Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the 2019 Honda Classic
2019 Honda Classic Fantasy Preview
When giving the customary ‘loser’s’ interview at the WGC-Mexico Championship last week, Rory McIlroy predicated on the idea that Dustin Johnson, at his best, might just be unstoppable.
‘His drives are going 380 down the middle of the fairway and he’s holing most of the putts he looks at,’ was the Irishman’s frank assessment of the DJ juggernaut. McIlroy could only watch on as the former world number one opened up a formidable lead at Chapultepec that he never looked like relinquishing.
A bogey at the third on Sunday gave McIlroy a tiny chink of light, but DJ would latterly birdie five from seven on the back nine to create an unassailable advantage; winning by five strokes from McIlroy and a ridiculous ten from the rest of the field.
Over in Puerto Rico and among rather less illustrious company, Martin Trainer bagged his first PGA TOUR title in the alternate event, taking the spoils by three shots from a group containing Daniel Berger, Roger Sloan, Johnson Wagner and Aaron Baddeley.
The California Swing is over and it’s off to Florida for a four-event schedule that starts with this week’s Honda Classic at the famed PGA National.
Justin Thomas smiles after making a birdie putt on the third hole green during the final round of the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 24, 2019… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Last Week’s Fantasy Results
Our shining star last week was JT (horse pick), who fired a 62 in the final round to post a total of 92.5 fantasy points, albeit it wasn’t enough to catch DJ (an impossible task for anyone last week).
In our Tuesday Sleeper Report, Ian Poulter was a guy we targeted to fare well in Mexico, and that he did. Poults finished 3rd and earned some quality fantasy points against his low DraftKings salary.
Dustin Johnson of the United States poses with the Gene Sarazen Cup after winning during the final round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 24,… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
The 2019 Honda Classic Field
Thomas, Fowler, Koepka, Garcia….there’s a strong feel to the field that will tee up at Tom Fazio’s notorious layout this week.
That premium group will be bolstered by the presence of former major winners in Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Zach Johnson, while European Tour regulars Alex Noren, Matt Wallace and Kiradech Aphibarnrat have decided to stay in America and try their luck in an event which has been kind to non-US players in the past.
Former champions Padraig Harrington, Russell Henley and Michael Thompson will also tee up looking to add to their trophy haul in Florida. Justin Thomas, meanwhile, will be looking to become the first man to successfully defend this title since Jack Nicklaus in 1977-78.
Rickie Fowler of the United States reacts on the first hole during the third round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 23, 2019 in Mexico City,… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
With four of the last five winning scores weighing in at single digits under par, gamers are already served notice of the kind of challenge awaiting the players this week.
PGA National is one of the toughest courses outside of the main major rota, and as a former host of the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup the difficulty level is wholly apparent.
Designed by Tom Fazio, the stretch was given an overhaul by Jack Nicklaus, and the Golden Bear must have been in particularly ferocious mood when he designed the ‘Bear Trap’: the trio of holes from 15-17 that defines the course.
Those of a nervous disposition or low on confidence will simply detest the fifteenth, a Par 3 with a postage stamp sized green flanked by water and sand. Oh, and the green is undulating and features some severe run-off areas….
The aim of the game at sixteen is to make par and run away. Featuring a doglegging fairway set at almost ninety degrees, players can go hard an attack the right-hand side of the fairway where a water hazard lurks, or instead lay-up on the left and hit a 220+ yard approach into the Par 4. What a choice….
And how about the green in seventeen: at just 30ft wide, it’s one of the smallest on the PGA TOUR. Every year roughly 25% of attempts at the hole end in bogey or worse, so any would-be champion will have their heart in their chest here.
At 7,158 yards for its Par 70, PGA National isn’t overly long but playing into the ferocious wind can add yardage.
And be warned that the switch from the West Coast to the East also brings with it a change of putting surface from Bentgrass/Poa Annua to Bermuda.
Tiger Woods plays a shot on the 17th hole during the third round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on February 24, 2018 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Palm Beach Gardens, FL
When you flick on the weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in Palm Beach Gardens, your hair might be raised somewhat.
There are thunderstorms, heavy rain and winds of a conservative 17 mph forecast, which are not what we want from the Florida Swing.
Happily, the worst of things looks set to move away by the start of play, and the event should start in calm and sunny conditions, with occasional rain showers possible.
The rest of the tournament should go without a hitch according to the early predictions, with sunny spells and temperatures of around 82 degrees.
And look at those wind speeds: 7-8 mph is unusually calm for this part of the world.
Last Year’s Results from the Honda Classic
It blew a veritable gale in this part of Florida 12 months ago, and the scores of the players reflected the difficulty of the task in hand.
At the halfway stage Luke List and Jamie Lovemark were co-leaders at jut -3, and the conditions eased only slightly from there.
That enabled both Justin Thomas and Webb Simpson to also get into the mix, and that set up a grandstand finish on Sunday.
Surprisingly it was Simpson who faded first, three bogeys in four holes on the back nine ending his hopes.
But Thomas and List stood tall, getting through the Bear Trap unscathed before both birdied the last to take matters into a playoff.
As is his trademark, JT his two phenomenal shots to set up a 40ft putt for eagle, and he knocked that close enough to apply maximum pressure to List.
He missed, Thomas didn’t and the rest, as they say, is history.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the Honda Classic this Week
There’s a lopsided field here, with lots of quality at the top with some players who shouldn’t arguably be commanding such lofty salaries somewhere in the middle. Let’s use such knowledge to our advantage with these two contests:
- PGA $500k Drive the Green: $5 on, $100k back…that’s the plan anyway! If you’re looking for the ultimate in risk-and-reward DFS for an event at a course that rewards such boldness, give this one a go.
- PGA $400k Club Twirl: Only 10,000 teams separate you from the $100k top prize here, and failing that there’s plenty of strong consolation payouts in this $44 contest.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the Honda Classic
While Rickie Fowler had his putter to thank for helping him to victory in 2017, last year Justin Thomas opted for a different route to glory.
He missed lots of fairways but ranked first in the field for Driving Distance – List was second, incidentally, and after scrambling like a trooper sank enough putts to get the job done.
It’s a strange mix when you look at the recent winners at PGA National, but one thing that Thomas, Fowler, Adam Scott and Padraig Harrington all have in common is that they are class acts and either major champions or, perhaps, a major winner in waiting in Fowler’s case.
That showcases the need to be able to grind out the win here, with birdie opportunities few and far between and often par a good score.
As for our profile of player, six of the last seven Honda Classic winners have ranked inside the top-12 for Driving Distance, and while this isn’t a bombers paradise by any means given the nature of the hazards present a Total Driving style approach has been a fruitful one here in recent times.
Ideally your players will find lots of greens – Thomas made 65% of GIR from 55% driving accuracy, and so they need to be approaching from the fairway or scrambling supremely well.
And, as ever, the switch from Bentgrass and Poa Annua or Bermuda must be noted.
As far as course correlations are concerned, take a look at Waialae, the host of the Sony Open. Justin Thomas, Russell Henley and Mark Wilson have won at both in the past 12 years or so, while the likes of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Luke Donald and Rory Sabbatini have also finished first or second at both layouts.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the Honda Classic
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2018-2019)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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