Pari offers his preview and cheat sheet for The Honda Classic!
THE HONDA CLASSIC OVERVIEW
Last week was fun, having Bryson near the lead, then in the lead, and of course, faltering down the stretch. I say “fun” as a joke, as I was holding an outright on Bryson and was counting my winnings before he three-putted the Par 3 17th hole.
Last week, we leaned on the studs; this week, that line of thought flips, as we will primarily target some longer shots in DFS and betting as the carnage at PGA National has been historical over the years. We change coasts this week, which means we’ll be changing putting surfaces from poa to bermuda as well. PGA National is a tough course, and the winning scores over the past five years are a clear indication of that. Nobody is safe here, as the top two in betting markets have both missed the cut in the last two years here. Winds play a role in the scoring, as does the overall difficulty of the course, as there’s a ton of water that comes into play.
The Honda Classic field isn’t strong, but it has some good players sprinkled into it, which should give us some nice low owned opportunities in GPPs. As far as One & Done selections go, I would assume Rickie will be the most popular even though he hasn’t played in a month; Tommy will be popular because of his one finish here two years ago (4th); Billy Horschel will be popular because he’s a good bermuda putter and he made a Sunday charge in Mexico.
THE HONDA CLASSIC TOURNAMENT BACKGROUND
o The Course
- PGA National – Champions Course
- Par: 70
- Yardage: 7,100
- Greens: Bermuda
o Location: Florida
o Corollary Tournaments/Courses: Wai’alae (Sony), Quail Hollow (WF Championship)
o Past Champions:
- 2019: Keith Mitchell -9 over Brooks Koepka & Rickie Fowler
- 2018: Justin Thomas -8 in a playoff over Luke List
- 2017: Rickie Fowler -12 over Morgan Hoffmann & Gary Woodland
- 2016: Adam Scott -9 over Sergio Garcia
- 2015: Padraig Harrington -6 in a playoff over Daniel Berger
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: APP, SG: T2G, Birdie or Better, Scrambling
o Important – P4 Scoring 400-450 & 450-500, Proximity 175-200y, Bogey Avoidance
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS FOR THE HONDA CLASSIC
|Byeong Hun An||8800||Cash/GPP|
COURSE HORSES (All Formats – Cash & GPP)
Rickie Fowler (DK $10,800)
- History: 2nd – MC – Win – 6th
- Form: DNP – DNP – DNP – 37th
- 2020 Stats: 86th – SG: OTT, 77th – SG: APP, 47th – SG: P, 76th – SG: T2G
Why I like him: Pretty Rickie returns to the PGA Tour this week on a course where he’s finished inside the Top 6 in three of his last four appearances. He’s working through some kind of swing or posture changes which might have something to do with his lackluster finishes thus far. At the AMEX, he lost strokes on approaches (two rounds); Farmers, he lost strokes from tee to green (two rounds), and at the WMPO, he lost strokes OTT & ARG but gained most of them back on the greens. He’s still a work in progress, but I like him in GPPs this week.
Ryan Palmer (DK $8,300): Palmer’s history here is surprising coming off a 4th place finish last year. He missed the cut in 2018 but had three straight Top 40’s prior to that. The last time we saw him, he was taking a quad in the bunker at the Genesis and while he does have a ton of upside, his floor is just as low making him a GPP target only for me this week. For what it’s worth, he has hit the most balls in the water at the Bear Trap since 2007.
Luke List (DK $8,000): MC – 2nd – 52nd – 10th is how his history reads. It’s not surprising to me considering how volatile his putting is. The problem with playing him is he’s going to get ownership especially after Mayo pumps his tires. So I think if you’re going to play him, it’ll be in cash games and at lower exposure than the field in GPPs.
