PGA Tour: The Honda Classic
The Florida swing begins this week at PGA National. The 7,100 yards long, par 70 Jack Nicklaus designed track hosts this event for the ninth time. The course has water hazards at 16 holes, and, in typical Nicklaus style, should favour left to right hitters. Scoring last year was generally high relative to par and indications are that good all round ball strikers have an edge on this tough track especially if the rough is up. In the generally breezy conditions good wind players tend to come to the fore.
OUTRIGHT: Keegan Bradley, 0.5 pts win and place 33/1 (1/4 Odds 5 places)
Bradley has timed a return to form nicely. A top twenty finish in Phoenix 4 weeks ago was followed up last week with a top five finish in The Northern Trust event on the tough Riviera course. And it’s tough courses such as PGA National that bring the best out in Bradley as his recent form of 12T in 12, 4T in 13 and 12T in 14, the latter despite a final round of 73.
OUTRIGHT: Russell Knox, 0.5 pts win and place 100/1 (1/4 Odds 5 places)
Like Bradley, Knox has made an encouraging start to 2015 with top fifteen finishes in The Sony Open and in Phoenix. True, he did miss the cut last time out at Torrey Pines but the courses there did not suit his game. He ought to be a different proposition back in his “home” State of Florida on the tough PGA National course and, indeed, he did come close to winning here last year before losing to Russell Henley in a four way play-off.
OUTRIGHT: Boo Weekley, 0.5 pts win and place 150/1
Weekley’s excellent ball striking makes him a realistic contender this week as he has already shown by finishing tied second here in 2007 and tied twenty fifth in 2013, that despite a final round of 75. His play in recent weeks has been steady if unspectacular but he ought to improve as he returns to more familiar surroundings.
European Tour: Joburg Open
The event is played for the seventh year in succession at The Royal Johannesburg and Kensington courses. The longer East course is considerably harder than the West. One round is played on each course over the first two days, then the closing rounds revert to the East course.
OUTRIGHT: Byeong Hun An, 0.5 pts win and place 25/1 (1/4 Odds 5 places)
After the start he has made it’s hard to believe this is in his rookie season on Tour. Consecutive finishes of 12T, 5T and 13T on the Desert swing have marked him out as a player to note and he ought to have a significantly better chance of winning this week in an event with a relatively weak field. The downside is a lack of course experience but the courses are amenable to his long hitting game and he does have experience on grainy greens.
OUTRIGHT: Richard Sterne, 0.5 pts win and place 25/1 (1/4 Odds 5 places)
Sterne’s recent form has been average by his standards to say the least but, as a multiple winner here in 2008 and 2013, his course form demands attention especially as his more illustrious compatriots are either absent or off form. It looks worth taking a chance that he returns to some form on courses he clearly loves.