PGA-Honda Classic Preview and Picks
Spring is a few weeks away yet the PGA marks a changing season with a change in venue as the Tour heads to Florida for the 2011 Honda Classic. This event has a long history with the PGA but the Championship Course at PGA National is hosting just its fifth Tour stop and has proved to be a formidable foe in that short time. Camilo Villegas was the only player in the field last year to card four rounds under par on the way to victory and he is back to defend his title against a strong field that includes some of the best international players as well as past champions such as Ernie Els. The Tour tends to go easy on the players in the early part of the schedule with rather tame layouts that provide for good scoring but that all changes this week as the host course is among the tougher tests in the entire rotation. PGA National finished as the second hardest in terms of scoring average in 2010 play and tests the players ability to navigate 26 water hazards and nearly 80 bunkers. Players will need control over the entire tee to green game to even gain birdie chances on the 7,158 yard, par-70 layout and will likely need a strong recovery game to save critical pars. Look for the scoring pace to be moderate at best with the winner in the 7 to 10-under par range.
Here are my picks to win for the 2011 Honda Classic.Â Be sure to log on to sportsbook.com to place your wagers on you favorites golfers. There is always great value when studying how certain golfers perform on certain courses.
Matt Kuchar +1600
The 2002 Honda Classic champ is likely the hottest player in golf over the last year or so with four top-10 finishes in five starts this year including a 3rd in last weeks Accenture Match Play. Kuchar ranks 23rd in fairways, 20th in greens hit and adds a top-20 rank in putting average to make him an almost slam dunk to contend on any tough course. Additionally, Matt is 7th in scrambling this year, which always helps when par is a good score.
Robert Allenby +3300
Allenby has a nice history at the Honda, especially at PGA National, with three top-5 finishes from 2007 to 2009. Allenby remains one of the best iron players on Tour and is in the top-25 in Greens in Regulation percentage as usual heading into the week. He is also in his usual spot when it comes to putting average, which is outside the top-150. There is little doubt that Robert will give himself birdie looks and if they go down, hell be on the front page all week, Given his history at the course I believe he is a good play.
[ad#Betonline Sports link]