For those who missed it, check out the 2022 Honda Classic Preview and Betting Strategies for the types of golfers you should look to target for your picks. Using that as a guide, let’s take a look at some of the best bets to make this week. Here are my picks for the Honda Classic (odds courtesy of WynnBet):
Honda Classic Picks – Outright Winners
Shane Lowry – 25/1
For those who don’t follow or track DP World Tour stats, Shane Lowry has very little data on him over the last six months. But he’s played a lot of golf in that stretch. And a lot of it was really good. Last fall, Lowry recorded a pair of Top 10’s at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the DP World Tour Championship. Over in the Middle East, Lowry finished T12 in Abu Dhabi and T14 at the Saudi International. And he’s hit the ball great. Over his last 12 rounds, Lowry is gaining almost a stroke per round with his approach shots, and 1.6 strokes tee-to-green overall. What’s held him back is his putter, which he’s struggling with. We all know that a cold putter can turn around at any given moment.
Lowry is also really good on tough, penal golf courses. He has had several good results at these tracks over the last year. They include a T11 at Liberty National, a golf course with lots of water. He also finished T6 at the 2021 Memorial, a Jack Nicklaus design where plays can find serious trouble if they miss in the wrong spots. He also finished T8 at TPC Sawgrass and T4 at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah. These are a pair of tough, penal, demanding Pete Dye tracks where strokes can pile up in a hurry should one have careless ball striking.
His results at the Honda Classic are just OK. But based on how’s he’s played over the last year, he’s a threat to win this event. Pick Lowry at the top of your Honda Classic betting card.
Alex Noren – 40/1
Off contending at TPC Scottsdale, Alex Noren came back to earth a little bit at the Genesis Invitational. But overall he hit the ball fine last week. It was actually his putter that let him down. He’s a really good putter overall. There’s a great chance that bounces back this week.
What you should really like about Alex Noren is his performance on tough, penal golf courses. PGA National reminds me of the American version of Le Golf National, the home of the Open de France and the 2018 Ryder Cup. Like PGA National, Le Golf National is a narrow, short, penal golf course with lots of water and where safe positional golf is key. And it’s also a golf course that allows someone to keep their driver in the bag.
Alex Noren also has a few good finishes on other penal courses on the PGA Tour. In 2021, Noren had a T4 at Liberty National and a T13 at the Memorial. He owns a T3 at TPC Twin Cities, a golf course full of water and bunkers. And he owns a 3rd right here at PGA National. He’s already demonstrated a good ceiling at the golf course. At 40/1, Noren could pick up his first victory on the PGA Tour.
Matthew Wolff – 40/1
Matthew Wolff doesn’t strike many as a player who fits PGA National. At a golf course that demands precision and patience, a volatile player like Wolff who hits it a mile and is prone to blow-ups might not be a great fit. His T58 finish in 2020 didn’t show any signs he’s ready to take on PGA National.
But there’s another side to Matthew Wolff that may play well this week. At the Mayakoba, Wolff was forced to keep the driver in the bag for much of the week. With penal mangrove forests surrounding the fairways, he opted for driving irons off the tee to keep the ball in play. And with how long he hits it, he can hit that club almost as far as some of the short, accurate players can hit their driver. And he played great. Wolff was co-leader heading into the weekend and ultimately finished T5. Wolff also has direct success on another penal golf course on the PGA Tour. His only win was at TPC Twin Cities, a golf course with a ton of water and bunkers.
And like Joaquin Niemann, who won last week, Wolff is getting lost in the shuffle of the young guns on the PGA Tour. But he put himself in great spots to win a tournament three times last fall. And while his first two PGA Tour starts in 2022 haven’t been great, he did finish T6 at the Saudi International in difficult scoring conditions. Without any ShotLink data, we’re left to wonder exactly how he did it. But it’s very possible Wolff figured things out and has righted the ship.
It’s outside the box, but Wolff absolutely has the ability and talent to win at PGA National. And at 40/1, he’s worth taking a shot on.
Jhonattan Vegas – 50/1
Jhonattan Vegas is in very good form leading up to this tournament. All his ball-striking numbers look fantastic ahead of the Honda Classic. And players like Jhonattan Vegas have recently won this tournament. Bombers such as Keith Mitchell, Luke List, Brooks Koepka, and Gary Woodland have found success at PGA National. And so too has Vegas. He has three straight Top 30 finishes at a 4th in 2017.
Vegas also has had some good finishes on tough, penal golf courses recently. Vegas finished T8 at the Saudi International, which featured very difficult scoring conditions. He was T2 at the 2021 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities. And he’s had success at tough places like TPC Sawgrass and Quail Hollow. And for what it’s worth, Vegas owns two wins on Jack Nicklaus golf courses. He won back to back at the 2016/2017 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey. In 2021, Jhonattan Vegas had three runner-up finishes. Maybe this is the week he finally gets the win.
