The PGA Tour resumes this week with the Honda Classic at the Champion Course at PGA National Resort. The event is sandwiched between the two WGC events and always attracts a top class field. This year is no different with Tiger Woods just heading Rory McIlroy at the top of the betting. Woods is a very skinny looking 7/1 this week with Paddy Power, whilst McIlroy, winner of this tournament twelve months ago is 11/1 with the Irish firm. Both players crashed out at the first round stage of the WGC Accenture Matchplay last week to Charles Howell III and Shane Lowry respectively and at those prices quoted we're happy to give them a swerve in Florida starting Thursday.
The Golf Course is made famous for a stretch of holes names 'The Bear Trap'. The 15th, 16th and 17th holes are fraught with danger and dependant on the wind they can make or break someone's tournament. McIlroy played the holes in three under par last year, without carding a bogey which essentially sealed the win for the Northern Irishman over Tiger Woods in second.
A couple of players really jump off the page this week, with Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell both looking like solid each-way chances in the betting. South African Schwartzel has been hanging around the top of leaderboards throughout 2013 so far and you feel as if he's a couple of really good rounds with the putter away from getting a win. Schwartzel hadn't finished lower than tied fifth in his last seven starts before last week's early exit in the World Match Play. He won in his native South Africa before Christmas in emphatic fashion and he was tied third on his last start on the PGA Tour proper in the Northern Trust Open a fortnight ago. He's yet to add to his maiden PGA Tour victory in the 2011 Masters but resevres some of his best golf for Florida where he was tied for fifth here last season and can go close again this week at odds of 12/1 with Paddy Power.
Graeme McDowell also just has the one win on the PGA Tour and like Schwartzel that too was a major victory, in the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach. That win and his upbringing in Northern Ireland tells us he can grind out tough rounds in the wind and he has two consecutive top ten finishes here at PGA National. He's shot a couple of 64's here in those two tournaments and a repeat this week would have to put him there or thereabouts. His game looks in good nick having reached the quarter finals last week in Arizona and he's another who you can back each-way for some interest this week at odds of 28/1 in the betting with Paddy Power.
Elsewhere, the likes of Justin Rose and Lee Westwood go well here and have chances at 14/1 and 25/1 respectively. Rose was tied for fifth here twelve months ago before going on to win the WGC Cadillac at Doral a week later and also has a third place finish in 2010. Westwood was fourth here last season and also carded a top ten finish in 2010 and both are sure to be popular in the betting.
Another player at 28/1 this week is the Swede Fredrik Jacobsen who looks to have solid each-way claims. Jacobsen has two top ten finishes to his name here, in 2010 (T6) and 2009 (T5) and arrives off the back of a decent performance in Arizona reaching the third round. That was his third consecutive top ten and he finished tied for third on his last strokeplay start at the Northern Trust Open. A lot will depend on his putter but he's another we'd want on our side this week as he goes in search of his second PGA Tour win.
For our final two tips we've picked out a couple of players who aren't having a great time of it at the moment but have some solid historic form on this course. Jerry Kelly is available to back at 125/1 this week, the veteran American two top ten finishes here in the last three years. Kelly has made three of the five cuts he's played in this season without really troubling the scorers, hence his big price this week. However, course form is always an important factor and he can be backed at 100/1 with Betfred in the first round leader market as a saver or at 10/1 with Bet365 for a top ten finish.
You can apply a similar strategy for Australian Robert Allenby who boasts three top ten finishes in the last six year. The Aussie is devoid of any current form hence his price of 200/1 this week but at a pound each-way with Paddy Power paying six places this week there are worst bets.
You have to go back to 2007 for the last American winner of this tournament Mark Wilson and he is the only American to have won here in the last eight renewals.
Honda Classic Tips
Tip #1: Charl Schwartzel each-way @ odds of 14/1 with Paddy Power.
Tip #2: Graeme McDowell each-way @ odds of 28/1 with Paddy Power.
Tip #3: Fredrik Jacobsen each-way @ odds of 28/1 with Paddy Power.
Tip #4: Jerry Kelly each-way @ odds of 125/1 with Paddy Power.
Tip #5: Robert Allenby each-way @ odds of 200/1 with Paddy Power.
7/1 Tiger Woods
11/1 Rory McIlroy
12/1 Charl Schwartzel
14/1 Justin Rose
25/1 Louis Oosthuizen
25/1 Lee Westwood
28/1 Graeme McDowell
28/1 Fredrik Jacobsen
28/1 Jason Dufner
30/1 Dustin Johnson
33/1 Martin Kaymer
33/1 Keegan Bradley
33/1 Jason Day
33/1 Rickie Fowler
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, offering live betting in-running throughout the tournament.
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