Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Honda Classic 2017 - PGA National, Florida

PGA Tour action moves across to the East Coast this week and to the very difficult par-70, PGA National GC at Palm Beach Gardens. The "West Coast Swing" saw in-form players and therefore market leaders, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson conquer the respective fields. Having spend the past couple of weeks on poa annua greens, some players will be delighted to see bentgrass greens in play. But its the wind factor and course difficulty that should be factored into the staking plan here. Solid ball strikers do well here as too do Major Champions ! Adam Scott will defend. The Aussie warmed up nicely without really contending last week (who did as DJ romped away with it at Riviera?) and is par or better for his last 8 rounds here. Emphasis should be on accuracy for both off the tee and GIR. Patience will be key as the winning score is likely to be in around 270 (-10)

I was keen to get on Rickie Fowler for this but I can't at the price (18/1). Strong wind player, Rickie is in decent form and this could be a big year for the tours leading "bogey avoidance" player.

I want to take a chance on a couple of nice priced players for this week based on solid previous form here. Jason Dufner loves this course as he grew up in the area and relishes the wind and ball striking element required for PGA National. Three TOP20s in his 8 visits suggest he's comfortable on the course and he has made the weekend on every visit. A former Major Champion, "the Duf" arrives nice and fresh having last played at the Career Builder Challenge as the defending champion where he finished T25th. "The Duf" has shown in the past that his best performances come at these type of events, where he's a winner of the PGA Championship in 2013 at Oak Hill CC, a winner at New Orleans as well as the Byron Nelson. Dufner has also contested well at Colonial not to mention 4 TOP20s at the last 4 US Opens of which 2 were TOP5s. He revels tough conditions and as he approaches his 40th birthday next month he may be in the mood for the task in hand at Palm Beach. 67.00 in the outright is a decent price for me. The fact that he arrives so fresh with a decent effort behind him last time out makes a lot of appeal.

Se├ín O'Hair is a player I've tried to catch at the right time a few times in the past, and @ 110.00 for the win I'm hoping this is one of those weeks. He's posted 4 TOP25s in his last 6 visits and has shown excellent form in recent weeks, namely T8th at the Career Builder, T11th at the Sony Open and T10th at the Shriners. Has won 4 times on the PGA Tour since overcoming off course distractions, the last being back in 2011 but came close in 2015 where he lost a playoff to Jordan Spieth at the Valspar Championship. Now back inside the World TOP100, the Texan is a solid ball striker and looks poised for an assault on the TOP50 rankings. If he can drive it well this week he will contend.


0.50 pts win J.Dufner @ 67.00
0.50 pts win S. O'Hair @ 110.00

2.00 pts TOP10 J.Dufner @ 7.00
2.00 pts TOP20 S.O'Hair @ 4.50

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