By News Team
27th February 2020
We’re back to a full field on the PGA Tour this week as one of the best courses on the circuit, PGA National, plays host to the Honda Classic.
Though often one of the most exciting tournaments for the viewers, with the infamous ‘Bear Trap’ regularly providing hugely dramatic finishes, this year’s field is pretty weak. Brooks Koepka is the only member of the top ten in the world rankings, but given his slow start to the year, he’s not the market leader, with Tommy Fleetwood the 11/1 favourite.
Here is our preview and best bets for the Honda Classic.
Horschel the best bet at PGA National
As mentioned, Koepka still looks like he’s getting up to speed after his injury troubles and therefore Fleetwood is the rightful favourite. He played OK in Mexico last week without ever really being in contention and there might have been a hint of rust in his game given he hadn’t played since Dubai. He’ll surely be back in the groove now and ought to go well, but at a nearly single figure price, there are a few too many doubts.
Rickie Fowler has been out of sorts for sometime now and instead the claims of Billy Horschel are much preferred. The case for the Floridian is pretty obvious as he’s finished fourth and eighth here previously and played really well in Mexico last week too.
Looking back on Horschel’s victories, and the common trend seems to be when he’s in form, he usually wins. Back in 2013, his form figures read 2-3-9 heading to the Zurich Classic and he duly won with a closing birdie. Then in the following year, he was runner-up in the Deutsche Bank Championship before winning the following two events and, in doing so, the FedEx Cup. Granted, his 2017 Byron Nelson win was more out of the blue, but even then it came at a course he felt very comfortable on and so there is a clear case to suggest this could be his week.
From a personal perspective, what might have pleased Horschel the most about his performance in Mexico was that it was the first time in a while that his ball striking was really back to its best. It’s a characteristic that has been the Florida native’s forte for a number of years and it’s one that has fuelled all of his victories, but it hadn’t been anywhere near its best in a while. However, he led the field in driving accuracy and ranked second in greens hit, finding the target 34 times from 36 over the final two rounds.
Putting has always been a slight negative for the 33-year-old, but he has found his mojo on the greens too. He’s ranked in the top 25 for the past two season and is currently 16th in the rankings this season and given how deadly a ball striker he is, it looks a very potent combination.
With all areas of his game seemingly firing on all cylinders, he’s a confident bet at 22/1.
Check out this week’s golf podcast where we take a look at the Honda Classic and Oman Open.