The Honda Classic: Making the Most of a De-Escalated Event

Honda Classic Preview and Best Bets

Last week, we were so close to nailing an outright winner. Max Homa took 2nd place and Patrick Cantlay took 3rd, which only poured salt into the wound of being without an outright winner this season. This week, the tour heads to the Sunshine state where the pros will compete in the coveted Honda classic…

This event has seen a decrease in starpower over recent years, and the fact that it did not get elevated to a mandatory event will only devalue it moving forward. Many top players including Rahm, Scheffler, McIlroy and Morikawa have opted out of this event, leaving us the likes of Adam Svensson, Christian Bezuidenhout, and the reigning champ, Sepp Straka. Although this event isn’t drawing the stars, it is still my duty to find some winners in this pool of mediocrity. So let’s dive right into the Honda Classic!

Course Fit

This course is similar to Riviera (where the Genesis Open was played last week) in the sense that driving accuracy is not a major factor. A player that is errant off the tee will not be penalized as much as they would at a course like TPC Sawgrass. If players want to see success here it will most likely be on and around the greens.

In this event last year, we can see that all top 10 finishers (other than Adam Svensson) gained strokes putting. All but three of the top ten finishers gained strokes around the green.  Short game is key here, and although we have a depleted field, there are plenty of short game gurus that we can back this weekend.

Stroke gained values from last year's Honda Classic via

Last year in this tournament, players found themselves with approach shots anywhere from 125-225 yards out 74.4% of the time. This is far above the PGA Tour average for these distances, meaning that players are not being left with 225+ approach shots very often, nor are they left with approach shots from 50-125 yards. It seems that someone with a strong mid-iron game and a great putter will succeed at PGA National. But who fits this mold the best?

Average approach distance via

The Players and the Bets

Taylor Pendrith (+3500) - This guy has cleaned up on the greens in his last 5 events, averaging just over a stroke gained putting per round. Last year he finished T25, and that was given -.26 strokes gained putting. If Taylor can keep his putter hot this weekend, he is poised to have a nice payday come Sunday!

Denny McCarthy (+2500) - Going back to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Denny has been red hot. He missed the cut at the WM Phoenix Open, but he boasted 2.94 strokes gained putting at Pebble Beach, and 1.89 strokes gained putting last week at the Genesis Open. Denny has been hot, and I could see him hoisting that trophy Sunday!

Per usual, all of my picks will be tracked on the Action Network App. Let me know on twitter if you are tailing!

Other Official Outright Picks:

Harris English (+4000)

Jhonnatan Vegas (+3300)

Billy Horschel (+2800)

DFS Lineup:

Denny McCarthy

Billy Horschel

Taylor Pendrith

Adam Schenk

Aaron Baddeley

Harris English