Kopeka and Im Among the Favorites at the 2022 Honda Classic Odds, as PGA Tour Begins Florida Swing
After some star-studded fields, the past few weeks—especially last week at Riviera when each of the world’s top-10 golfers was competing—a wide-open field begins the Florida swing of the PGA Tour’s schedule at the Honda Classic from PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens on the state’s east coast.
The event began in 1972 and has been played on the Champion Course at PGA National since 2007. Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Mark Calcavecchia, and Padraig Harrington are the only two-time winners of the event.
The tournament record is held by Justin Leonard, who shot at 24-under 264 in 2003, but that was at the Country Club at Mirasol. The lowest score at PGA National is a 13-under 267, achieved by Camilo Villegas in 2010.
The course was redesigned by Nicklaus in 2002, and the tricky three-hole stretch from holes 15-17 is called “The Bear Trap,” as a nod to Nicklaus’s nickname of the Golden Bear. The biggest challenge on all three holes is water, as water borders three-quarters of the greens on the 15th and 17th while water is in play down the entire length of the fairway on the par-4 16th. While there is no rain in the forecast, the wind is expected to be a factor throughout the tournament.
The Champion course measures 7,125 yards and is a par 70. Matt Jones shot a 61 in the first round last year and won the tournament by five strokes over Brandon Hagy.
With the world’s top golfers taking a week’s break before next weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, a golden opportunity awaits several golfers this week in Palm Beach. Sungjae Im, who won this event in 2020 and was eighth last year, is the betting favorite at +1200. In addition to his recent success on this course, he also has a win (Shriner’s Children’s Open in October) and four top-10 finishes so far this season, including a sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last month. Im has always been a statistical leader on the tour, leading in birdie total last year and currently third this year in his all-around game.
Brooks Koepka (+1600) is a name to watch. It’s been over a year since his last win, as he won the WM Phoenix Open in 2021 and finished third there two weeks ago, but he missed the cut last week at Riviera. He now returns to a course where he has had success in the past, finishing second here in 2019.
Joaquin Niemann is at +1500 along with Daniel Berger. Niemann won last week at Riviera after starting the tournament with back-to-back 63s and holding off a hard-charging Collin Morikawa to win his second-career PGA Tour title. He was sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open in his start prior to the win at the Genesis Invitational, but back-to-back wins are rare.
Berger was one of the favorites here last year before having to withdraw due to a rib injury. The four-time winner has only played in four tournaments this season with a best finish of fifth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but he was fourth here in 2020 and runner-up in 2015, so the course is a good fit for Berger.
After a run of three first-time winners in recent weeks came to an end with Niemann’s victory at Riviera, Tommy Fleetwood (+1700) has an opportunity to join the club this week. The Brit has two appearances here and was excellent both times, finishing fourth in 2018 and third in 2020.
Also at +1700 is Louis Oosthusizen. After a series of runner-up finishes in 2021, Oosthuizen has been quiet this year since recovering from an injury that kept him out of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The South African was 14th at the WM Phoenix Open and skipped Riviera, but he’s only made the cut twice here in six tries at PGA National.
Billy Horschel (+2000) is playing in his home state and has had two top-10 finishes here in recent years. Horschel was also remarkably consistent at TPC Scottsdale, firing off four rounds in the 60s to finish tied for sixth two weeks ago.
Keith Mitchell (+3000) was the winner here in 2019, still, the site of his lone PGA Tour win. But while the 30-year-old hasn’t contended for a win this season, he has posted solid results, finishing in the top 12 in four of his last five starts, and also has a third-place finish to his credit at The CJ Cup in October.
Matt Jones isn’t a huge longshot, but +3500 is decent value for a defending champion who is also coming off a 15th place finish against a strong field at Riviera last week.
Mackenzie Hughes (+4000) missed the cut at the Genesis Invitational last week but was 16th at Pebble Beach and has a runner-up and a fourth-place finish to his credit this season. He was 36th here a year ago but finished second to Im in 2020. Christian Bezuidenhout is also at +4000, and while he has just one top-10 on the PGA Tour, he’s a three-time winner on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) and excels on courses where the scores won’t be too low—and that’s likely to be the case this week with the wind.
Russell Knox (+6000) hasn’t shown it recently at PGA National, but he was runner-up here in 2014 and third in 2015. So far this year, he has a seventh at the Sony Open in Hawaii and remarkably has finished 33rd in each of the past three weeks, so his game is in a good place.
We’re not high on Niemann or Oosthuizen this week. It’s tough to bet against Im, and we also like Fleetwood, Horschel, and Mitchell. For a longshot, Bezuidenhout’s game seems in line with what golfers will face this week.
Here are the latest odds from JazzSports for the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.
|GOLFERS||ODDS TO WIN 2022 HONDA CLASSIC|
|Keith Mitchell / Brian Harman||+3000|