Rested Rose To Read Rory The Riot Act In Florida
Rory McIlroy will, as always, have his ever faithful backing him as 7/2 favourite in the Honda Classic in Florida this week; can he claim back the title he won in 2012?
This competition dates back to 1972, and has been played at various courses in Florida during that time. Since 2007 it has had a home at the PGA National Golf Course, Palm Beach, and has risen in prestige as a result. Reigning champion Russell Henley was only the third golfer from the US to win the tournament in the last decade and this year non-US players once again feature heavily at the top of the antepost betting market.
This is a tough course, with narrow fairways to negotiate, fast greens surrounded by water, and over a hundred bunkers. The trio of holes starting on the fifteenth, known as the Bear Trap are a particularly exacting test, and at this time of year, the wind is an added complication. Accuracy is essential to tame this venue, and good course form is a reliable indicator when making your selection.
In The Bunker
Not surprisingly, after a near-impeccable start to 2015, Rory McIlroy heads the antepost betting for an event he won in 2012 and came close to winning last year. I’m sure there will be plenty of punters prepared to back him at 7/2 but that’s too short a price for me in what should be a very competitive tournament.
I’m also steering clear of Dustin Johnson, after tipping him in his last two events. He’s only played this tournament twice, missing the cut in 2008 and finishing way down the field three years ago and he’s one to avoid at 16/1.
Justin Rose kicked off 2015 with two similar performances in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, putting in one poor round before recovering to finish in the top twenty in both.
He’s had three weeks off since and I fancy him to go well at a venue where he has a good record of three top five finishes in his last five visits.
At 20/1 he should definitely be on your short list.
It was a familiar story for Sergio Garcia last weekend, leading the way at the Northern Trust Open, only to blow his chances at the last two holes. But the form he showed over the first three days was encouraging after a slow start to the year, and he can bounce back at a course where he recorded a top ten last year, his best performance in this event to date. Back him at 25/1 to make up for his Riviera disappointment.
Lee Westwood opened up in 2015 with a 65 at the Dubai Desert Classic and should have followed up his top ten there in the desert with victory in Malaysia, where he finished fifth. But he can make amends at Palm Beach, where he’s made the top ten three times in his last five visits. For a player of his class in his current form, 40/1 is a decent price this week.