Starts: 24th February 2022
Course: PGA National (Champion), Florida
Length: 7,125 yards
2021 Champion: Matt Jones
Overall Profit/Loss: -5.75pts
Pre-Event Bets: -3.75pts
1.25pt Each Way Russell Knox 55/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-8)
0.75pts Each Way Lee Westwood 80/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts Each Way Stewart Cink 110/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts Each Way Kramer Hickok 150/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts Each Way Sung Kang 250/1 @ 888sport (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts Each Way Nick Watney 300/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-8)
3.5pts Nicolai Hojgaard to MISS THE CUT 6/4 @ William Hill
0.5pts Each Way Mark Hubbard to be FIRST ROUND LEADER 100/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-6)
In-Play Bets: -2pts
25 February 2022 (-2pts)
0.5pts Each Way Jim Herman 500/1 @ Boylesports (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts Each Way Roger Sloan 250/1 @ Boylesports (1/5 1-6)
Designer: Fazio (Nicklaus re-design in 1990 & 2014)
Used Since: 2007
Rough: Bermuda (2 inch)
Greens: TifEagle Bermuda (12 stimp)
Water Hazards: On 14 holes
Par 5's: 3rd & 18th
Premium on: Approach Play
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
The forecast for the week is sunny spells with no rain.
Max 14mph winds forecast
Max 10mph winds forecast
Max 11mph winds forecast
Max 8mph winds forecast
Since the Jack Nicklaus course alterations in 2014, the winning score has been between -6 and -12.
Each of the past ten champions have played this event at least once before winning. Avoid debutants. Six of the last eight winners had recorded a top 13 finish at the Honda prior to their win.
Neither of the last three champions had recorded a top 25 in their previous two starts. However, the three winners before them all recorded a top 10 in their last start prior to Honda.
The world ranking of the past six champions has been 83-34-161-4-14-13. Keith Mitchell's win in 2019 was a definite outlier.
Five of the last ten winners have been American.
SG: Off The Tee
The last four winners have ranked 10-15-21-23.
The last six winners have ranked 23-74-12-2-7-11. In general, distance is a definite advantage.
The last six winners have ranked 27-21-89-103-24-14.
The last four winners have ranked 7-5-7-2. Accurate approach play is essential.
SG: Around The Green
The last four winners have ranked 2-9-8-29.
The last six winners ahve ranked 25-58-57-39-28-31. A hot putter isn't essential
Although The Bear Trap (15-17) is infamous, the 14th played as the toughest hole last year.
The par 5's (3rd and 18th) play as the easiest holes. The easiest hole outside of those is the short par 4 13th.
Holes 15-17, collectively known as The Bear Trap, are a tough stretch of holes. The 18th offers a birdie opportunity.
Fast or Slow Start
We've seen winners get off to fast starts and recover from slow starts at PGA National. Sungjae Im won in 2020 having been 63rd after round 1. Four of the last five winners have been in the top 20 after roud 1.
Honda Classic In-Play Blog
27 February 2022, 08:45am (UK time)
*Don't forget - Check out our final round preview show called the The Closing Stretch. You'll find it on YouTube here or search for 'The Closing Stretch' with your usual podcast provider.*
Daniel Berger has extended his lead to five shots and is now a best price of 1/4 to win the 2022 Honda Classic.
In truth, he should have been six shots ahead were it not for a sloppy bogey on the par 5 18th hole. That dropped shot will obviously give the chasing pack hope but given we have Berger as having a ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Pressure Performance Rating, it's hard to see him slipping up.
Berger is 2nd in SG: Tee to Green this week (Adam Svensson leads the way) and every part of his game looks assured. He also has experience of winning from the front, having won his first PGA Tour title (2017 FedEx St Jude Invitational) when holding a three stroke lead through 54 holes.
Of the chasing pack, the aforementioned Svensson could mount a run if he can putt a little better. His wins last year on the Korn Ferry Tour came when trailing by two and four shots so he's no stranger to a comeback.
The group at six under par all have their merits. Kitayama has won twice on the European Tour, including a win from behind in Oman in 2019. However, he's been out of contention for a while.
Chris Kirk is preferred to Sepp Straka but Kirk looked like a man who was defeated over the final few holes yesterday. A missed 7ft birdie putt on the last summed up his afternoon.
Shane Lowry is obviously the biggest danger to the leader but there's not enough in his price at 12/1 to tempt us. As outlined in his Player Profile, he's been poor of late when in contention.
