Written by: Ian Robins
Review of Last Week:
Great week last week for The Line Movers, as Joaquin Niemann took home the title to cash a nice 70-1 ticket. Niemann dominated the course from start to finish for the second win of his career. We talked about how Niemann was on the verge of a breakthrough and he absolutely came through in a stacked tournament with 2 of the best players of the world in Hovland and Morikawa chasing him. This tournament was a great end to the west coast swing and a potential preview for what may play out in Augusta in a few weeks.
Entering ‘The Bear Trap’ on the Champion Course at PGA National, home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PGA NATIONAL RESORT & SPA)
The PGA Tour heads to the East Coast to begin the Florida swing. The Honda starts us off with an extremely tough test at PGA National. This is a Par 70, 7100 with water and bunkers everywhere. This course has bermuda greens, which is typical to Florida courses. PGA National boasts one of the toughest scoring conditions of any course on tour and includes as many hazards as we see throughout the season. To sum it up, it takes a stellar weekend of bogey avoidance and par making to have success this weekend. Course history is not as telling on this course, but we are going to find players that are good scramblers, good long iron ball strikers, good wind players, and solid players on bermuda greens.
The top two players I see in this field from a value perspective include Louis Osteshuizen and Brooks Koepka. Both can be found in the 22-1 range, however both may be considered the top 2 players in the field. Brooks is a former champion here and as we saw two weeks ago he does have good golf in him and is a very good tough course player. Louis, mister consistent in the majors, is still looking for his first win on the PGA tour but fits this course perfectly and has been so good recently, the win may be close. The odds on favorite in Sungjae Im is certainly warranted, but too expensive to back at his price. Im is a former champion and is playing great golf. If he falters early, may be a buy spot on mid tournament.
The middle range finds us a top name player in Shane Lowry who is making his PGA debut. Lowry is one of the best bunker player and wind players in the world, which will serve him well at this course. Two other names we will be looking at here are Keith Mitchell and Aaron Wise. Mitchell is a former champion here and comes in playing some of the best golf in his career. He comes back to more comfortable bermuda greens and with his continued ball striking, he will find himself in the top of the leaderboard once again. Aaron Wise, who had a 6 shot lead here last year before folding, has been playing extremely well in the 2022 season. He is a strong birdie maker and ball striker and can certainly content with his talent.
The longs shots this week find me focusing on players who starred on the DP World Tour the past seasons. We start with the veteran Ian Poulter, who has been playing fine golf and is known for his tremendous work on tough courses. Nicolai Hojgaard already has 3 wins worldwide at the young age of 20 and is one of the 10 most talented players in this field. He is a star in the making. Aaron Rai will be someone we continue to back as long as he is playing near the top of leaderboards as he has been. Finally, Lucas Herbert, already a champion on a coastal, windy course with tough conditions and bermuda green. Herbert is another proven winner who has the talent to shine here.
Creator: Cliff Hawkins | Credit: Getty Images