Eat The Chalk or Make The Pivot, Honda Classic

We go from a very solid west coast swing to four great weeks of golf in Florida. PGA National is the host and it can be one of the toughest tracks on tour. Water is all over and the wind can make it very difficult. The course plays as a par 70 at around 7,150 yards. Holes 15-17, the bear trap, is the main attraction and plays as one of the hardest 3 consecutive holes on tour. Let’s not forget holes 5-7, which doesn’t have a name, but isn’t far behind the bear trap in difficulty. Off the tee players will club down to tight fairways that require longer second shots than normal on a shorter course do to the forced layups. From tee to green the players will face gnarly bermuda rough and larger than average firm fast bermuda greens. Often the winning score doesn’t surpass -10 while the cut is always + numbers.  Due to scheduling and perhaps the difficulty of the course the field is weak. We are talking perhaps weaker than what we saw at Pebble Beach a few weeks back. With a weak field and difficult conditions I would expect a high amount of variance. So let’s get started tackling these over priced players.

9K and above
With only two players priced over 10k I am including the 9k as the top group. Sungjae Im and Shane Lowry will definitely draw quite a bit of ownership as they are the two “headliners”. Not to mention their history has been good here. Both enter with solid to good form. I already mentioned above the volatility this course provides and I expect plenty this week. Avoiding the chalk will be my route. Can’t blame anyone for playing either but I am passing. I will take a route trying to play more mid tier teams because the lower you go in salary the more of a dumpster fire it becomes.

I have only two targets in this range starting with Min Woo Lee. He isn’t a household name within the community. For this reason I expect his ownership to be moderate. Many will site his great results but against much lesser competition. In todays game their are many very good golfers playing on every tour. On top of that Lee has shown the ability to put himself in contention for wins which is important for me. Finally, is this field really that much stronger than what he has been facing. Probably not. My other target is Matt Kuchar. His game sets up well for the course. He has been playing much better than last year. He has shown he can still compete and I like that he has shown he can still compete in strong fields.

8K Range
I expect Johnny Vegas, Adam Svennson, Garrick Higgo and Cam Davis to garner the majority of ownership. Higgo is a wildcard for me, so inconsistent while I don’t like the upside for Vegas and Davis. Both have basically been cut makers here with only a couple decent finishes. Svennson is the one I feel who could burn me by not playing.

I am going with Harris English as he continues to try and get his game back in form we saw two years ago. After several mediocre finishes combined with quite a few missed cuts his game came back last week. Now the question is can he maintain that level. The other player I like is Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Bez has a solid short game and can get hot with the putter. His inconsistency comes with his iron play. If he brings it, which he has shown he can he can be at the top come Sunday. I also prefer Bez in tournaments were the scoring is tougher. He isn’t one who is going to go out and score a plethora of birdies.

7K Range
I am sure Benny An is going to get traction and wouldn’t be surprised if he ends as one of the higher owned in this range. I am content with that since I am avoiding the chalkier plays up top. An has had great success here in the past and his game is trending upwards. Danny Willett usually shows up when the conditions and courses are tougher. His game is trending upwards making his last two cuts. While the options in this range aren’t great I have a hard time seeing Danny exceed 10%. SH Kim is another Korean who is playing solid golf off the Korn Ferry Tour. We have seen players for Korea play well here and I am hoping Kim continues the trend. I won’t be surprised if he is one of the more popular plays but like I said prior I am avoiding the chalkier plays up top. Finally, Harry Higgs is my last choice. Every tournament is important for Higgs as he is fighting for his life to continue playing on tour. Harry has made three consecutive cuts and should be minimally owned.

Thats a wrap for the Honda Classic. Hopefully we can push through as we have two very good tournaments on the horizon. Let’s have a great week, bounce back from last week and Run Pure!


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