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2022 Honda Classic Preview
Damien Kayat previews the 2022 Honda Classic, outlining two Value Bets and his ‘Man To Beat’ for the tournament in South Florida.
Collin Morikawa almost backdoored the World Number One ranking last week, holing out twice on Sunday to put real pressure on Joaquin Niemann.
But the 23-year-old Chilean held his composure for a remarkably assured wire-to-wire victory. Everything about his performance screamed ‘future Major champion’.
The tour will now move to the first leg of its Florida swing.
First held in 1972 as the Inverrary Classic, this event has been sponsored by Honda since 1982. Many of golf’s greats have tasted success in this event, with Jack Nicklaus claiming both the 1977 and 1978 titles.
Strangely enough, the Golden Bear is the only man who has ever won this event in consecutive seasons.
The event had gone into the doldrums throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, with many of the top pros opting to rest with Arnie’s event and the Players on the horizon. But making PGA National the event’s permanent home in 2007 has improved the quality of the field in recent years.
Joaquin Niemann will be looking to follow up his Riviera heroics with another strong performance on a classical layout. I was slightly surprised to see him competing this week after what must have been a draining wire-to-wire victory.
2020 champion Sungjae Im won as recently as October and he has been ultra-consistent of late.
Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka also look like likely contenders this week.
Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler will likely attract significant support from the galleries.
Other international players to watch out for this week include Tommy Fleetwood and Louis Oosthuizen.
Past Winners – 2022 Honda Classic
2021: Matt Jones (-12)
2020: Sungjae Im (-6)
2019: Keith Mitchell (-9)
2018: Justin Thomas (-8) *playoff
2017: Rickie Fowler (-12)
Betting Favourites – 2022 Honda Classic
Sungjae Im – 12/1
Daniel Berger – 16/1
Brooks Koepka – 18/1
Joaquin Niemann – 18/1
Louis Oosthuizen – 18/1
Value Bets – 2022 Honda Classic
To Win – 33/1
I’m opting to side with 2019 champion Keith Mitchell.
It is little surprise that this is the sight of his lone PGA Tour victory.
He is one of the most solid ball strikers on tour and he can be deadly accurate with his irons.
Keith is also coming off a very encouraging West Coast Swing, with a consistent series of results reading 7-MC-12-10. His last outing was a T10 at the Phoenix Open.
Mitchell looks like an extremely decent pick to place this week.
To Win – 80/1
This is certainly a good, old-fashioned ‘horses for courses’ pick.
Steele seems to be something of a specialist in this event, finishing in the top 15 in five of his last six trips to PGA National.
The last two years he has finishes of T3 and T4.
Sure, there’s a cautionary note to this pick. Steele has been in shocking form in 2022, missing the cut in all four of his events.
However, he did finish in a tie for 2nd in October’s Zozo Championship.
Brendan has the ability to spring a surprise result and he looks very tempting at 22/1 to place.
The Man to Beat – 2022 Honda Classic
To Win – 16/1
Berger looks really good for a result this week.
Over the last three months on tour, Berger has ranked 9th for SG: Approach and 10th for SG: Tee-to-green. These are exactly the sort of tee-to-green stats that should denote success this week.
He also has excellent course form on this challenging layout.
The 2015 Honda Classic runner-up has two top four finishes in six starts on this course.
Daniel also has some really good form coming into this week, with two top 7’s and a top 20 in his last four starts.
The four-time PGA Tour winner is due a real title push.
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