The Honda Classic Fantasy Golf Preview

The Honda Classic Fantasy Golf Preview

Collin Comes Good

Well, last week, we finished three shots off the leader, and this week we finished two shots back, so a win is undoubtedly around the corner. Nevertheless, it was a good performance as Morikawa placed second at the Genesis. However, in all honesty, he was never really in contention to win, but it’s still a good performance. Our other pick Hoge had a stinker and missed the cut.

Our attention turns to The Honda Classic this week. We will begin, as always, by taking a look at the history of the tournament as we start to build this week’s BeerLife profile.

The History

This week, the PGA Tour travels from Pacific Palisades, California, to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for the 50th edition of The Honda Classic, which takes place on the Champion Course at PGA National. The top of the OWGR, on the other hand, will not be in Florida this week, as none of the top-10 ranked players that competed in last week’s Genesis Invitational will be in attendance for The Honda.

The Honda Classic became a PGA Tour event in 1972, known then as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic. It was initially linked with actors and comedians, as were many events back in the day. When Jack Nicklaus won the tournament in 1977 and 1978, it gained considerably more significance. The tournament was elevated to a new level in the late 2000s when Tiger Woods relocated to the area and declared it his home event.

In recent years, Nicklaus has served as a type of host for the tournament, with proceeds going to hospitals and children’s charities named after him. With two wins apiece, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Mark Calcavecchia, and Padraig Harrington are tied for the most wins in the tournament’s history.

Let’s turn our attention to the form of the previous five winners, analyze their rounds and see if we can find some crucial links to begin our BeerLife profile.

Past Results

2021 Matt Jones – 268 – Form 55/CUT/8/34
2020 Sungjae Im – 274 – Form 29/CUT/34/36
2019 Keith Mitchell – 271 – Form CUT/CUT/73/CUT
2018 Justin Thomas – 272 – Form 9/17/14/22
2017 Rickie Fowler – 268 – Form 4/CUT/3/2

The Course

This week’s Honda Classic is in Palm Beach Gardens, which joined the Tour schedule 50 years ago this month. The tournament has been held at various locations over the years before settling on PGA National in 2007. The Champion Course at PGA National is one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world. The Champion Course, designed by Tom and George Fazio, first opened in November 1981.

Despite the lack of trees and lush foliage, it is a course where accurate tee-to-green golf is rewarded. This is partly due to its extensive and strategically placed bunkering and 13 holes with significant water hazards. The low-lying Champion Course requires good ball-striking, even though the fairways do not look to be particularly tight, and its Tifeagle Bermuda grass putting surfaces were re-laid in 2018. This parkland site is not for the faint of heart.

The weather looks decent this week, although there could be a bit of wind about, especially on the opening day.

The Field

The 2022 Honda Classic field was always going to look “weak” in comparison to the Genesis Invitational field, which featured all 10 of the world’s top players. Despite this, it contains some of the game’s biggest names, like Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Daniel Berger, and Genesis champion Joaquin Niemann. According to OWGR, Honda’s field strength is 239, up from 179 last year but down from 261 in 2020. The Genesis number for last week was 685.

Key Stats

We run each player in the field through our BeerLife profile analysis to develop our selections. This is what we are looking for this week:

The Right Genes – Two of the previous four winners, finished inside the top nine at the Genesis Invitational before heading into this one.

The Genesis Invitational 2022

  1. Joaquin Niemann
  2. Collin Morikawa
  3. Cameron Young
  4. Adam Scott
  5. Viktor Hovland

Fast Start – Looking at the previous five winners’ rounds, it’s clear they have made their mark on the opening day. You only have to look at last year as evidence when Matt Jones shot a 61, which pretty much won him the tournament.

Round 1 Scoring Average

  1. Patrick Cantlay
  2. Billy Horschel
  3. Cameron Smith
  4. Russell Henley
  5. Kevin Na

A Par Star – This week is less about attacking, aggressive golf and more about conservative play on this very tricky course.

Bogey Avoidance

  1. Sungjae Im
  2. Jon Rahm
  3. Sergio Garcia
  4. Sam Burns
  5. Louis Oosthuizen

Every Shot Counts – The biggest statistical asset is Strokes Gaines Tee to Green. This emphasizes the difficulty of the course, meaning every stroke is as important as the one before and the one following.

SG: Tee-To-Green

  1. Will Zalatoris
  2. Jon Rahm
  3. Like List
  4. Justin Thomas
  5. Matt Fitzpatrick

Draft Picks

After looking at the above data and running the field through our Beerlife profile builder, we have selected the following picks.

Must-Have Players – These are the players you need to have in your lineup regardless of the price.

Joaquin Niemann
Odds To Win +1800
DraftKings $10,600
This kid does have it all, and it all came together last week at the Genesis, where he dominated from start to finish. This win was on the cards and was Niemann’s third top-six finish in only eight events this season. He’s played some steady golf here over the last three years, and that is usually what you are looking for. However, he hasn’t quite got off to the flying start you need to be able to maintain that steady score. But last week, he showed he could start well, shooting back-to-back 63s on the opening two days. He should come here this week bouncing and could easily go low on day one again. He has everything you need to win here, too – he is solid tee-to-green and knows how to get up and down around the green. This is especially key as the GIR percentage is lower than the PGA Tour average.
Sungjae Im
Odds To Win +1000
DraftKings $11,000
I hate to pick two of the more fancied golfers, but these two stand out like a sore thumb in a weak field. Sungjae has already won this season and has four top-ten finishes to his name. He won here two years ago with next to no form heading into the tournament, so with such a solid start to the season under his belt, it’s no wonder that he is fancied to do well this week. As well as winning here, he placed eighth last year, so it’s clear he loves this golf course. He has very similar attributes to Niemann, but you would have to say he is a better putter. Another reason I picked him this week is that he has played sand very well recently, having made ten consecutive saves in a row, the fourth-longest streak on Tour. This is significant as this course has some very strategically placed bunkers, which even the best players will find at some point.
Freelance Sports Writer | + posts

Hey Guys

My name is Dean, AKA The Stat Man. I am a Sports Betting Analyst who uses math, algorithms, probability and logic to create my posts. I specialize in many sports, with Golf being the primary focus. You can find a lot of my work on various websites but the best content is found here on Beer Life.

I live in the UK, on the outskirts of London but my background and heritage is Irish. I'm an avid Manchester United fan who sees following them as a religion. Sport is pretty much my life, as I live and breathe it daily. If there is something I don't know it's probably not worth knowing as I have over 20 years industry experience and insight.

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