The unfortunate news for challengers is that the weather forecast looks similar to the last couple of days, with the wind peaking at around 9mph.
Round 4 Bet
- No Bet
We can only see a Berger win from here with Lowry the most likely to follow him home.
26 February 2022, 10:45am (UK time)
Daniel Berger is now three clear at the top and best odds of 5/6 suggest it's a long way back for the chasers. Rewind 12 months though and it was a similar picture, Aaron Wise leading by three after two 64's before eventually finishing 13th.
Although Berger is in a different class to Wise, it's a reminder of what can happen here at the PGA National. Berger got better as the round went on yesterday but did well to make some par saves early on and ranks 2nd for putting so far.
In his favour is the calibre of the chasers, with only Chris Kirk having won on the PGA Tour that is within five shots - and that last win came in 2015.
Several of the chasers have won on the KFT recently though - Adam Svensson won as recently as last year and Chris Kirk and Mark Hubbard have both won in Florida in the last few years.
Every winner since 2010 has been in the top 10 at the halfway stage here and the furthest back a winner has come from is three shots back.
That's great news for Berger and would mean only Kirk and Kitayama have a chance based on this trend. It's probably fair to assume the guys more than five shots back have too much to do now.
We're in a strong each way position with three players inside the top 12 at odds of 60/1, 250/1 and 300/1, with Lee Westwood also on the fringes at 80/1.
The weather forecast looks similar to the last couple of days with the wind peaking at around 10mph, causing enough trouble but not complete carnage like we sometimes see here.
Round 3 Bet
- No Bet
We were tempted to back Svensson win only at 14/1 given he has enjoyed success at this course in the past and is leading the field in approach play and tee to green. We regard Daniel Berger as a strong closer though and expect him to hang tough this weekend. If you can access Boylesports, they are offering a bet boost Svensson finishes top 5 plus ties at 2/1 which is great value. You may only be allowed £20 stake as it is a bet boost though, so we have not provided as an official tip.
25 February 2022, 9:15am (UK time)
|Five Players Tied||-3|
After four missed cuts to start the year, Kurt Kitayama produced an unexpected 64 and leads by one over three players. There is then a two shot gap to the group three behind Kitayama.
Frustratingly, Daniel Berger is one of those close to the leader and the favourite by some distance now at the bookmakers, available at 7/2. We discussed Berger in-depth in our preview show for BetRivers, highlighting him as our pick of the favourites. Doubts over his injury ultimately stopped us from pulling the trigger and by the time we could see quotes of him saying he was injury free it was too late to advise.
Berger has a great record here and will have the opportunity to set the halfway clubhouse target. With so much danger lurking though, 7/2 is of little interest, indeed he almost found the water with an iron off the tee on the 16th yesterday.
Next in the betting is Georgian Chris Kirk who's last win came on the Korn Ferry Tour in Florida at the King and Bear Classic. He will also have a morning start to make some headway but seems short enough at 11/1.
Kitayama and Sabbatini are both available at 22/1 and over. Although Sabbatini is a winner here, both haven't shown much in recent times and it would be no surprise to see the fade away. Kitayama mentioned that he has been putting too much pressure on himself to play well and that is likely to be a factor for the next three days.
Brooks Koepka, Billy Horschel and Cameron Young have all got off to solid starts at two under par. Horschel in particular missed countless putts but odds of 14/1 offer little value. Young is tempting at 28/1 but again would have hoped for a little more.
Winners have come from all sorts of round one positions in the last five years - 1-63-20-3-5 - which makes it a tricky one to call at the moment.
The first few groups out today will face slightly lesser winds before picking up to 10mph for the majority of the day around 9am local time.
Round 2 Bets
- 0.5pts Each Way Roger Sloan 250/1 @ Boylesports (1/5 1-6)
Roger is one under par, five behind Kitayama. He is a player who has shown potential to get over the line in the last twelve months, 2nd at Wyndham and 6th at Barracuda last August. He has two top 30 finishes here in three starts and posted nice tee to green numbers yesterday.
- 0.5pts Each Way Jim Herman 500/1 @ Boylesports (1/5 1-6)
Jim is on level par, six shots off the lead. Tee to green, he played good golf yesterday picking up strokes off the tee and for approach but the putter let him down. He is the type who could edge himself into contention over the next few days with his solid game, a previous 7th here showing he can perform around here. Worth a small play at monster odds.