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Best bets for PGA Tour's Honda Classic

Justin Thomas shot 12 under par over the weekend and gained 11.18 strokes tee to green to win the Players Championship at 22-1 for this column last week. His ball-striking made up for some shaky putting Sunday, when Thomas lost two strokes on the greens. Thomas is not in this week’s Honda Classic field, but last week’s runner-up, Lee Westwood (20-1), has finished second two weeks in a row, and the 47-year-old veteran is ranked in the Official World Golf Ranking top 20 for the first time since 2013 at No. 19. Daniel Berger (10-1), a winner this season at Pebble Beach and T-9 last week, is the top-ranked player in this field at No. 15. He is followed in the market by last year’s Honda Classic champion, Sungjae Im (12-1). Joaquin Niemann (20-1) is trying to rediscover his form from January, when he had back-to-back runners-up in Hawaii. Adam Scott (25-1) won here in 2016, and Russell Henley (30-1) did so in 2014. Shane Lowry (30-1) finished eighth at the Players, his best finish since last summer in Memphis. The struggles of Rickie Fowler (50-1) have been well documented, and he is trying to claw back into the OWGR top 50 to qualify for the Masters. He has had success here at PGA National with a victory in 2017 and a runner-up in 2019. This has the potential to be a wide-open event considering none of the OWGR top 14 players are here because this tournament is sandwiched between the Players Championship and the WGC-Dell Match Play. 
The Event
The Honda Classic was founded in 1972 as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic and was played at the Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, Fla. Gleason’s retirement home was on the course. The star of “The Honeymooners” was tournament host through 1980. The event was played at various venues around South Florida until moving to its current home at PGA National Resort and Spa in 2007. Since then the Honda Classic has been able to attract more top players on a more consistent basis. IMG has organized the event since 2013, and the tournament’s main charitable beneficiary is the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, chaired by Jack Nicklaus’ wife Barbara. Multiple winners of the event include Nicklaus (1977, ’78), Johnny Miller (1980, ’83), Mark Calcavecchia (1987, ’98) and Padraig Harrington (2005, ’15). A host of major champions have won this event, including Rory McIlroy, Thomas, Scott, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Nick Price, Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Curtis Strange, Tom Kite, Larry Nelson and Lee Trevino.
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