Golf betting tips: Preview and tips for the 2022 Honda Classic
The Honda Classic is played each spring in Florida and forms part of the Florida Swing. The tournament was founded in 1972 as the Inverrary Classic and since 1982, Honda has been the title sponsor.
Traditionally the Honda Classic is the lead tournament of the Florida Swing following the Tour’s migration from the ‘West-Coast’. The Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida continues as the tournament’s host course.
PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has hosted the tournament since 2007. The Champion Course at PGA National was opened in November 1981 and was designed by Tom and George Fazio. The course has played host to the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship from 1982-2000.
Following a redesign of the course by Jack Nicklaus in 1990, holes 15, 16 and 17 became known as the infamous “Bear Trap“. These holes are three of the hardest on a tough and challenging course.
Water is in play on 16 holes and there are 100+ bunkers. The course annually ranks as one of the most difficult in GIR so solid iron play is key. Blustery conditions are not unusual for this time of year in Florida so an ability to play in wind is a plus. If the wind gets up the layout becomes a very tricky test and missing the fairways makes it even more of a struggle.
PGA National is a challenging layout with a premium on ball-striking making it a very similar test to that experienced at Riviera
The layout is not straightforward in terms of being able to find a profile that fits
2021 Honda Classic | Matt Jones
Last year’s edition of the Honda Classic saw 40-year-old, Matt Jones, capture his second PGA Tour title. A final round of -2 (68) was good enough for a -12 (268) total to secure the win and his first since the 2014 Houston Open. The victory was setup with a spectacular opening round which saw the Australian tie the course record with a 61.
“It’s been seven years. It’s been a tough seven years, I’ve had ups and I’ve had downs, as all golfers have, but it gets me into a lot of big tournaments now.”Matt Jones
Jones’ game tee-to-green laid the foundation for the victory. he finished 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green which translated to a gain of 14.301 strokes or 86% of his overall gain for the week. The Aussie finished in the Top 10 for SG:OTT, SG:APR and SG:ARG. He finished 25th for Strokes Gained Putting which equated to a gain of 2.152 strokes. Other stats for the tournament include T27 for Driving Accuracy, 23rd for Driving Distance, T6 for GIR and T12 in Putts per GIR.
2020 Honda Classic | Sungjae Im
Last year, 21 year old Sungjae Im, captured his first PGA Tour victory at the 2020 Honda Classic. The South Korean carded a final round -4 (66) to finish at -6 (274) for the week, the second highest winning score since the tournament moved to PGA National in 2007. It was enough to finish one stroke clear of Mackenzie Hughes and Tommy Fleetwood.
Im birdied four of his first five holes, then birdied two of the final four to capture the title. He excelled tee-to-green, topping the pile in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. This translated to a gain of 12.288 strokes or nearly 92% of his overall gain. Other stats for the week include T10 for Driving Accuracy 40th for Driving Distance, T2 for GIR and T38 in Strokes Gained Putting.
2019 Honda Classic | Keith Mitchell
In 2019, Keith Mitchell captured the Honda Classic for his first win on the PGA Tour. He carded a final round -3 (67) to finish on -9 (271) for the tournament. He birdied four of his final seven holes to finish one stroke clear of Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.
“I was trying to focus on what was going on. My mind started wandering there a little bit at the end and then I hit a great putt”Keith Mitchell
Over 90% of his shots gained on the field average came tee-to-green, gaining an impressive 11.917 strokes for the week in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. Mitchell finished the week 8th in Driving Distance, T54 for Driving Accuracy, T22 in GIR and 38th in Strokes Gained Putting.
2018 Honda Classic | Justin Thomas
The 2018 champion, Justin Thomas signed for a final round -2 (68) to force a playoff with Luke List. A birdie on the first hole of the playoff was enough to land JT his eighth career victory.
“This was a hard win, I tried to stay really patient out there”Justin Thomas
Almost 90% of Thomas’ strokes gained on the field average came tee-to-green (14.096) with his approach play contributing the lion’s share of the gain. Thomas finished the week 1st in Driving Distance, T60 for Driving Accuracy, T14 in GIR and 28th in Strokes Gained Putting
2017 Honda Classic | Rickie Fowler
In 2017, Rickie Fowler, emerged victorious to win his 4th PGA Tour title. He carded a final round +1 (71) to finish on -12 (268), four shots clear of the chasing pack. Fowler had this to say after the final round;
“I started with a four shot lead and I still won by four, so I didn’t play great, it wasn’t a pretty round, but we got the job done. A win is a win.”
Fowler finished the week 12th in Driving Distance, T17 for Driving Accuracy, T18 in GIR and 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting. He gained a total of 7.4 strokes on the field average from putting and gained another 6.8 strokes from Off-The-Tee and Approach-The-Green combined.
2016 Honda Classic | Adam Scott
The 2016 champion, Adam Scott, finished the week 10th in Driving Distance, T10 in Driving Accuracy, 1st for GIR and 23rd for Strokes Gained Putting. The Aussie’e approach shots contributed 55% of his total gain on the field average, followed by driving at 28%.
In a nutshell, players will need to have a solid ball striking week, be able to manoeuvre the ball in windy conditions, putt and scramble well and avoid big numbers in the Bear Trap
Honda Classic Tips
Shane Lowry 22/1 (E/W) – this will be the Irishman’s fourth look at PGA National with his best result to date a T21 in 2020. Hasn’t teed it up on Tour since November, instead, he has been plying his trade on the DP World Tour where he finished T12 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and T24 in the Dubai Desert Classic. Hasn’t played enough rounds on Tour this season to register any stats, but we know his chances improve greatly when wind is a factor. Has the skill set to unpick the challenge of PGA National. Lives just half an hour away (like many others) in Jupiter Florida which will be a big plus. This week sets up nicely for the 34-year old to make it win number three on Tour.
Keith Mitchell 33/1 (E/W) – a past champion of the Honda Classic, he won here in the 2019 edition of the tournament. Followed up a T12 at the AT&T Pebble Beach with a T10 in his last outing at the WM Phoenix Open. The 30-year-old from Tennessee places mid-table in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also currently 15th on Tour for SGT2G and 19th for Scoring Average. On a week when not too many players are jumping off the page, he ticks the boxes better than most. His Current Form demands attention and looks dangerous just off radar.
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