For the 2nd time in 3 weeks, the Spooky Express nails another winner in PGA with Dustin Johnson! We had a very good week as all 6 of our golfers made the cut and we nailed the winner! Johnson took over the #1 spot in the World Golf Rankings with the win and all thought we didn’t like the odds, we had to play him due to his stats, system rankings and course history.
The Riviera Country Club took on rain throughout the week heading into The Genesis Open Golf Tournament. Winds picked up on Thursday throughout the day and then the tournament officials were forced to postpone play on Friday due to hazardous conditions.
On Friday, the course itself took on several inches of rain and play got started late as bunkers had to be refurbished. If you had a golfer that played his round on Friday, you were at a drastic disadvantage as birdies were hard to come by in one of the biggest storms to hit the LA area in many years.
Overview of Honda Classic
This week the PGA pro’s will travel from the west coast to the east coast with a destination of PGA National Resort & Spa for the PGA Honda Classic. PGA National has been the host location for the Honda Classic since 2007.
The course was redesigned by the one and only Jack Nicklaus in 1990. The course is a par 70, 7140 yard golf course. This course is historically one of the toughest non-major courses the pro’s will play throughout the year. The Course is most well known for holes 15, 16 and 17, which has come to be known as The Bear Trap.
The tournament is stacked with talent as 12 of the 25 best golfers in the world will tee it up at PGA National. There are 16 golfers that call PGA National home or live within 45 minutes of the golf course.
The Honda Classic has been played at PGA National 10 years in a row and they have never had a repeat winner during that time. Previous winners consist of Adam Scott 2016, Padraig Harrington 2015, Russell Henley 2014, Michael Thompson 2013, Rory Mcilroy 2012, Rory Sabatini 2011, Camilo Villegas 2010, Y.E.Yang 2009, Ernie Els 2008 and Mark Wilson 2007.
The forecasters on weather.com are calling for a mix bag of weather at Palm Beach, Florida. They are calling for scattered showers on Thursday with temps in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and winds around 17-20 MPH. On Friday, things clear up and we are looking at a sunny day with temps in the mid 80’s. We will still deal with winds in the 15-18 MPH range. We may see some more scattered showers on Saturday and Sunday but the chance is only 30-40%. Temps on Saturday and Sunday are expected to be in the mid 80’s with winds in the 10-15 MPH range.
System Key Factors
This week, we are focusing on several key factors that we put into our system but the reality is after looking over the past few years, stat lines are all over the place. There really is no key stats that stand out for this course. Some years long strikers do well and in other, putters are the key. We are going to look at overall recent form as our highest weight factor. This will give us a better indication on who is playing well, rather than put more weight on course history.
PGA National is surrounded by water, sand and very narrow fairways so hitting the ball accurate is very important. Another key element that we found was Sand Save %. Over the past 10 years, 79% of the Top 25 each year ended up T55 or better in Sand Save %. In addition, 4 of the past 5 winners ended up T44 in Sand Save %.
The 5 categories we used in our system this week are : Sand Save %, Par 4 Scoring, Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, Greens In Reg and Bogey Avoidance.
Golfers To Target
Rickie Fowler 18/1 – Rickie Fowler is our top play of the week. Fowler ranked top 25 in all 5 categories in our system and is 1st in Sand Save % and Bogey Avoidance. He comes into the Honda Classic in good form and great course history. He has made the cut here at PGA National 5 years in a row and has 4 Top 25 finishes in that time. He played well here last year, finishing in 6th place and also has a 7th place back in 2012. He has made the cut in 13 of his last 15 tournaments played and has 5 Top 10 finishes.
Justin Thomas 15/1 – The 2 time, 2017 tournament champion played very well last year here at PGA National. He followed up a missed cut in 2015 with a 3rd place last year at the Honda Classic. He is top 10 in 4 out of 5 of our system categories including #1 in Par 4 Scoring. If he gets off to a nice start on Thursday, this could be his third win of the year!
Brendan Steele 32/1 – Brendan Steele has made the cut at the Honda Classic 6 years in a row. He is coming into this tournament making 5 straight cuts in 2017 and ranks top 23 in all 5 categories in our system. He ranks 8th in Sand Save %, 6th in Bogey Avoidance and 9th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He has yet to get a win in 2017 and he is hungry for a win!
Luke Donald 55/1- Luke Donald is Mr. Consistency at PGA National. He has played here 6 times in 10 years and has not missed the cut in that timeframe. He has a 2nd, 7th, 8th, 10th, 46th and 61st place finishes in the Honda Classic. I’m looking for another nice outing from Donald.
Jeff Overton 150/1 – Jeff Overton has only played in 1 tournament in 2017, which was on the Web.com tour. He played in the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club and finished T21. His career best stats all come from the Honda Classic and he has great history here. He has played in this tournament 9 years in a row and made the cut 7 out of the 9 times. He has ranked high at the end of the tournaments with a 6th place finish in 2011, 7th place finish in 2015, 9th place finish in 2009, 18th in 2012 and 21st in 2016.
Head to Head
- *Brendan Steele over Zach Johnson -140
- *Gary Woodland over Daniel Berger -109
- *Russell Knox over Louis Oosthuizen -118