2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Predictions: Eric Cole & More

2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Predictions: Eric Cole & More article feature image

Via Getty Images/Action Network Design. Pictured (left to right): Byeong Hun An, Ben Griffin & Eric Cole.

Find 2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches predictions for Eric Cole and four other golfers for this week's PGA Tour event at PGA National.

We didn’t have much to sweat at last week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta. The two outright bets and the three top-10 bets never really had any life on the weekend. In hindsight, Jake Knapp should have been on my radar because he fit the bomber narrative perfectly and had strong incoming form. We still haven’t had a winner shorter than 40-1 in pre-tournament odds so far this season.

We now head to Palm Beach Gardens for the start of the Florida Swing. A full field of 144 golfers is set to tee it up at PGA National (The Champion), which is routinely one of the most difficult stops on the PGA Tour.

The 10th hole was lengthened and will now play as a par-5, which means the course is now a par-71 that measures a relatively short 7,147 yards. This is your typical Florida course where water is in play on almost every hole, and there will be as many water balls here as at any other venue. The property doesn’t have many trees, which leaves it exposed to the elements. We should see a little wind over the weekend, so scoring conditions should be difficult.

Golfers see narrow fairways off the tee that are 30 yards wide on average and average-sized greens at 7,000 square feet. The average Driving Distance here in 2023 was only 280.4 yards, which is well below Tour average. You would think that would give the more accurate hitters a leg up, but a lot of longer hitters have performed well here over the years.

The traditionally firm and fast greens are tough to hit on average, especially in the wind, and it’s tough to scramble here, which highlights the importance of strong around the green play.

If you like to look at Proximity or Strokes Gained (SG): Approach by certain yardages, over 60% of approach shots are hit from 125-200 yards at this course. Golfers will see fewer wedge shots and fewer shots longer than 200 yards shots compared to most weeks. These Bermudagrass greens are fast, and the winning score is typically around 10-under.

Golfers with experience in Florida, experience on difficult courses and experience here should have an advantage this week.

Let’s find our first winner of the year, shall we?

  • Starting bankroll: $1,000
  • Last week: -$100
  • Current bankroll: $753

2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Predictions

Cognizant Classic Outright Predictions

Eric Cole to Win +2700 (bet365)

Bet $20 to pay $520

This was the start of Eric Cole’s coming out party on the PGA Tour last year. He dueled with Chris Kirk and nearly won the event in a playoff. After that, he was a top-20 machine the rest of the season and ultimately won the Rookie of the Year Award.

He tends to play his best on courses that aren’t extremely long because he’s not a great driver of the ball. While he still isn't long, his Driving Accuracy has improved from below average at 163rd last year (54.27%) to above average at 47th this season (63.42%). This has helped him produce much more consistent results over the past few months.

The rest of his game is elite, as he’s in the top 20 in this field in SG: Approach, SG: Around the Green and SG: Putting. He makes a lot of birdies but doesn’t make many bogeys.

Cole has been inching closer and closer to that first win on Tour. Perhaps it comes this week at a venue where he should enter with confidence.

Bet the 2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches at bet365 with our bet365 bonus code.

Byeong Hun An to Win +3000 (bet365)

Bet $20 to pay $580

An nearly won the Sony Open in Hawaii at the start of the year but missed a four-foot putt to extend the playoff against Grayson Murray. He seems as motivated as ever and wasn’t too happy about not getting a special invitation to the Masters like Ryo Hisatsune, Thorbjørn Olesen, and Joaquin Niemann. An has no choice but to play his way in now.

In addition to the tie for second in Hawaii, he has three other top-five finishes in his last 10 starts worldwide. An leads this field in Strokes Gained on Bermudagrass courses over the last 24 rounds and is fourth in that category over the last two years combined. He’s elite from tee to green and has really improved his putting over the last 18 months by moving to the broomstick.

Between Cole and An, I like our chances to have an outright sweat on Sunday.

Cognizant Classic Placement Bet Predictions

Christiaan Bezuidenhout Top 10 +550 (FanDuel)

Bet $20 to pay $130

C-Bez has been excellent on shorter Bermudagrass courses throughout his career. He’s played this event twice and has finished T42 and T25. Those finishes don’t jump off the page at us, but they are certainly respectable.

The South African enters playing some of his best golf so far on the PGA Tour. He’s rattled off three straight top-30 finishes, finished in a tie for second at The American Express and was in contention at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall.

The biggest difference recently has been his iron play. He has gained 12.9 strokes on approach over his last four starts. His excellent short game and ability to avoid bogeys should come in handy on a difficult course like PGA National.

Mark Hubbard Top 10 +800 (bet365)

Bet $20 to pay $180

Mark Hubbard seems to make my betting card more than most golfers, especially on tracks that don’t require distance off the tee. Much like Cole, the driver is the weakest part of Hubbard’s game. He’s one of the best on Tour when it comes to approach play, and he has an underrated short game as he ranks in the top 55 on Tour by Strokes Gained for both Putting and Around the Green.

His form has been hit-or-miss, but he does have five top-10 finishes in his last 22 starts on the PGA Tour. That’s a pretty solid clip given the fact that we are getting +800 on him at this event. He’s a perfect 4-for-4 at this event in the last four years, so the course clearly sets up well for his game.

Ben Griffin Top 20 +360 (FanDuel)

Bet $20 to pay $92

Ben Griffin was right there with Cole as the breakout star of the season last spring, but his play tailed off in the summer and the fall (outside of a tie for second at the Sanderson Farms Championship). The former accountant is looking to build on a solid 2024 start.

Much like the others on my betting card this week, his strengths are everywhere but off the tee. The Loan Shark is strong with his mid irons, excellent around the green and one of the best putters in the field. In his debut here last year, he finished T24. He also made a run at The Players Championship, so perhaps there’s something about Bermuda courses that he finds to his liking.

Good luck this week!

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