With seven of the final eight editions there received with single digits underneath par, it is PGA National relatively than TPC Sawgrass that deserves to be classed as the toughest course on the Florida Swing.
Sungjae Im carded 6-under to take victory final yr, as did Padraig Harrington in 2015.
Players Championship winner Justin Thomas received a play-off after capturing 8-under in 2018 whereas Adam Scott (2016) and Keith Mitchell (2019) each carved out slim one-shot victories with 9-under.
Scrambling has all the time been a key stat and that was borne out once more in 2020.
Im ranked fifth for Scrambling whereas three of those that completed tied fourth on the ultimate leaderboard – Byeong Hun An, Brendan Steele and Lee Westwood – had been additionally in the highest 5 in that class. Getting up and down is important.
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – whether or not it is completed from the tee, fairway or greenside – can also be a standout class. Last yr it was notably revealing as eight of the highest 10 finishers ranked in the highest eight for SG: TTG.
Which is all one other manner of claiming that that is not a placing contest. Im was solely thirty eighth for SG: Putting when successful, as coincidentally was 2019 champ Mitchell. The latter ranked 1st for SG: Tee to Green by the way.
Taking the above under consideration, my first choose goes to be Dylan Frittelli.
When the South African completed in the prime 5 at November’s Masters, there is not any manner you’d have anticipated to get 50/1 right here if being given the entry checklist.
Due to scheduling causes, that is the weakest area at The Honda Classic in a while, the highest of the market – Daniel Berger at 10/1 and Im at 12s – highlighting the actual fact.
Frittelli has fallen to 50s because of a hunch since Augusta.
Although he managed a fifth in his dwelling South African Open quickly after, up till final week’s Players Championship his PGA Tour type learn: MC-53-MC-MC-MC.
But final week he discovered one thing, capturing 68s in rounds two and 4 and ending T22 at TPC Sawgrass.
What’s extra, there was some good logic behind it. He stated after his closing 4-under lap: “I’ve been pretty terrible the last few weeks on tour, so I think this week was a really good week.
“I had my coach Chuck Cook right here and my physio Nic Catterall and so they had a great plan put collectively. Chuck actually helped me out on my lengthy sport, so again to my regular ball-striking methods now, being very constant, fairways and greens.
“And then just getting rid of some scar tissue of hitting some bad shots and just laying down some positive neurons there, seeing good shots, and that’s really helped out this week just to get rid of some of the stuff I was going through.
“My golf swing. It was out of whack. I do not know the place it went incorrect. It was actually good going into San Diego (Farmers) and three weeks later popping out of there it was simply actually unhealthy. It was good to have him (Chuck) right here this week.”
After losing a combined six strokes Tee to Green across the events at Riviera and Bay Hill, Frittelli gained 8.639 strokes at Sawgrass. He ranked 7th T2G and 17th on Approach.
In addition, he was ranked 1st for SG: Around The Green.
This is his fourth straight year at PGA National and in his first visit he posted tied 11th so there’s a spot of course form too.
A winner at the 2019 John Deere Classic and top 25 in two of his last three Florida starts, he has a good CV for a 50/1 shot in this field. With a bit of luck he can become the third South African winner of the event in the last 14 years.
I’ll pick another player at the same price with very, very similar credentials.
Like Frittelli, he was tied 22nd at TPC Sawgrass. Like Frittelli, there was a notable change in his SG: Tee to Green numbers. And, like Frittelli, he’s already a winner on the PGA Tour.
J.T. Poston also registered his victory in 2019, scoring a one-shot success at the Wyndham Championship in his native North Carolina.
He ended 2020 poorly but did show some good form when T18 at Torrey Pines and T11 in Phoenix before missing the cut by a distance at Bay Hill.
But he’s got some momentum again after a tied 22nd at The Players Championship and I like the way his scoring panned out.
Poston posted a 76 on day one and looked set to miss the cut. But he fired 9-under over the final 54 holes, the same as third-placed Bryson DeChambeau carded over his final three rounds.
In fact, Poston carved out the only bogey-free round of the day on Sunday so the 27-year-old will have left TPC Sawgrass in confident mood.
He ranked 18th in Scrambling for the week and gained 2.5 strokes on the field Tee to Green on day four, splitting 10 fairways and finding 14 greens.
As for course form at PGA National, it’s decent enough with three cuts out of three and nothing worse than T36.
He threatened to make a big challenge last year when third after day one, second at halfway and eighth with 18 holes to play but fell away in round four.
He was also 11th after 36 holes on debut so he’s played the course well.
Take the 50/1.
At the front end of the market, Berger and Im look short while I think 20/1 Lee Westwood may be running on empty after his mentally-sapping weeks at Bay Hill and Sawgrass.
Shane Lowry must go well but he’s 20/1 on the Sportsbook which makes it difficult.
I’m tempted by 2016 winner Scott at 25s given his class and record in Florida but I’ll end with a punt on fast-improving Talor Gooch at 35s.
It may not jump off the page now but perhaps it’s a price that will good in hindsight.
The Oklahoma golfer was outside the world’s top 200 in January of last year but he’s now up to 64th after a superb tied fifth at Sawgrass.
That’s significant as it puts him in with a shout of cracking the top 50 and gaining a spot in The Masters. Incentive is high.
He’s made his way up the rankings with other strong showings in the last six months such as fifth at The CJ Cup, fourth at the Houston Open and 12th in the Genesis. Two of those were against excellent fields.
Gooch also rates highly in the two categories mentioned earlier. He was 10th for SG: Tee To Green when T5 at The Players Championship and 18th for Scrambling.
He’s 9th for Scrambling on the season-long stats and an impressive 29th for SG: Total, showing all parts of his game are in healthy nick.
I also like his Florida form. As well as his top five last week, he was T13 in last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and also has a top 20 here in 2019.
One of the reasons can be found in a past Bay Hill interview. Gooch said: “It will get windy there, being an Oklahoma child I loved that. So you bought to know how you can flight your ball and keep beneath the outlet.”
Gooch can hopefully maintain the momentum flowing after his closing 67 at Sawgrass so he will get the ultimate vote.