VALUE PLAYS (All Formats – Cash & GPP)
Lucas Glover (DK $7,200)
- History: 4th – 17th – 21st – MC
- Form: 61st – DNP – 50th – DNP
- 2020 Stats: 50th – SG: OTT, 163rd – SG: APP, 120th – SG: P, 146th – SG: T2G
Why I like him: Florida resident, strong history (4th – 17th – 21st), typically a good ball striker but lost six strokes on approaches last week and 3.2 on the greens. Funny stat about Glover is that he hasn’t lost strokes putting in back to back events since The Players (MC) & Valspar (13th). His putting ability seems to only limit his upside rather than his cut making ability.
Jim Furyk (DK $7,100): This might shock you, but he’s gained the 3rd most strokes on difficult Par 70’s over his last 50 rounds and is 1st in SG: T2G for that criteria. The only knock on him is his OTT game, but this isn’t a course where that’s a major stat to target so I’m rolling with him at this price. His 9th place finish last year certainly bumped his stats.
Zach Johnson (DK $6,900): Short game and putting are where he excels and while his tee to green game is outside of the ideal bubble, he’s been able to scramble his butt off to rank inside the Top 10 in total strokes gained over his last 50 rounds on difficult – bermuda – Par 70’s. I’ll take it if it allows me to jam in a Brooks-Rickie combo this week.
Honorable Mentions: Charl Schwartzel (DK $8,100), Harris English (DK $7,800), Nick Watney (DK $6,900)
TOURNAMENT ONLY PLAYS
Tommy Fleetwood (DK $11,600)
- History: DNP – 4th
- Form: 18th – DNP – DNP – DNP
- 2019 Stats: 12th – SG: OTT, 55th – SG: APP, 55th – SG: P, 13th – SG: T2G
Why I like him: He’s Tommy; I’m invested at this stage of his career and he’s basically the European Tour version of Matt Kuchar. He seems to always find a way to sneak into the Top 10, and on difficult courses, I’m going to ride with the Euros.
Shane Lowry (DK $9,100): Good wind player, Euro who can absolutely blaze a golf course. He ranks high in DK points for Par 70 courses, is upper-middle of the pack in ball striking metrics and lower-middle of the pack in putting & scrambling. Seems like an ideal GPP play this week where people will be glossing over this range of the pricing especially when people look at his subpar course history (49th & 53rd).
Daniel Berger (DK $8,900): Will probably be a chalky play considering his history of going to a playoff here in 2015 with Paddy and his form of 5th – 9th – 29th all on surfaces other than bermuda. If he’s going to be chalky, then I wouldn’t suggest getting up to the 15-20% exposure threshold; but if he isn’t, then that’s where I’d be targeting him. If the expected ownership exceeds 20%, he gets moved from being a GPP play to a cash play for me.
GPP Only Punts: Matt Wallace (DK $7,100), Danny Lee (DK $6,800), Michael Thompson (DK $6,600), Luke Donald (DK $6,200)
CORE PLAYS (Of Those Not Listed)
Louis Oosthuizen (DK $9,700): Last week’s ball-striking display in Mexico (-12.9 SG: T2G) was a massive outlier for Louis who has only lost over 10 strokes T2G once in ten years. That performance, plus his usual question mark revolving around his pre-tourney WD or not should be enough to get massive leverage on the field from an ownership perspective. He has good history (24th – 21st) here and has been spotted at Old Palm Golf Club (membership has not been confirmed) down the road from PGA National.
Billy Horschel (DK $9,200): He’s going to be chalky with his Florida ties, his bermuda putting and his Sunday surge, but I think he’s good chalk. He’s strong on Par 70 courses in all strokes gained metrics and he has good enough history here to make me think he’ll play well (16th – MC – 4th – 8th) so we’re going to play him at core exposures.
KH Lee (DK $7,000): 7th last year, 8th in 2015 are definitely small samples, but he’s a good ball striker (has gained strokes in three of six events this year and can get hot with the putter, as we saw at the Genesis where he gained over eight strokes on the greens. During the limited events in his career, he’s been a better putter on bermuda than any other surface.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)
See my DFS predictions for the WGC Mexico Championship!