Who’s going to survive the Bear Trap for PGA Tour glory? Oddschecker’s Tom Jacobs has made his picks to win in Palm Beach Gardens
After finding a winner on the DP World Tour with Thorbjorn Olesen last week, I experienced no such like at the Genesis Invitational on the PGA Tour. Nonetheless, I am back with three fresh selections to face the Bear Trap at the Honda Classic this week. But first…
Also this week: Hero Indian Open betting tips
Honda Classic details
Venue: PGA National (Champion Course), Florida, USA
Date: February 23-26, 2023
Course stats: Par 70; 7,140 yards.
Course summary: A strategic test that requires accurate approach play and consistent scrambling. Water is in play on 15 holes, which can cause a headache for players when the wind blows. The large Bermuda greens are fast and heavily contoured, and this course currently ranks as the hardest venue outside of the major championships. So, who can negotiate the Bear Trap safely?
Purse: $8.4 million
Defending champion: Sepp Straka (-10)
Honda Classic TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30pm
2023 Honda Classic betting tips
Favourite: Jhonattan Vegas @ 33/1 with Bet365
Jhonattan Vegas is playing some great golf since returning from injury and he will be looking to continue that here at the Honda Classic, an event he has enjoyed before.
So far in 2023, Vegas has made two of three cuts, converting two of them into top-25 finishes at both Torrey Pines and Riviera. These are two tough tests that suggest his game is in the perfect shape to tackle PGA National.
In his career, Vegas has made 10 starts at this event, making the cut nine times and finishing 4th, 12th and 16th in that span.
There are very few, if any, in this field hitting the ball as well as he is off the tee right now and as a result, he has ranked inside the top 17 for strokes gained tee to green in three straight events. That all-around game will lead to him making a run at the title this weekend.
The Each-Way Play: SH Kim @ 66/1 with Bet365
SH Kim has enjoyed a strong rookie season so far with nine cuts made in 13 starts and a few standout finishes.
Kim started his rookie season with T36, T13 and T4 place finishes in his first three events. He cooled off a bit heading into the new year, but he seems to have picked up his form at the right time again, and he’s a player that will certainly benefit from the drop in field quality this week.
He started the year with a T12 finish at the Sony Open before missing the cut at the AMEX, but he’s now back on track with three-straight cuts, highlighted by a top-20 finish at Torrey Pines. Given he shot a final round 76 at Torrey, he had a great chance for another top-10 finish there as well, just crumbling under the pressure of a tough field on a difficult golf course.
All in all, Kim has finished inside the top 20 three times already this season and given the lack of depth in this field, he has a great chance of posting a career-best finish on the PGA Tour.
A winner already on the Korean and Japanese Tours, as well as a runner-up in Florida on the Korn Ferry Tour, Kim has the pedigree to win in an event of this class.
Another Each-Way Play: Sam Stevens @ 100/1 with Bet365
Sam Stevens is an incredibly talented player who until now had not had the opportunity to play on the big stage. He’s now here and this mini-tour legend can now turn his hand to winning at a higher level, or at least contending in a limited field.
Stevens Monday-qualified for this event last year and was handily placed after 36 holes, as he was in 12th place and in with a chance of making the all-important top 10 over the weekend.
He did fall away finishing 55th, but now he is a PGA Tour member and is used to brushing shoulders with these types of fields and better every week, Stevens should feel more confident if in the same position this time around.
After a slow start to his rookie season, Stevens seems to have settled into life on Tour, making five out of 10 cuts, three of which have come in his last three events.
A T13 finish at Torrey Pines, followed by a T34 finish at Pebble Beach suggests he can compete in this level of field and this is the one course and event he has prior experience playing in before this season, which could be huge.