As the Tour shifts from the West coast swing over to the East coast, the change often brings with it a change in the winners circle. The Honda Classic, played at world re-known PGA National Golf Club is one of my favorite events and venues on the PGA Tour circuit. Although it's not overly long by Tour standards, the abundance of bunkers, thick rough and relatively small but undulating greens make this one of the toughest courses the pros will face all season long.
As always, this weeks field is chalked with talent and high profile golfers all looking to conquer the bear trap and claim victory. Interestingly enough, in the ten years played at PGA National, we've yet to see a repeat champion. Given the challenging nature of the course, course management becomes much more important. Length off the tee takes a back seat to fairways hit, greens in regulation, scrambling and of course putting. Let's take a look at ten players we feel are up to the challenge this week.
Adam Scott - The defending champion returns in great form, finishing T11th in last weeks Genesis Open. Among the leaders in many stat categories, including Pars made, Greens in regulation and strokes gained putting, all of which will be important this week.
Rickie Fowler - Another great all around performer, with a pair of top-10 finishes already on the season. His knack for bogey-avoidance will definitely be helpful this week.
Justin Thomas - After a fiery hot start to the season, winning back to back weeks in Hawaii, Thomas has waivered slightly the past couple weeks. Nevertheless, he's had success at this event in the past including last year where he finished T3.
Russell Knox - Knox has started the season very consistently, and has enjoyed success at this event in past years including a 2nd place finish and a T3. He's one of the best at finding greens in regulation, which will undoubtedly be to his advantage this week.
Branden Grace - Although yet to card a top-10 finish this season, Grace has been making cuts (5 for 5) and looks to extend that streak this week. A very versatile player, he'll need to dig deep into his shot making arsenal this week to break into the top-10.
Brendan Steele - Another player who's made every cut so far this season (5 for 5) which has included two top-10 finishes. In his last two appearances at PGA National, he's finished top 15 both times. He'll undoubtedly be looking to improve upon that this week.
Ollie Schniederjans - Off to an epic breakout season, Schniederjans is 5 for 5 so far this season including three top-10 finishes. Showed excellent consistent play at last weeks Genesis Open, shooting 68-69-69-68 to finish T8.
Trey Mullinax - Another of the young guns looking to make a name for himself and he's off to a great start in 2017, yet to miss a cut in four starts. He'll be challenged this week, but I think he's got the course management to raise to the challenge.
Graham McDowell - McDowell has quietly been making cuts this season (3 for 3) but yet to break into the top-10. He finished in solo 5th last year and will undoubtedly be looking for a similar result.
Sergio Garcia - Challenged by last weeks Riviera course, I think PGA National is more suited to his playing style. Finished runner up here last year, and in six appearances has never missed the cut.
And now, let's take a look at my Draftkings lineups...
My strategy continues to be, select my two favorites to win, which this week is Adam Scott and Ricky Fowler, and then build a team around them with the best bang-for-your-buck players I can get. There's a lot of good valued players in the field this week who are playing consistently this season, making cuts and are up for the challenges of the week ahead.
Adam Scott - $12,200
Brendan Steele - $8,100
Branden Grace - $7,900
Ollie Schniederjans - $7,600
Trey Mullinax - $7,000
Wesley Bryan - $6,600
Ricky Fowler - $11,900
Russell Knox - $9,000
Scott Brown - $7,400
Graham DeLaet - $7,400
Graeme McDowell - $7,300
Robert Streb - $7,000