The Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens, PGA National, Florida
Par 70, 7,140 yards
Last Week –
Well it was an exciting finish at Riviera last week where Bubba Watson won his second Northern Trust Open getting us a nice 22/1 winner. Despite Kokrak’s superb scrambling and Adam Scott chipping in on 18 for birdie, Watson still managed to birdie 17 and par 18 to win by one. That makes it four winners and seven places in the last 13 events giving us a healthy +92.21 pts profit for the season so far. Let’s keep it going this week at The Honda Classic in Florida.
The PGA National Champion Course was opened on November 17, 1981 and was designed by Tom Fazio. It was the site of the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship for 19 years, from 1982–2000. The course underwent a $4 million renovation by Jack Nicklaus in December 2002, and in 2007 became the home of The Honda Classic.
The Champion Course is a tough par 70 with two par 5’s, four tricky par 3’s and 12 par 4’s and will be a difficult test for the players this week. This course has Bermuda grass greens, which is a feature on every Florida course. The fairways are quite wide and forgiving, however the greens here are quite small, tricky and guarded by plenty of bunkers. With the breeze expected to get up a little bit, be on the lookout for good wind players that hit a lot of greens. There are over 100 bunkers on this course so good scrambling and sand saves will be essential.
Looking at the way this course sets up, it might be worth looking at par 3 performance as this course has four very tricky par 3’s with GIR, strokes gained putting and par 4 performance also key stats here. The “Bear Trap” is a key feature on this course with the par 3 15th, par 4 16th and par 3 17th being particularly difficult and could potentially offer a thrilling finish come Sunday night. The 18th is a straight forward par 5 and reachable with two good shots.
Rickie Fowler 12/1
Despite losing a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, Rickie Fowler comes to Florida in great form and well rested after taking last week off. He has started his season off with a T17 at The WGC HSBC Champions and followed that with a solo third at The Hero World Challenge, solo fifth at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a win in Abu Dhabi and a P2 in Phoenix.
He has played well on The Champions Course in the past finishing T7 in 2012, T13 in 2013 and T24 in 2014. He ticks a lot of boxes statswise ranking 16th in GIR, 13th in SGTTG, eighth in SGP, fourth in par 4 scoring and first in par 5 scoring. Rickie is in super from at the moment and could have another good week after playing well here in the past.
Patrick Reed 22/1
Patrick Reed has been playing solid for the last three months and looks like winning any day now. He started the season of with a T10 at The CIMB Classic and followed that with a T7 at The WGC HSBC Champions and a solo second at The Hero World Challenge. He started 2016 off with a solo second at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions and had a super week in Pebble Beach finishing T6 which included a 65 in the final round.
He has played well here over the last couple of years finishing T24 in 2014 and T7 last year. Reed ranks 18th in GIR, 20th in SGTTG, second in scrambling and fifth in par 4 scoring. If he carries the form he had in Pebble into this week he will be one to watch.
Branden Grace 30/1
The South African has been playing superb lately and had a great win in Qatar a couple of weeks ago finishing on 14 under for the week. He has a win and five top 10’s in his last six events. He finished the 2015 European Tour season off in style with a solo third at The DP Tour Championship and followed that with a T8 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and a T4 at The Nedbank. He started 2016 with a T4 at The SA Open, T5 in Abu Dhabi and a win in Qatar.
Statswise he ranks 33rd in GIR, 21st in SGTTG, 11th in sand saves and ninth in stroke average. Grace tends to play well on the tougher courses and could be a huge contender here.
Kevin Kisner 35/1
Despite a missed cut in Phoenix, Kisner has a win and three top 10’s in his last five starts and looks to be playing some super golf at the moment. He finished solo second at The WGC HSBC in Shanghai, which included an opening round 64 and followed that with a win at The RSM Classic shooting 64, 64 over the weekend to seal the victory. Kisner then started 2016 off with a solo ninth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a T5 at The Sony, which included an opening round 63.
Kisner also ticks a lot of boxes statistically ranking 21st in both GIR and SGTTG and 14th in SGP. He also ranks second in par 4 scoring and ninth in par 5 scoring. He finished T51 here last year but comes here in much better form this time around.
Freddie Jacobson 60/1
Freddie has been playing well over the last few weeks with three top 10’s in his last five events. He had a great week at The RSM Classic finishing solo fifth and followed that with a T4 at the weather delayed Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines. The Swede had another solid performance in Pebble finishing T4 and scrambled and putted superbly well.
He has a good record here finishing T12 in 2014, T25 in 2013, T16 in 2012, T6 in 2010 and T5 in 2009. He ranks 26th in SGP, 14th in scrambling and third in par 3 scoring and looks like a great each way shout here.
Final Selections –
Rickie Fowler 12/1 2pts EW
Patrick Reed 22/1 2pts EW
Branden Grace 30/1 1pt EW
Kevin Kisner 35/1 1pt EW
Freddie Jacobson 60/1 1pt EW
Total staked = 14 pts
Paddypower paying seven places this week
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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