally helping everyone finding the short grass more often. This is a ball strikers course and we need to find players who are strong tee to green players, who find the green consistently. Over the past five seasons, all of the winners have ranked T26 or better in greens hit in regulation.
Also, with this being a difficult test overall, with many bunkers and water hazards in play, I will be looking for players who avoid bogeys better than most, with four of the last five winners only shooting seven bogeys or less in their victories. Last, but not least, with this being a par 70, meaning there are 12 par fours and only two par fives (five are 450+), we must target players who are strong par four scorers, as all of the last five golfers who have won The Honda Classic have ranked inside the top five in par four scoring during their weeks, with two of them, Adam Scott and Russell Henley, leading the field in this stat. This week’s field is weaker than the one we got at The Genesis, but it is still a relatively strong group of golfers, with Rory, Fowler, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, oh and how could I forget, Tiger Woods, all teeing it up in West Palm this week. It should be a fun week for DFS golf and I think it is a viable week to use your normal amount of bankroll for all formats. @Hunta512.
If you want help with PGA research for DraftKings check out the best fantasy tools out there at FantasyLabs.com
Patton Kizzire: (7,300) Kizzire is a tremendous value at only $7,300. He is currently having his best season as a pro, making eight straight cuts, 8/9 overall, with five top 25 finishes, including two wins, one at The OHL Classic back in November and another one at The Sony Open last month. He is #1 player in The FedEx Cup Standings and his 50/1 odds to win The Honda Classic (via Bovada) are tied for the best odds of all the players priced at $7,500 or lower this week on DraftKings. This alone makes him a great value and just to show you how mispriced he is when it comes to Vegas odds, he has the same 50/1 odds as Kevin Kisner, who costs a notable $1,200 more than Kizzire this week.
Additionally, he is 2/2 here and his stats this season fit PGA National very well. Over his last 34 rounds, he ranks 28th in SGT2G, 23rd in strokes gained on approach, 17th in ball striking, 12th in greens hit, 3rd in SGP, 4th in par four scoring, 5th in BOB%, and 1st in bogeys avoided. (via Fantasy National) It is very early in the week, so things are always subject to change, but at the moment, Fantasy Labs only has him projected for an ownership of 9-12% in GPPs. Hopefully this pans out, because Kizzire is one of my favorite plays available this week, that I will be using with confidence in both cash games and GPPs.
Scott Stallings: (8,000) Even though this is the highest Stallings has been priced this season, I don’t think that should stop you from rostering him this week. He has been playing his best golf of the year this month, making three straight cuts and coming off back to back top tens, with a T7 at The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a T4 at The Genesis Open last week. These scores were both his best two finishes at each of those events. Over these last three starts, he ranks 13th in SGT2G, 21st in strokes gained approaching, 28th in greens hit, 17th in ball striking, 12th in SGP, 5th in par four scoring, 5th in BOB%, and 2nd in bogeys avoided, which is the best birdie to bogey ratio during this time. (via Fantasy National)
This will be his fifth time playing at PGA National and he is 3/4 in made cuts, with his best finish coming last season, with a T21. He should make the cut and he has top 20 upside in this current form. With this being his highest salary of the season on DraftKings and with him never being a popular name (0.9% owned last two weeks), Stallings should naturally come with another low ownership percentage this week. (5-8% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs) He is a great pivot play in this price range that I will be using in GPPs, that I also don’t mind in cash games.
Scott Piercy: (7,300) After his first MC of the season at The Waste Management Phoenix Open, Piercy bounced back with a T20 at The Pebble Beach Pro-Am the following week and he is now 6/7 for the year, with four top 25s. He has been one of the better ball strikers this season, ranking 8th when comparing all of these golfers rounds of competitive golf on The Tour this year. He also ranks 3rd in SGT2G, 2nd in strokes gained approaching, 22nd in greens hit, 31st in par four scoring, 86th in SGP, 24th in BOB%, and 67th in bogeys avoided. (via Fantasy National)
Furthermore, he has been solid on par fours over 450 yards, which is the range for five of the 12 par fours that he will face this weekend, ranking 28th in par four efficiency on par fours between 450-500 yards. (via Fantasy National) He is 3/5 at The Honda Classic for his career, with his best finish, a T5, coming back in 2009, which was his first attempt at this track. I think there are better plays for cash games, so I would reserve most of your exposure to Piercy in GPPs , but at only $7,300, Piercy is a fine gamble that has a good chance of making the cut, that will also help you fit in some studs. (9-12% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
Also Consider: Chesson Haddley (hard to guess his ownership, but either way he is one of the better values in my opinion. Over his last three starts he ranks 2nd in SGT2G, 1st in strokes gained on approach, and 7th in par four scoring. Also, he is 2/3 here, with both finishes inside the top 25), Ryan Moore, Dylan Fritteli (first time here, but he has been dominant on the Euro Tour, making eight straight cuts, with three consecutive top 20s. His 50/1 odds are great for a first timer here at this tough track), Sam Saunders (2/2 here, both top 20s, and four straight made cuts, finishing no worse than T26 during this run), Luke Donald (never missed a cut at PGA National in ten attempts. He missed three straight cuts, but rebounded last week with a T37 at The Genesis), and Anirban Lahiri. (T11 here last season and is 6/7 this season)