This week, the Tour heads to the Honda Classic. This event got the short end of the stick with the revamped scheduling in 2019. Many elite players (Rory, Tiger, etc.) are taking this week off since they want to avoid playing four weeks in a row with WGC Mexico last week and Bay Hill and The Players to follow. There are only three “stars” here this week: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler. Beyond the top three, we do have a solid mid tier of players, such as Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Gary Woodland and Webb Simpson.
The host course this week, PGA National, is one of the more challenging courses on Tour. In the 12 years that PGA National has hosted this event, the winner has never been better than -13. Even though initial forecasts call for less wind than usual, scores still won’t be super low since the greens will be firmer from the work being performed on them over the past year. This will be a grind-fest where players will need to keep the ball in play off the tee and avoid all of the hazards that surround the greens, especially through the infamous Bear Trap on holes 15-17. Let’s take a look at some players who could succeed this week:
Billy Horschel $9,300
Horschel may go a bit under the radar this week and is a very good option for large-field DraftKings tournaments. His price at $9,300 is very similar to some of the popular players this week, like Grillo, Berger and List. Horschel has finished 8th or better in two of his last three appearances at the Honda. His game fits the course perfectly as he is an elite mid-iron player who keeps the ball in play off the tee. He performs best in events where he can grind out rounds and not be part of a birdie fest. Horschel can compete with anyone when his game is on. Just last year, he finished 3rd or better in three of the four FedExCup Playoff events.
Michael Thompson $8,000
Thompson will be one of the more popular plays of the week in this price range. The 2013 champion heads into this event on the heels of four straight top-13 finishes.
Russell Knox $7,800
Knox is a bit underpriced this week. In a weaker-than-normal Honda field, it’s strange that we can get a proven winner who is in good form and has good history at this event for under $8,000. Knox has two top-3 finishes in the last five years at this event. He has finished in the top 20 in three of his last five starts.
This week is the perfect spot to use a player who is just below elite status. We have a weaker-than-normal field for the Honda, so if Thomas, Koepka or Fowler don’t win this week, there is a very good chance these players can.
Scott won this event in 2016 and has finished 14th or better in each of his last four appearances. He has shown some great form early this year by being in contention at both Torrey Pines and Riviera. There aren’t any events where Scott is a “must play”, so don’t worry about using him this early in the year.
Garcia is very similar to Scott in both performance at this course and recent form. Sergio lost to Scott in 2016 by one shot and has two other top-15 finishes in the last four years. Garcia finished 6th last week in Mexico, where he was top 5 in strokes gained approach.