2022 Honda Classic Final Round Buys & Picks: Daniel Berger Moves Closer to Win at PGA National
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Berger.
- Daniel Berger's lead is now up to five strokes as the field enters the final round of play at the Honda Classic.
- While Berger is all but a lock to win the event at PGA National, there's still some value to be found near the top of the leaderboard.
- Chris Murphy details his top buys and fades below for the final round of the Honda Classic.
The Daniel Berger show continued on Saturday at PGA National as he stretched his lead to five shots going into the final round after a 1-under 69 in the third round.
He was one of the few players at the top of the leaderboard that was able to post an under-par round, as the course played better than two shots over par on the day.
Berger's lead was actually six going into the final hole before he posted just his second bogey of the week on the Par 5 18th. He will play the final round paired with Shane Lowry who had the round of the day on Saturday with a 3-under 67. Lowry and three others, including Chris Kirk, will be the closest suitors to Berger as they all will start the final round five shots back.
It's hard to see any result on Sunday that doesn't involve Berger lifting the trophy at the Honda Classic, but we know there is trouble lurking all around the course. Let's take a look at the data through three rounds to see who stands out to make a move up the leaderboard in the final round.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
Daniel Berger will win this tournament tomorrow. I'm not going out on a limb with that, but there would be just too many things that have to go wrong for him and right for someone else to even bring this tournament into question on Sunday.
Berger has been head and shoulders above this field as he is cruising through PGA National, hardly ever breaking a sweat for pars. He is second in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green on the week, and he is gaining shots in every metric. There is simply no weakness to his game this week, and outside of posting a really big number on a hole on Sunday, there is just little opportunity for someone else to run him down.
If you are looking to bet him, it appears that FanDuel once again offers the best odds at -370, which once again implies a win probability short of that projected by DataGolf. There is about a 3% edge in the 81.2% win probability projected versus the 78% implied by the odds offered at FanDuel.
Alex Noren was my pick to win this week and my favorite bet. He really hasn't done anything to prove me wrong, but he hasn't done enough scoring to ever really contend. He is one of the few players this week that has posted par-or-better rounds across each of his first three, but it's been with just seven birdies on the entire week.
The Swede was looking to make an early move on Saturday before a missed three-foot putt on the Par 5 3rd stalled his potential fast start. His first-hole birdie ended up as his only one on the entire day, as he couldn't get any putts to drop. Noren missed just three greens in regulation in the third round as he gained 2.57 shots on the field with his irons. His even-par round still allowed him to move up five spots on the leaderboard, and he will start Sunday in T7. I wouldn't be surprised to see him finally get some putts to drop and give himself a solid chance for a top-five finish in the final round.
I'm going back to the spot I opened the week with in Billy Horschel for Sunday's final round. He continues to be sharp with his play tee to green after an ugly round on Friday nearly kept him out of the weekend altogether. Horschel posted one of the best rounds on Saturday with a 2-under 68 where he ranked the best in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He gained 4.28 shots in that metric, including 2.28 on approach.
If the former Florida Gator had brought with him any semblance of a putter this week, he would certainly be on the first page of the leaderboard. He has gained nearly two-and-a-half shots per round on this field with his ball-striking this week, but he has lost strokes putting each day. I wouldn't be surprised to see him finally put it all together on Sunday and move into a top-10 type of position before this tournament is finished.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
I've written about it a lot this week, but there is so much on the line for a bunch of players within the top 10. Many of them are names we aren't used to seeing in this position, and it is a chance for them to put themselves in other events and earn some big FedEx Cup points. They will all know it tonight and going into the day, it'll just be about who can handle this moment as some will just simply struggle.
Kurt Kitayama certainly fits in that category as a player with some pressure on him on Sunday. He is looking for his first finish inside of the top 45 of the season, and it would be a big boost to his year if he can stay near the first page of the leaderboard.
Thursday's first-round leader has held things together well since that incredible opening round, but he started to stumble a bit on Saturday. He lost 1.6 shots to the field tee to green on moving day and was only able to get in at 1-over. He still maintains position in T2, but I have concerns about the way he played in the third round and his ability to stay calm under the pressure that is in store for him during a very important Sunday round.
The pressure won't be unfamiliar for Lee Hodges on Sunday. He was in the final group last month at the AmEx before falling short to eventual champion Hudson Swafford. Still, this will be another important round for Hodges who came out of the gates firing on Saturday when he started four under thru four holes. It was an eagle hole-out from the greenside bunker on the Par 5 3rd hole that really got him going, but he would later give all four shots back at the Bear Trap.
It's the concerning finish for Hodges in the third round that has me fading him on Sunday. He was really in the hunt for a great finish before giving it away across two holes down the stretch. I'm worried about his ability to bounce back and remain in the top 20 during the final round.
A hot putter is what has Dylan Frittelli in the Top 10 going into Sunday at the Honda Classic. He has regressed across each round on approach this week, but his flat stick has kept him in the hunt for a top finish.
He gained 1.94 shots with his putter on Saturday, which masked a field average day on approach and shots lost overall with his ball-striking. I don't like the way the trends are showing for the former Texas Longhorn going into Sunday where if his putter slows, he could be tumbling down the leaderboard. I will happily target him in his matchup with Alex Noren on Sunday, as I think the numbers show a clear edge for the Swede.