DraftKings preview: The Honda Classic
February 24, 2020
By Reid Fowler, Special, PGATOUR.COM
- February 24, 2020
Daily Fantasy preview for The Honda Classic
The start of the Florida Swing is next on the schedule for the PGA TOUR, starting with this week’s trip to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for The Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course. The course will play as a par-70, measuring 7,125 yards, and move back to Bermudagrass greens this week.
PGA National has played host to the Honda since 2007, but it has also has a rich history with hosting tournaments like the 1983 Ryder Cup and the 1987 PGA Championship. Last year, Keith Mitchell collected his first TOUR win over runners-up Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler. All three are back in the field, as are Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland. Past winners here include Fowler, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlory, Russell Henley, Padraig Harrington and Adam Scott.
PGA National has played very difficult in the past, ranking fourth in scoring relative to par last season and second in 2018. The easiest it has played was 17th in 2014 and has ranked inside the top 5 in scoring difficulty in seven out of the past 10 years, the only non-major to rank this high over the past decade. The greens have consistently played difficult, recording below 60% hit in regulation, close to 10% less than TOUR average, as well as the majority of approach shot distribution coming from 175 to 200 yards. PGA National also is home to “The Bear Trap,” holes 15-17, which ranks as the third-toughest stretch on TOUR among courses that have been played in at least 10 or more seasons since 2007 (non-majors). Water hazards come into play on 15 of the 18 holes.
DraftKings lineups should consist of golfers who are elite or trending positively in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green with winners gaining close to three times more in approach over the field compared to Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Golfers who come into this week playing well on par-4s should also be considered, as is the case with all par-70s.
Gary Woodland: $10,300
Woodland hasn’t missed the cut here in his past six appearances and comes into the week gaining strokes with his approach play in 12 of his past 14 events, dating back to March of last season. It looked like Woodland was going to make a run in Mexico after his 65 on Saturday, but he just couldn’t make any putts on Sunday, losing 1.6 strokes on the greens. His putting on Bermuda has been fantastic lately, ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting over his past two tournaments and his ball-striking has been elite here, ranking fifth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and second in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over his past three Honda Classics.
Billy Horschel: $9,200
Horschel has been playing great with two consecutive top-10s. He’s now in his home state and now gets on a par-70, the type of course where he feels comfortable. He ranks seventh in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his past three tournaments in the aforementioned layout. Horschel comes into The Honda Classic, ranking just outside the top 40 in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, but first in Par-4 Efficiency over the past three tournaments. Horschel should also perform well on the greens this week, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Putting over the past 50 rounds on fast Bermudagrass greens.
Sam Burns: $7,100
Burns has now gained strokes with his ball-striking in his past four tournaments and over the two tournaments he’s played here has gained a total of 6.3 strokes through approach and just under eight strokes putting. Burns also ranks fourth in Par-4 Efficiency over the past 12 rounds and not only has a top 10 this season, but he also a top 10 here in 2018.
Chesson Hadley: $6,800
The missed cut in Puerto Rico could be an outlier with Hadley, who gained strokes through ball-striking in seven of his past eight tournaments. Hopefully, he left Puerto Rico feeling a little better shooting 2 under Friday and should be more comfortable on a course where he’s played well, finishing with a top 20 and two top 25s in three of his past five events here. Hadley could be in line for a good week with a strong mix of course form along with the way he’s hitting his irons, ranking 12th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over his last 24 rounds.
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