2022 Honda Classic Odds & Picks for Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Billy Horschel, More
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
Click for updated Honda Classic odds via PointsBet
|Mito Guillermo Pereira||+5000|
|Charles Howell III||+7000|
|J. J. Spaun||+15000|
|Dawie Van Der Walt||+50000|
If you like your conditions tough and your fields eclectic, I’ve got some good news: It’s officially Honda Classic week.
At just 7,125 yards, the par-70 Champion Course at PGA National doesn’t sound too daunting, but it stands as one of the tougher tests on the annual schedule.
There’s the Bear Trap, of course, featuring the devilish three-hole stretch from 15 through 17. There’s always wind, with early-week forecasts suggesting gusts of nearly 30 mph in the opening round and close to that for the remaining three. And then there’s the water, which comes into play on nearly every hole, resulting in 270 balls that found a watery grave in last year’s edition of this event (down from 339 the previous year).
Throw ‘em all together, and the result is a venue with a higher degree of difficulty than most others.
Only four times in the 15 editions of this event since moving to PGA National in 2007 has the winning score reached double-digits under-par. One of those came last year courtesy of Matt Jones, who posted a 12-under total, though no one else was better than 7-under.
Expect another stringent test this week, which should be enough to keep us entertained, even if the field leaves something to be desired. After a week in which the entirety of the world’s top-10 competed, there are exactly zero top-10 players at the Honda Classic and only five of the top 25: Louis Oosthuizen, Brooks Koepka, Joaquin Niemann, Daniel Berger and Billy Horschel.
With that in mind, there’s certainly some degree of rationale behind targeting certain players with longer odds this week. Let’s get right to the picks.
2022 Honda Classic Picks
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+5000)
With a weaker field, this feels like a good time to take a chance on an outright selection — and going with a player who owns exactly one career top-10 on the PGA TOUR certainly qualifies as taking a chance. Don’t get this fact confused, though, for a player who could be in over his head for a victory — Bezuidenhout owns three finishes of 17th or better over his last seven stateside starts, and already owns three career wins on the DP World (Euro) Tour over the past three years.
It’s not just those wins that should give us hope, but how he won ’em.
In 2019, he posted weekend scores of just 69-71 to win the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters at 10-under, six strokes better than anyone else. The next year, he posted a 14-under total to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship by four. And a few weeks after that, he won the South African Open at 18-under, five better than anyone else.
The point is that not only has Bezuidenhout buried his fellow contenders in those wins, but he’s tended to do it on a few occasions when scores weren’t too low, which will be the case again this week. He also owns some nice history in Florida, with top-20 finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational each of the past two years, and his metrics should fit PGA National as he ranks 34th in strokes gained on approach shots and 53rd in scrambling this season.
This should be a great week to sprinkle outright plays among a few of the non-favorites, and I love starting the card with potential value on Bezuidenhout, who has what it takes to win at this level.
More One-and-Done Picks
Keith Mitchell (+4000)
I’ve been singing the praises of Mitchell for a while now, as I believe one of the game’s best players off the tee has an opportunity to take his game to the next level this year.
Maybe that hasn’t quite happened yet, but he did go 7th-MC-12th-10th on the West Coast Swing, which is perennially where he plays some of his poorer golf. He’ll now return to the site of his lone previous PGA TOUR victory, as he prevailed at PGA National three years ago and certainly owns the ability to repeat. You won’t find him anywhere close to the 250-1 outright number that he carried that week, but he should be a safe OAD play with plenty of upside.
Louis Oosthuizen (+1600)
There are players who fit neatly into the same slot on your OAD sheet each year, the literal definition of a plug-and-play option for these pools. (Think Webb Simpson at the Wyndham Championship.)
Oosthuizen is not one of these players.
Oosthuizen is always a tough one for me to figure out. Do you want to use him at a major and hope for one of those recurring runner-up finishes? Do you want to play him at an inferior event, even though his win equity is so low in comparison with other big-name players? Throw in the fact that he tends to mix up his schedule each year, and he could be the world’s highest-ranked player who doesn’t wind up being used in many OADs.