Chris Kirk – 75/1
In 2013, Michael Thompson set the blueprint of how a short, accurate plodder could win the Honda Classic. Chris Kirk could do a very similar impression. He put himself in the mix at the Honda Classic last year, but a poor Sunday cost him a shot for the win. Maybe this year will go a little better for him.
And things are looking up for Kirk. In 2022, Kirk has hit the ball really well. Over his last three tournaments, Kirk is gaining over a stroke per round tee-to-green on the field. What was holding him back early this year was his putter. But he finally found something with the flat stick at TPC Scottsdale. That produced a T14 finish. And Kirk is quite comfortable putting on Bermuda.
Many are gravitating towards the bomber types of players this week. Why not a short, accurate plodder like Kirk instead? Pick him at 75/1 to win the Honda Classic.
Taylor Pendrith – 100/1
And speaking of the bomber type player, meet Taylor Pendrith. Pendrith could also deploy a similar blueprint of a former longshot winner. He can follow the Keith Mitchell playbook. Mitchell didn’t show much form ahead of his win at the Honda Classic. But he hits the ball a mile and putts well on Bermuda.
Taylor Pendrith fits this mold. Pendrith is a bomber who has putt well on Bermuda this season. He also isn’t coming in on fire. Pendrith was a big disappointment last week at Riviera. But before that, Pendrith had a Top 20 at Torrey Pines. And overall he’s hit his irons well recently. He hit his irons very well at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach. We’re not all that far away from that.
Plus, he’s demonstrated the ability to contend for a win already in his young career. He probably should have won the Bermuda Championship, a tournament with very difficult scoring conditions. Unfortunately, he collapsed down the stretch. But he’s shown flashes of that ceiling. At 100/1, he could become yet another longshot winner of the Honda Classic.
Honda Classic Picks – Other Props
Louis Oosthuizen Top 10 – +250
I strongly considered betting Louis Oosthuizen to win the tournament. But it just didn’t feel right to me. So I opted for the Top 10 prop instead. He’s going to be a popular pick this week, and this likely isn’t the first time you’ve seen him appear in a picks column. So I won’t repeat all his statistical trends that make him a good bet this week.
What I will add that you may not have heard is that Louis has a recent blueprint for showing up at a difficult, penal golf course and a weak field. The week after the Open Championship, Oosthuizen showed up to the 3M Open. Many wrote him off because of fatigue. But he showed well anyways, finishing T2. Plus, Louis has a ton of other great finishes on other penal golf courses. He’s found success at places like Liberty National, TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill, Sheshan International, and several tough major venues.
A lot of people think Louis will get his first win on U.S. soil. I’m not one of them. But another Top 10 finish? Sure. I’ll sign up for that.
Other Top 10’s To Consider
- Tommy Fleetwood – +250
- Keith Mitchell – +375
- Brian Harman – +425
Brendon Todd Top 20 – +350
Brendon Todd’s history at PGA National stinks. But he hasn’t played this event since 2016. That’s a long time ago. Maybe it’s no longer relevant.
What is relevant is Brendon Todd’s recent form. Todd has made the cut in three of four starts in 2022. He’s coming off the heels of a T25 at the WM Phoenix Open and at T16 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And he’s hitting his irons really well, gaining strokes in his last three tournaments. Pairing that with his accurate driving, great scrambling, and great Bermuda putting, he suddenly checks a lot of boxes of a guy who should be good at PGA National. Pick him at +350 for a Top 20 finish at the Honda Classic.
Other Top 20’s To Consider
- Mark Hubbard – +475
- Nick Taylor – +475
- Ryan Armour – +600
- David Lipsky – +700
Billy Horschel Missed Cut – +225
Every year, a very popular player misses the cut and disappoints all who backs him. Because of how penal the golf course is, it only takes a few bad holes to completely derail a tournament and send a guy packing on Friday.
So why not Billy Horschel. He’s a hot head who can go on tilt badly when things go wrong. And despite recent good form, it’s mostly been done with his putting. Overall, he’s hit his irons really, really poorly. He’s been able to get away with it because he’s played at places that don’t have a ton of water around the green. But at PGA National? Maybe that missed green into the rough turns into a missed green into the water. Pick Horschel to miss the weekend at the Honda Classic.
Alex Noren -120 over Matt Jones
The praise for Alex Noren is above. As for Matt Jones, he’s a little overpriced this week because of his recent form and as the defending champion of the Honda Classic. But he’s not bulletproof to avoid a poor performance at PGA National. And he’s struggled to follow up good performances for the second tournament in a row. Before last week, Jones has eight Top 15 finishes since the beginning of the 2019-2020 season. He followed that up with four missed cuts, two finishes outside the Top 50, a T26, and a WD. Not great Bob! And considering I like Alex Noren a lot this week, this head-to-head was a perfect match.