The PGA moves from California to its first stop on the Florida swing for the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. PGA National is a par 70 at 7,125 yards and plays as one of the more difficult courses on tour. With loads of water hazards, narrow fairways and firm Bermuda greens, it’s no easy feat to shine on the course.
I’m targeting players with course history, solid ball strikers and those experienced on Bermuda putting greens. Here are three players worth backing in the Top 40 and Top 20 market who can also win outright.
Top 40 -200
Top 20 +160
Top 10 +240
Top 5 +500
To win +2500
The Maryland native has two top-10 finishes in his past eight starts: T6 in the Bermuda Championship and T4 at Pebble Beach. These two make his Top 20 odds a great grab. That said, McCarthy is a bit of a wild card with his ball striking, losing strokes with his irons in four of his past six events.
However, he’s a strong putter, even more so on Bermuda greens — he's fourth in the field in strokes gained putting on this surface. He had three straight missed cuts here between 2018 and 2020, but he did finish T3 in 2021 and T30 last year, gaining five strokes putting both years.
I don’t typically like to back a short-game player, but given that McCarthy has gained or just barely lost with his irons in four straight events, I’ll risk a good Top 20 number.
Top 40 -160
Top 20 +160
Top 10 +275
Top 5 +600
To win +3300
Vegas is a player who has me most interested this week. His ball striking has been solid lately, gaining strokes both off the tee and with his irons since August. This year, that has led to Vegas having a T25 in the Farmers Insurance Open and a T23 in the Phoenix Open.
Vegas’ downfall has been his putting, losing strokes in four of his past five events, including seven strokes in the Genesis Invitational last week. Vegas is a losing putter on any surface, but I’m backing him because of his extensive course history (three Top 20s since 2014). He's second in the field for strokes gained off the tee and 12th in strokes gained on approach.
Vegas is one of the better ball strikers in the field, plus he has the distance (11th) to contend, so it should be a good bet as long he doesn’t completely bleed red putting.
Top 40 -120
Top 20 +265
Top 10 +400
Top 5 +900
To win +5500
The former UNC pro has been playing a mix of Korn Ferry Tour events and PGA events. Since Griffin has never played this course, his Top 40 number offers value.
It’s unfortunate that Griffin lost strokes off the tee earlier this month in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. However, before that, he had gained strokes in five straight events. Ranked sixth in the field for strokes gained on approach, Griffin has been a solid contender this year. That includes a T12 in the Sony Open in mid-January.
What makes Griffin more enticing is that he’s top 10 in the field for strokes gained putting on Bermuda greens. I’m not putting much weight into Pebble Beach. As a Pro-Am event, it can be challenging having longer rounds. What I do like is that he has experience playing in windy conditions, including a T3 in the Bermuda Championship. Griffin has been fairly consistent, and it is an easier field. For a Top 40, Griffin is my long shot to contend to win outright.