The Honda Classic – Gambling/DFS Preview 2023

After an awesome week at the Genesis, the PGA Tour begins the Florida swing this week at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach for The Honda Classic with one of the worst fields we’ve seen all year.

Course Breakdown

Par 70, 7125 yards, one of the most difficult courses on the PGA Tour every year (6 of the last 10 years, its been the hardest non-major of the year), coastal track so wind could be a big factor, 28 water hazards so water is a big factor and in play on 15 holes and over 6200 balls have hit water here since 2007, only five holes on the course have not averaged over par for the history of the event (1,8,13 and the two Par 5s), 67 bunkers, harder than average fairways to hit, thick rough, very difficult greens to hit (60% vs. tour average 65.9%), average sized but fast Bermuda greens, greens are elevated and contoured and false fronts, a lot of golfers will go mostly less than driver off the tee (one of lowest driving distance averages on tour at 273 yards vs. tour average 283 yards) but bombers have a slight advantage here

Tournament Notes

  • No player since Jack in 1978 has defended his title at the Honda Classic
  • The Bear Trap (holes 15-17), which will probably decide the winner on Sunday and since 2007 the Bear Trap and holes 5-7 are tied for the fourth most difficult three hole stretches on the PGA Tour
  • 3 of the last 7 winners have a T12 finish here in one of the 2 years before winning
  • 8 of the last 12 winners here have had a finish of T13 or better in the previous year here before the win
  • 13 of the last 14 and all of the last 11 winners here had made the cut here before the win (so course history matters a bit)
  • All of the last 14 winners here had played here before they won
  • 7 of the last 7 winners here had a T16 or better on the west coast swing that season
  • 4 of the last 6 winners here have had a T10 or better on the west coast swing that season (Straka last year had a T15 and T16)
  • 10 of the last 13 winners had at least one T10 that season
  • Matt Jones, who shot a -9 in 2021 became the only first round leader to have ever won here
  • 54 hole leader won here 9 of the last 16 years
  • The golfers that best match the above trends for this year: Sungjae Im, Taylor Pendrith, Chris Kirk, Matt Kuchar, Aaron Baddeley

Key Stats

Approach, Par 4 Scoring, Bogey Avoidance

Main proximity distance range on approach: 175-200 yards (25.3%), 150-175 yards (22.8%)

Corollary Courses

  • Waialae Country Club (Sony Open) – Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, Ernie Els, Justin Thomas all won both events
  • Colonial Country Club (Charles Schwab Challenge) – lot of crossover success
  • TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS) – 11 of the last 13 winners here had a T17 or better at Sawgrass


149 golfers – easily the worst field strength of the season so far

Defending Champion: Sepp Straka (-10)

Runner Up Last Year: Shane Lowry (-9)

One and Done: Sungjae Im

One and Done Considerations: Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry


Sungjae Im: 10700: +1087 – The best golfer in the field and I keep playing him at stronger events so I’m still riding him here, fits every winning trend for this event, MC,8,1,51 finishes in the last four years here, 56,6,4,18 finishes in his last four events, 12th in Approach, 6th in SG: OTT, 73rd in Driving Distance, 16th in Good Drives Gained, 33rd in Fairways Gained, 12th in Par 4 Scoring, 8th in Par 3 Scoring, 4th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 65th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 20th in SG: ARG, 24th in Putting, 10th in Opportunities Gained, 4th in Bogey Avoidance, 9th in Sand Saves

Shane Lowry: 10400: +1600 – Second best player in the field by a large margin and first in my model, 2,36,21,49,53 finishes here, 14,MC,23,12,46 finishes in his last five events, 3rd in Approach, 32nd in SG: OTT, 46th in Driving Distance, 19th in Good Drives Gained, 50th in Fairways Gained, 35th in Par 4 Scoring, 76th in Par 3 Scoring, 32nd in Proximity 150-175 yards, 29th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 27th in SG: ARG, 93rd in Putting, 1st in Opportunities Gained, 22nd in Bogey Avoidance, 6th in Sand Saves

Thomas Detry: 9000: +3500 – 14 straight made cuts, 33,37,37,26,15,2 finishes in his last six events, first time playing this event, 41st in Approach, 64th in SG: OTT, 15th in Driving Distance, 33rd in Good Drives Gained, 74th in Fairways Gained, 1st in Par 4 Scoring, 12th in Par 3 Scoring, 141st in Proximity 150-175 yards, 60th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 73rd in SG: ARG, 11th in Putting, 14th in Opportunities Gained, 1st in Bogey Avoidance, 7th in Sand Saves

