The PGA Tour stays in Florida this week for the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach. The PLAYERS Championship last week saw Justin Thomas surge from behind on the weekend to become the second player ever to register wins in a WGC event, a Players, a major and 10 total wins before the age of 28.
JT found his swagger on the weekend.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 15, 2021
Tiger Woods was the first to do it and the so far the only other golfer to accomplish all of those feats at such a young age. With the WGC Match Play and the Masters on the horizon, the Honda Classic field is a little diluted this week, with many talented golfers taking the week off. That being said, there is a ton of betting value on the board this week.
Course Breakdown and Weather
PGA National is a par-70 layout that measures at around 7,140 yards and plays about as difficult as any non-major Tour stop. There is water on almost every hole, providing plenty of chances for chaos throughout the weekend. Golfers will likely play conservatively on Thursday and Friday, but on the weekend if they push the envelope at all it could backfire on them in a big way.
A slightly diluted field this week still sees some big names at the top of the odds board, including , Sungjae Im (+1200), Lee Westwood (+1800), Joaquin Niemann (+2200), and Adam Scott (+2500).
The reigning Open champion has mentioned he has been experimenting with his putting grip over the past few months and it appears that he has finally found what works for him. Not to mention, he lives five minutes from PGA National so this week will be a home game for him, much like Max Homa’s win at Riviera in February.
Featured groups for @TheHondaClassic:
🏌️ Rickie Fowler
🏌️ Sungjae Im
🏌️ Keith Mitchell
⛳ Daniel Berger
⛳ Keegan Bradley
⛳ Lee Westwood
🏌️ Phil Mickelson
🏌️ Shane Lowry
🏌️ Zach Johnson
⛳ Adam Scott
⛳ Joaquin Niemann
⛳ Ian Poulter pic.twitter.com/GosLUV3Uuf
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 16, 2021
The next name to consider among the favorites this week is the 2014 winner of this event, Russell Henley (+3500). Henley is fantastic with his irons at this course, as evidenced by the fact that he has five top-25s in eight appearances. Henley struggled last week with a missed cut, but that is his only his third MC in his last 16 events.
Best Value Plays
The middle tier this week features big names such as Rickie Fowler (+4500) and Florida native Sam Burns (+4500). But with neither of them playing particularly well at the moment, the first name to look at in this group is Doug Ghim (+5500). Ghim was right in the thick of things early on Sunday at The PLAYERS before a quadruple bogey on hole No. 7 derailed his final round.
Ghim shot a 78 to finish outside of the top 20, but as a young golfer he should be able to put that in his rear-view mirror this week. Ghim recorded a top five earlier this season at the American Express and should feel more comfortable against a weaker field this week. The next golfer worth a bet is Matt Wallace (+5500). He took last week off, but collected a top-20 finish two weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Wallace ranks 12th on shots gained via approach this season according to pgatour.com, which is the most important metric at PGA National. If Wallace can get hot with his putter, there is no reason he cannot find himself in contention deep into the weekend.
The best top-ten play for this week is Kevin Streelman (+550). Streelman missed the cut last week at TPC Sawgrass, but that was largely due to large numbers on a few holes that he was unable to recover from.
He also has multiple top-ten finishes at such storied courses as Pebble Beach and will not be fazed if he finds himself in contention on the weekend.
When an event sees a lack of top players in the world, it is the perfect time to add some longshots to your wagering card. The first name to look at is former Masters champion Zach Johnson at 80-1. Johnson finished tied for 41st last week following an opening-round 75 that prevented him from getting in the mix.
Johnson is one of the shorter hitters on the Tour, meaning he will be happy to play PGA National this week. Johnson ranks 11th on the Tour this season in strokes gained via putting, according to pgatour.com. His putter should help him with par saves throughout the week to grind out the four days and very possibly pull the longshot upset. At 80-1, it’s worth risking a buck or two anyway. The next longshot worth a bet is Henrik Norlander at 90-1.
Norlander has two top-10 finishes this season, including a runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open. His approach game is his best skill, but his putting is wildly inconsistent. As is common with longshot bets, Norlander will have to get hot with his putter this week but at 90-1 it is worth taking a golfer capable of winning the tournament.
Matchup Play of the Week
The matchup play of the week is Brandon Wu over Aaron Wise (-115). Wu is a Korn Ferry Tour regular who earned his spot in the field this week with a T-7 at the Puerto Rico Open. He has finished 14th or better in each of his last five Korn Ferry starts, including a win and a pair of runner-ups. Wu also ranks second in greens in regulation on the Korn Ferry, which will benefit him greatly this week.
Wise is inconsistent and has trouble limiting damage on holes that tend to gone wrong off the teebox. Wise is going to be all over the place this week and Wu is consistent enough to finish inside the top 30, which makes him a great matchup play this week.
*Odds courtesy of MyBookie