The build up to The Masters continues with the Honda Classic at PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The 144 field will be competing at this par 72 parkland venue for the $7million purse with the winner receiving $1.26million.
Sungjae Im will return to defend the title he won last year when he seen off Tommy Fleetwood and Mackenzie Hughes to earn the young 22 year old South Korean his maiden PGA Tour victory.
The key attribute this week will be accuracy from tee to green as this is one of the toughest tracks on the PGA circuit, with many deep bunkers, water hazards and thick rough to stay clear of.
The weather is forecast to be sunny and warm with moderate breezes expected to pick up over the weekend especially on Sunday to make the test even more demanding.
The event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf throughout from 11.45 am GMT starting Thursday.
You may have seen some spectators at events on The PGA Tour recently and this week I’m glad to say that there will be even more allowed to attend with the daily 10,000 allocation sold out.
28/1 Winner Last Week
Last week we had yet another very profitable weekend with my selections. Antoine Rozner, my main selection at the Qatar Masters, won at a recommended 28/1 on The European Tour while over on The PGA Tour at The Players Championship, Paul Casey whom I advised was overpriced, finished T5th at 70/1 to collect some decent each way value.
Well done to everyone who collected and followed my selections last week .
So let’s get on with this week’s recommendations.
For my first pick I’m going to advise Shane Lowry 30/1 EW Betfair for my main selection.
The big Irishman seems to be finding some decent form recently and played some tidy golf at last week's Players Championship finishing in 8th place to the joy of many each way punters.
He has recently been playing mostly on the European Tour and was 27th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic then followed that with 29th at the star studded Saudi International. Let’s not forget the pleasant Irishman won a major when The Open was last played in 2019 at Royal Portrush.
Lowry certainly has all the credentials needed to tackle this demanding course and the fact he lives only five minutes from this venue and plays this course more than most, suggests to me that this can only enhance his chances and gain a slight advantage over the field.
Lowry is still fighting for Ryder Cup points and this tournament can set him up nicely for not only the victory but also a chance to join his Ryder Cup friends. I’m sure they will all be rooting for the Irishman to join the team in September at Whistling Straits.
With the breeze expected to pick up over the weekend at Palm Beach Gardens then this will also play into Lowry's game as he seems to thrive in tricky conditions therefore I’m predicting him to be contending if not winning come Sunday evening in Florida.
For my next selection I’m going to stick with last years winner Sungjae Im 18/1 EW Betfair. The young 22 yrs old South Korean has already proved he can find his way around this tricky track. Since winning here last year he has had five Top 5 finishes which include 2nd place at The Masters in Augusta back in November.
Last week at the Players Championship he was going well which included a final round 66 on the scorecard, joint best on the day.
He also finished the tournament 7th in putting statistics which could be key here this week.
He seems to always be there or thereabouts when checking leaderboards and with a few notable absentees this week at the Honda Classic then this could leave the door open for the talented Sungjae Im to go on and defend his title in style.
For my next pick I’m going to look further up the field for some value and for that reason I’m going to suggest Richy Werenski 100/1 EW Betfair.
The American finished 17th at this tournament last year and the fact that Werenski is a native to these parts and knows this course like the back of his hand can only enhance his chances.
The 29 year old won his maiden PGA Tour title last year with a victory at the Barracuda Championship fending off some strong competition so I’m thinking the firms may have just missed a trick here and slightly overlooked and overpriced Werenski in the process.
With most firms offering 1-8 places again this week then even a place represents some decent value.
With the American's odds being so high then a Top 20 finish is also available at 5/1 Betfair so it may prove wise to take advantage of this generosity while it’s available.
Joaquin Niemann to beat Lee Westwood
For my final selection it’s the customary 72 hole matchbet and this week I’m taking Joaquin Niemann to beat Lee Westwood at 10/11 Nap BetVictor.