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2013 Honda Classic Preview | PGA Picks

Honda Classic Betting

The Honda Classic comes our way this week – only a few short days removed from one of the coldest stops on TOUR – the Accenture Match Play.

2013 Honda Classic
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, United States
Course: PGA National Resort and Spa – Champion Course
Date: Feb 28 – Mar 3, 2013
Total Purse: US $ 5,700,000
Winner’s Share: US $ 1,026,000 (18% of total purse)
Golf Odds from Bovada

Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy ($1,026,000)

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy tee it up this week in hopes of erasing what was a forgettable Match Play – McIlroy enters as the defending champion and Woods enters as defending runner-up and the Odds favorite.

The course this week – PGA National ranked the second most difficult Par 70 last year – The Bear Trap looms as one of the more interesting holes 15, 16 and 17 on the circuit.

Let`s break down a few of the names to watch this week.

The Favorites:

Tiger Woods 7/1

Woods started this year off great – a win at the Farmers but followed that with a first round exit in the WGC-Accenture. His other start this year was a missed cut in Abu Dhabi. He did look good at times last week but ran into a buzz saw in Charles Howell III. I love Tiger but I’m having trouble backing him this week until I see some more consistent form.

Charl Schwartzel 12/1

It is hard not to love Schwartzel this week. He finished fifth here last year and prior to his forgettable first-round knockout at Dove Mountain; he hadn’t finished worse than fifth in his previous seven starts worldwide, a streak that included a pair of runaway victories. His iron play is spectacular; he has ice in his veins and should be able to tame the Bear Trap with his solid all-around game. There’s nobody hotter on the planet right now – at 12/1, Schwartzel seems like a great play.

Rory McIlroy 12/1

We really haven’t seen many good things from Rory yet this year and until he proves that he is comfortable with his new clubs, I am opting to stay away despite him entering as the defending Champ.

The Contenders:

Justin Rose 16/1

Has two straight top 5s at this event heading into this year and has a streak of 10 straight top 25s worldwide heading into the Honda. He is a Greens in Regulation machine and should contend this week.

Louis Oosthuizen 22/1

Louis hasn’t had much luck here – falling ill in the last two years he’s attended. But he is physically and mentally strong and well suited for this track.

Fredrik Jacobson 25/1

Jacobson loves this track – he’s 4-for-4 at PGA National with a T5 (2009), T6 (2010) and T16 (2012) and he has three straight top 10 finishes worldwide. He is one of the two or three hottest golfers around and could realistically break through this week.

Lee Westwood 25/1

Westy looks like great value at 25/1. Westwood has finished 4th (2012) and 9th (2010) in two of the last 3 years in this event. He didn’t look great in the Match Play but had looked OK in the leadup to last week including a T21 at Riviera two weeks ago. He loves this track and will be looking for a good performance in his NEW home town.

Graeme McDowell 33/1

McDowell was good last week losing in the quarter-finals and like Westy will be looking for a good performance in his adopted state. McDowell has finished inside the top-10 in each of his last two Honda Classic appearances, posting impressive 64s on both occasions, and the 2010 US Open winner ranked inside the top-10 on tour in Approaches from 125-150 yards last year. At 33/1 McDowell looks like terrific value this week.

Jason Day 33/1

Has three top 10s in four starts this year and finished third at the Match Play. His history here is not good (0-for-2) but he is playing some inspired golf at the moment. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Keegan Bradley 33/1

Hasn’t been great so far this year – we are all waiting for him to bust out. He finished T12 here last year and has two top 25s in stroke play tournaments this year.

The Sleepers:

Henrik Stenson 55/1

Stenson had quite a 2012 and has 10 straight top 30s worldwide – solid as they come. He finished T21 here last year and enters this edition in better form.

Ernie Els 55/1

Els at 55/1? Unbelievable. He hasn’t been terrific here since winning in 2008 – just a pair of top 25s since. But you just don’t see Els at 55/1 on a track he has won on!

Chris Kirk 66/1

Kirk has quietly put together quite a season – two top 5s already. Currently 11th on TOUR in strokes gained-putting, third in adjusted scoring, 11th in the all-around and 16th in bogey avoidance – great starts for this track.

The Pick:

I absolutely love the way that Charl Schwartzel at 12/1 has been playing as does every fan of the game. He should be fired up after losing in the first round of the Accenture match Play last week and the added time off should act to have given him a bit of rest as well.

My sleeper is Chris Kirk at 66/1. His game is perfectly suited for this course and he has been very good this year. I would take Ernie Els but that’s just too obvious!

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