Jhonattan Vegas: 8600: +3500 – First round leader here in the past, fanastic ballstriking last week but terrible putting, 42,30,27,16,72,4,MC,12,67,70 finishes here, 56,23,25 finishes in his last 3 events, 14th in Approach, 3rd in SG: OTT, 8th in Driving Distance, 30th in Good Drives Gained, 104th in Fairways Gained, 51st in Par 4 Scoring, 90th in Par 3 Scoring, 39th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 15th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 75th in SG: ARG, 143rd in Putting, 12th in Opportunities Gained, 87th in Bogey Avoidance, 69th in Sand Saves

Ben Griffin: 7900: +5500 – Third in my model behind Sungjae and Lowry, first time playing this event, MC,31,32,12,28,16,59,3 finishes in his last eight events, 4th in Approach, 54th in SG: OTT, 23rd in Driving Distance, 27th in Good Drives Gained, 122nd in Fairways Gained, 2nd in Par 4 Scoring, 21st in Par 3 Scoring, 114th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 64th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 55th in SG: ARG, 25th in Putting, 4th in Opportunities Gained, 12th in Bogey Avoidance, 54th in Sand Saves

Lee Hodges: 7700: +5000 – Finished 18th last week at Genesis after missing last five cuts in a row, finished 9th here last year in his first time here, 8th in Approach, 17th in SG: OTT, 51st in Driving Distance, 41st in Good Drives Gained, 59th in Fairways Gained, 5th in Par 4 Scoring, 119th in Par 3 Scoring, 26th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 8th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 74th in SG: ARG, 61st in Putting, 31st in Opportunities Gained, 10th in Bogey Avoidance, 24th in Sand Saves

Hayden Buckley: 7600: +5500 – Hasn’t lost strokes off the tee since last June, MC,29 finishes his two times here, MC,28,MC,2,38,48,5,20,19 finishes in his last nine events, 35th in Approach, 1st in SG: OTT, 41st in Driving Distance, 5th in Good Drives Gained, 5th in Fairways Gained, 8th in Par 4 Scoring, 72nd in Par 3 Scoring, 79th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 18th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 105th in SG: ARG, 66th in Putting, 27th in Opportunities Gained, 31st in Bogey Avoidance, 73rd in Sand Saves

Nick Hardy: 7500: +7000 – MC here last year, MC,41,44,41,MC,21,23,44,5 finishes in his last nine events, 7th in Approach, 28th in SG: OTT, 20th in Driving Distance, 26th in Good Drives Gained, 68th in Fairways Gained, 38th in Par 4 Scoring, 6th in Par 3 Scoring, 66th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 30th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 106th in SG: ARG, 91st in Putting, 13th in Opportunities Gained, 32nd in Bogey Avoidance, 103rd in Sand Saves

Satoshi Kodaira: 6700: +18000 – Pops in my model enough to make him worth taking as a huge +18000 underdog, MC,36,MC,MC finishes the last four years here, 29,53,MC,16,36 finishes his last five events, 32nd in Approach, 24th in SG: OTT, 136th in Driving Distance, 7th in Good Drives Gained, 2nd in Fairways Gained, 55th in Par 4 Scoring, 20th in Par 3 Scoring, 14th in Proximity 150-175 yards, 1st in Proximity 175-200 yards, 118th in SG: ARG, 65th in Putting, 6th in Opportunities Gained, 16th in Bogey Avoidance, 90th in Sand Saves


Approach (20%)

SG: OTT (5%)

Driving Distance (5%)

Good Drives Gained (10%)

Fairways Gained (0%)

Par 4 Scoring (10%)

Par 3 Scoring (5%)

Proximity 150-175 yards (5%)

Proximity 175-200 yards (10%)

SG: ARG (10%)

Putting (5%)

Opportunities Gained (5%)

Bogey Avoidance (10%)

Sand Saves (0%)

Stats based on past 36 rounds

DraftKings/Betting Notes

  • For Showdown slates on DraftKings, target golfers that start on Hole 10. That is one of the hardest holes on the course so they’re more likely to get birdie+ streaks with the wrap around of 18-1, which are two of the easier holes on the course
  • I have a bigger card this week with a lot more long shots that popped in my model and the two favorites, with only two golfers in the mid range



.92u Sungjae Im (+1087)

.64u Shane Lowry (+1600)

.3u Thomas Detry (+3500)

.3u Jhonattan Vegas (+3500)

.2u Lee Hodges (+5000)

.2u Ben Griffin (+5500)

.2u Hayden Buckley (+5500)

.16u Nick Hardy (+7000)

.06u Satoshi Kodaira (+18000)

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