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Open winners have a great record in this event and that points us to Louis Oosthuizen, who has some strong Florida form too. Back him to win at +2200 Caesars Sportsbook.
Billy Horschel has strong current and course form and can take down last week’s hero, Joaquin Niemann, in a 72-hole match at -110 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Alex Noren owns a third place here and has six top 20s in his last 13 worldwide starts. Back the Swede for another at +330 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
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The 50th edition of The Honda Classic kicks off this year’s Florida Swing although this landmark edition is struggling for big names.
All the world’s top 10 contested last week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera but the highest-ranked player here is No.13 Louis Oosthuizen.
That doesn’t mean the South African is the favorite to win though; that honor belongs to Sungjae Im, who won on this course two years ago and made the top eight when defending.
Daniel Berger, a runner-up on debut in 2015 and fourth on his latest appearance in 2020, slots in at second in the betting.
The big takeaway when looking at past editions is how tough scoring is.
It’s rare – just four times in the last 15 years – that a player has posted a score of double digits under par.
On each occasion, it was enough to win and usually by a healthy margin.
Camilo Villegas was five clear when he won with 13-under in 2010 while Matt Jones triumphed last year with 12-under, again finishing five clear of the field.
Overseas players won seven times in eight years between 2005 and 2012 but Americans have provided five of the last nine champions and also six of the last seven runners-up.
The par 70 Champion Course features one of the most famous stretches in golf – The Bear Trap.
It comprises the par-3 15th, par-4 16th and par-3 17th and can be brutal in windy conditions. Water is in play and double bogeys are common.
Thankfully for the players this week – but maybe not for us watching on TV – winds ease as the tournament progresses, with Thursday morning looking as if it will provide the most challenging conditions.
Padraig Harrington (twice), Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard and Todd Hamilton have all won this event since the turn of the century. All are winners of the Open Championship.
Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar are also past Honda champions. That trio have all finished runner-up in an Open Championship.
That’s quite a link and it helps point me the way of Louis Oosthuizen.
The South African won the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010, lost a play-off at the Old Course in 2015 and led for the first three rounds at Royal St George’s last summer before settling for tied third.
Such a strong Open pedigree bodes well for this test and, although he hasn’t quite cracked it yet, two top 25s in his last three visits looks decent groundwork.
Oosthuizen, who made the top three in the final three majors of 2021, loves a strong test and his fourth place in Bogey Avoidance tells us he’s adept at keeping those squares off his card.
He also plays well in Florida as highlighted by runners-up finishes at both The Players Championship (2017) and the Valspar Championship (2019).
Check his last five starts in the Sunshine State and the 39-year-old has a second, a sixth and an eighth in the books.
After shaking some rust off with a solid top 15 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Oosthuizen can make a big title bid. Back him for the win at +2200 with Caesars Sportsbook.
Last week’s 72-hole matchbet never got off the ground after Matt Fitzpatrick’s WD so let’s try again.
Joaquin Niemann showed his vast potential when scoring a wire-to-wire win at Riviera and there’s an argument to ride the hot horse.
But there seems a stronger one to take note of Niemann saying he was mentally beaten up after leading for all four rounds and could suffer a dip here.
Even if he does play well, it may not be enough to take down Billy Horschel, who has some excellent credentials.
The World No.22 won prestigious events on both sides of the Atlantic last year (WGC-Match Play and BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth) and is in fine form again after T11 at Torrey Pines and T6 in Phoenix in his last two starts.
Horschel also has decent form here with a fourth, an eighth and a T16 in his last five appearances. Niemann has a best of T25 in three cracks at PGA National.
I’m more than happy to take a rested Horschel against a frazzled Niemann on this particular track so back the American in this pick ‘em at -110 with DraftKings.
Our top 20 bet on Noren at Riviera last week didn’t land after the Swede finished in a tie for 48th.
He struck the ball well enough (16th SG: Approach) to have made the top 20 but his putter let him down. That was a surprise given that he was 1st for SG: Putting in Phoenix a week earlier.
In the belief that he’ll enjoy these Bermuda surfaces better than the Poa Annua of Riviera, it could be worth giving Noren a second chance.
He has course form having finished third in this event in 2018 while he was tied 27th with a round to go last year before falling away.
Three top 11s in his last seven Open starts highlight his ability to play well on windy tracks and counting back he has six top 20s in his last 13 worldwide starts.
Back another here at +330 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
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|The Honda Classic|
|Tournament||The Honda Classic|
|Location||PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida|
|Time||Thursday February 24 – Sunday February 27|
|How to Watch||Thursday-Friday 2pm-6pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday 1pm-3pm (Golf Channel), 3pm-6pm (NBC), Sunday 1pm-3pm (Golf Channel), 3pm-6.30pm (NBC). All 4 days on Sky Sports|
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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