The Helpful Honda Classic
By James Dalthorp III (JD3)
BEAST DOME NATION.
Go hunting this weekend with some of my top picks for the Honda Classic this week following a very informative Players Championship. If you had a chance to watch last week’s event, welcome back. We are now in the grip of the Florida Swing and it’s pretty clear who is on top of their game and who is not. Pete Dye really brings out that mirror.
I’ve played the PGA National Resort here before and it’s one of the most difficult courses I’ve ever played. It’s rare that I’ve hit non stop shots all day and still didn’t shoot par or better. 72 or 73 can be a very good score here.
It’s a different kind of tough than the last 2 weeks but still relevant – Jack Nicklaus’ best piece of challenging architecture comes alive here. The Bear trap offers plenty of water. But the par fours are true tests of patience and accuracy. IT will be more like a typical Florida layout for many of these guys – but the key will be patience. This is not a course where birdies are had. It makes the Players last week seem like a shootout in comparison.
This field is the weakest we’ve had in a while. So although I’m going after a strategic top 5, this is the week to pick guys like Rickie Fowler. Top talents tee to green won’t have to be quite as sharp around the greens as the last 2 weeks. Past champions like Boo Weekley emphasize this fact.
1. Daniel Berger –
THERE ARE ONLY 19 players in this field who made the cut in the most recent US Open and only a couple of them finished higher than Berger, none anywhere close to the top. Berger, in my opinion, is clearly the favorite of those 19 players. Berger’s been rock solid on difficult courses in his career. He finished in good shape last week a the Players Championship so we know he’s sharp. This course hosts the Bear Trap, which is Jack Nicklaus’ most difficult stretch of golf. Under pressure, you want a guy who has Berger’s experience. At this event, he’s finished 4th last year, a runner-up, and barely any blemishes on his card. This is a home game.
2. Lucas glover –
Lucas is a two time US Open champion and the type of veteran that can make a lot of noise on a course where par is a great score. There’s less birdies to be made here than last week at the Players. This is more like the Bay Hill event. He’s going to have a lot of
3. Rafa Cabrera Bello –
Typically a guy who does well on the Florida swing, Bello has the kind of iron game that suits this place to a tee. He hits a lot of smart iron shots and does well on second shot courses. He won’t need to do anything special this week – just play his game. He’s a polished, strategic player like Glover.
4. Shane Lowry –
There are a lot of players riding confidence from the Players and Lowry might have the most. He’s been struggling this year but he found his putter at the Players Championship. IF he can hit the ball well enough to contend there, he can play anywhere. Always a guy who can be dangerous with a hot putter, he’s also going to play Augusta with Lee Westwood on Monday and Tuesday. He’ll come back to his home region with good vibes from that and probably be inspired by Westwood’s influence.
5. Jamie Lovemark –
The darkest of dark horses, Jamie Lovemark is my favorite #5 pick this year so far. He’s a guy who needs a good week. He’s had some strong performances here in the past. Last year he finished T27 and had a top 10 here in 2018. For some reason, this course brings the best out of Jamie. He scrambles well here. He makes putts. He’s a Chris Como guy, so you can be sure he’s doing something unique with his swing. But he’s a very polished player when he drives the ball well. And you have to do that here.
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