The PGA Tour crosses from west coast to east this week for the Honda Classic at the PGA National, Palm Beach. The Champion Course is renowned for the tough stretch from the 15th to the 17th holes known as the Bear Trap, named after its designer Jack Nicklaus, who is responsible for 38 per cent of all triple bogeys or worse at this event. There are stretches of water surrounding most holes, while the greens are well protected by large bunkers. The tournament has been staged here since 2007 and winners at this venue include Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. The defending champion is Rickie Fowler, who won by four shots last year. He is bidding to become just the second man to win back-to-back titles here – the first was Nicklaus himself in 1977 and 78.
Honda Classic Favourites
Fowler, who home is just minutes away from the PGA National course, is the firm favourite to continue his good run of form so far this season with another victory here, with most firms quoting him at 8/1*. Justin Thomas has finished outside the top 25 at only one of his last 12 events, winning three of them, but the world number four missed the cut here last year. He’s at 12/1* with and , as is the 2012 champion McIlroy. Sergio Garcia, who was runner-up here two years ago, can be backed at 18/1*, with the rest of the field priced at 30/1 and beyond. That’s where you’ll find two of the recent stars of the European Tour, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton.
Honda Classic Tips
With his record of five top 10 finishes and one top 20 from just seven starts this season, Brian Harman probably merits a little more credit than he’s been getting from the bookmakers and Stan James’ quote of 50/1* this week certainly looks like a spot of value. He missed the cut last time out, but he’s had a little rest since then and it will be fascinating to see if he can get his hot streak moving again.
It’s 18 months since Kiradech Aphibarnrat last played in the US, when he attempted to qualify for the PGA Tour via the Web.com tour. He returns as world number 37 – his best career ranking – after his victory in Perth this month, a result which continued a fine run of form stretching back to last autumn on the European Tour. He’s risen more than a hundred places in six months and looks too big at 125/1* with Stan James.
Ryan Moore made just his second start of 2018 at the Genesis Open last week, but he finished in a share of ninth place to continue his positive start to the season. The world number 66, who also finished sixth at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, doesn’t miss many cuts and has finished in the top 25 at six of his last 10 events. He’s available at 50/1* with , but are offering the tempting each-way price of 70/1*.
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|