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Odds Outlook: Former champion Sungjae Im drives into The Honda Classic as favorite

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Odds Outlook: Former champion Sungjae Im drives into The Honda Classic as favorite

    Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    The Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens kicks off the PGA TOUR’s Florida Swing after an incredible west coast jaunt.

    The Champion Course at PGA National will provide the backdrop for the 17th consecutive season. The Poa annua and Kikuyu grass of the west coast will be replaced this week by Bermuda grass, "The Bear Trap" and plenty of water and sand.

    Usually resort courses suggest low scores but not this week. Playing to Par-70 and just 7,125 yards, the last five editions have ranked in the top seven highest scoring events, including the majors, on TOUR.

    A field of 144 are competing for a prize pool of $8.4 million with 500 FedExCup points going to the winner.

    Nine of the OWGR top 50 are teeing it up this week with the highest ranked player from that list, Sungjae Im (+850), also the betting favorite with BetMGM sportsbook. The 2020 winner signed for T8 in his defense but missed out on the weekend last year. The Korean picked up back-to-back top six paydays on the West Coast before T56 at Riviera, a course where he's never run well, last week.

    Shane Lowry (+1400) has never missed the cut in five trips and did everything but win here last year. Caught in a rainstorm needing a birdie on the final hole, the Irishman fell one short in solo second after closing 67-67-67. After MC at TPC Scottsdale he claimed T14 at a difficult Riviera last week.

    The top heavy board drifts off and Aaron Wise (+2200) leads the next layer. The closest he's gone here in four starts is T13 in 2021 after he opened 64-64. Quiet opening to 2023 includes one weekend, T18, as his best from three starts.

    Chris Kirk (+2200) picked up podium finishes of third and T3 in his first two starts after the calendar rolled over. Making his 12th start at the Champion Course he'll look to add to his momentum after a career-best T7 last season.

    Of the last four winners at PGA National, three have won for the first time on TOUR. Alex Noren (+2500) has plenty of skins on his wall from his time in Europe but he has yet to breakthrough in the States. He's shown his nerve around this tract as he was T5 last year and third in 2018.

    Denny McCarthy (+2500) also hasn't cracked the code to the winner's club yet he does prefer seaside shot makers. Finding the top 10 on Bermuda at Pebble Beach and cashing T14 in a big field at Riviera last week provide enough clues. So does picking up T3 here in 2021.

    Turning 45 on the summer solstice, veteran Matt Kuchar (+2500) tees it up for the first time since 2011 at the Champion Course. He'll look to join Matt Jones (not entered) and Padraig Harrington (2015) as the only 40-somethings to pick up the hardware at Jack Nicklaus' southern event.

    Australian Min Woo Lee (+2500), one of the nine players ranked in the OWGR top 50 entered this week at No. 47, will look to continue the streak of international winners at this event to four. Opening with T2 and T13 in the Middle East suggests he's in form but he's also making his first appearance at this event. The last victor on debut was all the way back in 2011.

    Sepp Straka (+5000) came from five back last year to claim the title and will be defending for the first time on TOUR. He was the only player to post 10-under as he won in his fourth attempt at PGA National.

    Others to consider:
    +2800: Billy Horschel
    +3300: Adam Svensson
    +4000: Harris English, Hayden Buckley, Jhonattan Vegas, JT Poston, Taylor Pendrith, Thomas Detry
    +4500: Christiaan Bezuidenhout
    +5000: Adrian Meronk, Joseph Bramlett, Lee Hodges, Robby Shelton
    +5500: Ben Griffin, Byeong Hun An, Garrick Higgo, Justin Suh, Nick Hardy, Ryan Palmer
    +6000: Danny Willett
    +6600: Aaron Rai, SH Kim, Stephan Jaeger, Will Gordon, Charley Hoffman, Erik van Rooyen
    +8000: Ben Taylor, Brandon Wu, Davis Riley, Dylan Frittelli, Greyson Sigg, Lanto Griffin, Padraig Harrington, Russell Knox, Webb Simpson
    +9000: Mark Hubbard

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