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PGA Tour best bets: Honda Classic

February 22, 2022 05:13 PM
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​Joaquin Niemann became just the fourth wire-to-wire winner at the Genesis Invitational and the first on the PGA Tour since 2020, when Nick Taylor pulled it off at Pebble Beach. Niemann's even-par round of 71 on Sunday was good enough to earn his second PGA Tour victory — and a third consecutive outright win for this column at 60-1 — by two strokes over Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young. Niemann led the field for Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and was second for Strokes Gained: Around The Green. The 23-year-old Chilean and former No. 1-ranked amateur looked like he was going to run away from the field but ranked dead last among 75 players for Strokes Gained: Putting (-3.77 strokes) on Sunday. However, he gained everywhere else to finish 19-under. Niemann will be part of this week's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, at a price of 20-1.

The West Coast swing has ended and now the Florida swing begins. The Honda has a quality field but isn’t stacked with elite players, largely due to its spot in the schedule. It follows the Genesis Invitational, which featured each of the top-10 players in the world, and precedes the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship. Furthermore, some players will take this week off simply because PGA National is the most difficult non-major championship course on the PGA Tour, with an average score of + 1.38-over par. 

Sungjae Im, the 2020 Honda Classic champion, tops the market at 13-1. Daniel Berger (16-1) resides in Jupiter, about 15 minutes north of PGA National, and lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington in the 2015 Honda Classic. Brooks Koepka (20-1) is another Jupiter resident and was born in West Palm Beach, about 20 minutes south of PGA National. Koepka was runner-up here in 2019. Louis Oosthuizen (20-1) makes his second start of the season on U.S. soil, where he still seeks his first victory despite 14 worldwide wins including a major championship.

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