His record isn’t anything special here, with a Noah’s Ark of two top-25s, two MCs and two WDs in six starts. But he’s one of the better players in the field and, well, you might not use him anywhere else.
Tommy Fleetwood (+1400)
For the life of me, I never would have thought Fleetwood would own shorter initial odds than Oosthuizen this week — let alone Daniel Berger (+1800) and Brooks Koepka (+2200) — but here we are. (At DraftKings, at least.) I certainly can’t recommend Fleetwood at this number, especially with those guys behind him on the board, but I can understand the rationale as an OAD pick, I suppose.
Fleetwood has played this event twice, finishing solo fourth in 2018 and solo third in 2020. Plus his recent results are much improved, with four top-10s and seven top-25s over his last 10 global starts, though only two of those against PGA TOUR competition. I won’t be betting him at anything close to this number, but like Oosthuizen, Fleetwood is tough to slot in OAD pools, so this seems like a sensible place to take a shot.
Brian Harman (+4500)
While his record here is beautifully mediocre – nine starts, six made cuts, two top-25s, zero top-10s – Harman’s performance level has out-gained his results over the past year, which suggests there could be some positive regression soon.
One of the best short-game artists around, if this one turns into a wedges-around-the-green contest, I like Harman’s chances to finally contend here.
Billy Horschel (+400 for top-five)
In past years, the intro to my Honda Classic preview has included advice about essentially rewiring our brains for the Florida Swing. After some results-based continuity on the West Coast, with many of the same players either climbing the board or slamming the trunk on a weekly basis, that dynamic is bound to change. While some will be dreading the move East, others will be licking their chops.
Consider the Sunshine State’s own Horschel among the latter.
He didn’t play poorly at all to start the year, with finishes of 23rd-36th-11th-6th so far, but now he’ll get into his sweet spot for a little while. It’s a bit surprising that Horschel owns just two top-10s (T-8 in 2016; T-4 in 2017) in nine career Honda starts, with four MCs, but this should be a nice spot for another title contention.
Mito Pereira (+350 for top-10)
There’s an interesting little dynamic between the game’s two best players from the nation of Chile. Joaquin Niemann is a 23-year-old grizzled veteran who has been showing the ropes a bit to Pereira, a 26-year-old rookie. I spoke with the latter about it on my PGA TOUR Radio show a few months ago and he said he’s learned and even gotten inspired by Joaco. Well, if there was ever a time for increased inspiration, it’s following Niemann’s biggest win of his career to date.
Fresh off a T-15 after a pair of MCs, this feels like a nice spot to pounce on Mito, whose ball-striking skills should suit him well on this track.
Alex Noren (+150 for top-20)
Two weeks ago, Noren looked like the top-10 player he once was, posting scores of 67-68-67-68 to finish in a share of sixth place in Phoenix. That result was sandwiched by a couple of less exciting ones – T-39 at the Farmers; T-48 at the Genesis – but a tough course under difficult conditions should fit his strengths.
Among his four Honda starts, he finished solo third here in 2018, posting three rounds of 67 or better, so he has the ability to climb the board at this venue.
Once ranked inside the top-50 on the OWGR, Frittelli (now 120th) contended at the November Masters in 2020, and again finished top-five at last year’s Open Championship. That’s all part of a high-ceiling/low-floor tendency, which he’s exhibited recently, as well.
In his past dozen starts, the South African has finished MC-22nd-MC-19th-MC-12th-19th-MC-MC-24th-MC-26th. That’s half of his results inside the top-30, and half where he’s gone home on Friday evening, but it should provide some value on him as a top-30 play this week and beyond.
Doc Redman (+190 for top-40)
It makes me so happy to once again be able to list Redman, a guy for whom I’ve had big expectations over the past couple of years. I still think he’s just sort of finding his way on the PGA TOUR, as so many players do early in their careers, and he owns a ton of potential at the right venues.
Following three consecutive made-cuts on the West Coast, he’ll return to his preferred East Coast with a little momentum. While I’m not ready to jump all-in, a conservative top-40 play should be enough to reacquaint us with his skillset, as he’ll be a guy worth keeping an eye on for the next few months.
