Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What To Look For: 2018 Honda Classic

The Tour makes the Florida swing starting with the Honda Classic at PGA National. The tournament was founded 46 years ago and is a staple in south Florida golf. Now with Doral out of the Tour lineup the crowds will be bigger as from Naples to Miami to Palm Beach it is the closest event residents can go to.

I think another reason for the big crowds is that the practice rounds are practically dead. Most of the field will either be coming in from LA after Riviera or going to their home course nearby to practice on Monday and Tuesday. Then they are obligated to play in the Wednesday pro-am if they are scheduled to do so.

PGA National has a pretty good reputation on Tour. It’s always in fantastic condition and none of the holes are gimmicky. You won’t catch Tour players that live in the area playing it because it’s open to the public (if they stay at the resort) and it’s one of the most difficult courses on Tour.

While the Bear Trap gets a lot of attention, it’s so difficult that the deviation in score is small. The last critical hole on the course will be the par-3 15th hole. That’s an interesting hole because it’s a high make percentage putting surface and there’s a high scramble conversion percentage out of the back bunker. But, it’s so easy to miss the green and end up in the drink that it can make for a double or triple bogey quickly.

The course really revolves around long approach shots, but the winners really take advantage of the par-5’s. This is typical of most par-70 golf courses where the winner can gain key shots on the par-5’s.

Projected Winning Score: -9


Rickie Fowler +800
Justin Thomas +1,000
Tommy Fleetwood +2,600
Gary Woodland +2,800
Daniel Berger +4,000


Thomas Pieters +6,600
Byeong Hun An +7,500
Chris Kirk +8,000
JB Holmes +10,000
Sung Kang +12,500


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