The PGA Tour’s Florida swing begins with the trip to Palm Beach Gardens. Steve Carroll looks at the leading contenders
Venue: PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA
Date: February 28-March 3, 2019
Course stats: Par 70, 7,140 yards
Course summary: This former Ryder Cup venue (1983) has hosted this tournament since 2007. Beware water and sand on a Champion Course that’s one of the PGA Tour’s more testing layouts. The design has been extensively renovated over the decades. It was last tweaked by Jack Nicklaus five years ago.
Purse: $6.8 million
Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-8)
Weather forecast: Scattered thunderstorms could affect the opening two days with showers and cloud threatening to dampen the expectations of those hoping for some February sun.
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event (featured groups), 3pm; Sky Sports Golf, 7pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event (featured groups), 3pm; Sky Sports Golf, 7pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 6pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 6pm; Sky Sports Main Event, 7pm
Honda Classic betting tips: each-way selections
Billy Horschel is a Florida native and loves playing in the Sunshine state. While the 2014 FedEx Cup winner’s form can be up and down, he’s played pretty consistently when he’s been at this tournament.
Eighth at PGA National last year, he was fourth in 2017 and eighth the previous year.
Horschel comes off a mediocre week in Mexico, when he was tied 45th, but it was a poor second round that really blunted his progress.
He started quite nicely with 68 and, with a top 10 at the Farmers Insurance Open, he does at least have some recent form to look back upon. 40/1 is good enough for me.
I never quite know what I’m going to get with Kiradech Aphibarnrat (66/1). He’s as likely to miss the cut as finish top 10 but he put together an impressive four days at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
He bagged an awful lot of cash after holing a decent putt at the last to finish tied 3rd. While a missed cut here on debut last year might raise an eyebrow, the Thai can turn it on at any time.
So that’s who Steve thinks could defy their odds. But who is in the frame to walk off with first prize? Turn the page to find out?