PGA DFS Free Bingo Square
You might have noticed that I haven’t listed hometown heroes Daniel Berger or Brooks Koepka in this preview. The truth is, there are reasons to stay away from both at short numbers this week; Berger missed the cut in his lone start since dealing with a back injury while Koepka could be, let’s say, motivationally challenged against this type of field.
I don’t hate either one, though, for a top-of-the-lineup DFS play in a week when you’ll be able to afford paying up for someone.
And I can only have one of those pricey players, I’m going with Sungjae. After taking an uncommon two-week break, he finished T-33 last week at Riv. If you’re looking for a correlation, he similarly took a lengthy break after last season’s Tour Championship (three weeks), only to finish T-31 in his first start back, then win the following week.
If we’re targeting ball-striking and scrambling, there are very few who have this combo better than Im these days.
PGA DFS ‘Dog
He might not have dried off from that beer shower after his epic hole-in-one at the 16th during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open, but he hasn’t cooled off — Ryder parlayed that ace into a T-23 finish the following day and a T-26 the next week.
Now heading back to the friendly confines of his home state, Ryder returns to a course where he was T-8 last year. In a small sample size, he tends to be a momentum-type player, with his best results bunched together, so there’s reason to keep expectations high for this one.
In addition to DFS, I don’t mind sprinkling a little on Ryder outrights or props, as well.
First-Round Leader Pick
Greyson Sigg (+6500 for FRL)
Having watched Sigg win a few Korn Ferry events last year, I was excited at the prospect to start using him in a few different formats in the big leagues this season. So far, it’s been an admirable start to his rookie campaign, with eight made cuts in 11 starts, though nothing better than a T-22.
The issue, if we can even call it that, has been an inability to keep up the momentum — he owns a R1 scoring average of 68.36, which falls to 70.09 in R2, 70.13 in R3 and 70.00 in R4. That makes it fairly easy to understand where to target him right now, as his last nine Thursday scores have been 67-72-65-67-64-68-69-68-67. (And that 72 happened at Torrey South; he very well could have started on the North, where he shot 68 the next day.)
If we’re digging deeper for full-tourney plays this week, then we’re certainly not going chalky for single-round bets, so don’t be afraid to play a few bigger numbers on this FRL board.
Matchup Man vs. Comparable Players
Russell Knox (+6500)
Imagine this: You show up at Pebble Beach, play some decent golf over four rounds and finish T-33. The next week, you travel to Phoenix, play about the same and finish T-33. Then you head to Los Angeles, where you finish – you guessed it – T-33 again.
We can forgive Knox if he feels locked into some golfer’s purgatory, with nothing really great, but nothing terrible, either. Ironically, that’s sort of the opposite of his Honda record, as he kicked off his career here with results of 2nd-3rd-26th, but since that owns just a T-51 and four MCs in five starts. The Scotsman is a guy I do like whenever the wind is blowing, however, so I’ll take a chance on him in some favorable matchups this week.
More Players Who Should Provide Value
- Shane Lowry (+2200)
- Aaron Wise (+5500)
- Denny McCarthy (+5500)
- Patrick Reed (+6000)
- Gary Woodland (+6500)
- Brendan Steele (+14000)
- Hayden Buckley (+18000)
- Adam Schenk (+20000)
- Anirban Lahiri (+30000)
- Curtis Thompson (+30000)
The Big Fade
Joaquin Niemann (+1800)
As of the time I’m writing this preview, the Genesis Invitational champion is still in the field, though it should hardly come as a surprise should he decide to WD at some point prior to the opening round. If he sticks around, I’ll largely stay away.
It’s not that a player can’t parlay a victory into another strong result the following week — we just witnessed Scottie Scheffler chase his first career title with a T-7 result — but Niemann’s win was no ordinary win. He spent three nights sleeping on the lead and, quite frankly, might not have triumphed had the tourney been 74 holes instead of 72.
At some point, he’s gotta hit the wall. I don’t want my money on him when he does.
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