DANIEL BERGER (USA) 11/1 – £5EW WH 8 Places 

RUSSELL HENLEY (USA) 30/1 – £5EW WH 8 Places

BRENDAN STEELE (USA) 40/1 – £5EW WH 8 Places 

LUCAS GLOVER (USA) 100/1 – £5EW PP 8 Places 

GUIDO MIGLIOZZI (ITA) 25/1 – £5EW BOYLE 6 Places

NIKLAS LEMKE (SWE) 33/1 – £5EW WH 6 Places

LOUIS DE JAGER (RSA) 55/1 – £5EW WH 6 Places

DANIEL VAN TONDER (RSA) 40/1 – £5EW SkyBet 6

GAGANJEET BHULLAR (IND) 75/1 – £5EW BV 6 Places

The Honda Classic. Mar 18 – Mar. 21, 2021. PGA National Resort & Spa – Champion Course. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. 

Magical Kenya Open. Mar 18 – Mar 21 2021. Karen CC, Nairobi, Kenya

Originally designed by Tom and George Fazio for major tournament play, The Champion course at PGA National Resort & Spa was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 2014 and hosts the Honda Classic each spring on the PGA TOUR.  

Although The Champion has generous landing areas and spacious and accepting TifEagle greens, golfers are presented with course management challenges throughout the round. This South Florida golf resort course has five sets of tees to make the course more playable for golfers of all levels. A must-play on any avid golfer’s list,  

The Champion features the Bear Trap which spans three demanding holes designed by Jack Nicklaus. Considered one of Florida’s most notable golf challenges, on what is unquestionably one of the best golf courses in Florida, USA Today calls the bear Trap “one of the toughest stretches in golf.” Celebration Bermuda grass, redesign of the par-4 14th hole leading up to the infamous Bear Trap with the addition of more water and bunkers, and the expansion of No. 1, No. 9, No. 15 and No. 17 to their original size. 

THE LEGEND OF THE BEAR TRAP 

“The Bear Trap” on PGA National Resort & Spa’s the Champion course is an intimidating trifecta of holes – 15, 16 and 17 – known as among the most demanding 3-hole stretches on the PGA TOUR. Winners of the PGA TOUR Honda Classic and U.S. Senior PGA Championships have had to face its perils to come out with victory. How the Bear Trap is played invariably determines the winner of a tournament or even a match between PGA National’s resort guests. 

“The Bear Trap” was coined in honour of the difficulty and as a tribute to PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus. A plaque and bear statue celebrate what has come to be known as one of the ultimate challenges a golfer can face for three consecutive holes. Play the Bear Trap at your peril. The legend grows every day. 

WHAT THE PROS SAY ABOUT THE BEAR TRAP… 

“It should all be won or lost here “Jack Nicklaus. “There are no bailouts. You have to commit and hit a good shot,” 

Says Tiger Woods. 

“I don’t care if they make golf balls that go for a thousand yards. The Bear Trap will stand the test no matter what the equipment is,” 

Says Jack Nicklaus. 

“No. 17 is one of the hardest we play,” 

Says Jesper Parnevik. 

It’s not about length, it’s about precision. It’s about guts. It’s all about what do you have in your chest that you can finish those holes” 

Says Jack Nicklaus. 

“On Sunday when the pin is in the back right on No. 17, this is the hardest hole we play on TOUR,” 

Says Robert Allenby. 

“Standing on the 15th tee, even with a six-shot lead, I’m going to be nervous still. You’re got to get good shots coming in  

Says Mark Wilson, 2007 Honda Classic victor. 

“There’s a pretty good reason they call it the Bear Trap because if it doesn’t get you one way, it’s going to get you another,” 

Says Rory Sabbatini, 2011 winner 

Past Winners 

2020, Sungjae Im 

2019, Keith Mitchell  

2018, Justin Thomas  

2017, Rickie Fowler 

2016, Adam Scott 

2015, Padraig Harrington  

2014, Russell Henley 

2013, Michael Thompson  

2012, Rory McIlroy  

2011, Rory Sabbatini  

2010, Camilo Villegas 

The Magical Kenya Open is a golf tournament in Kenya and has been an event on the European-based Challenge Tour schedule since 1991, with the exception of the 1994 event. It was founded in 1967, and has been held at Muthaiga Golf Club near Nairobi every year except 1968, 2004–08, and 2013–16, when the tournament was held at Karen Country Club.

Starting in 2019, the Kenya Open will move to the European Tour and will be played at Karen CC in mid-March the week of the 2019 Players Championship on the PGA Tour.

THE KAREN GOLF COURSE

The Club is a member of the Kenya Golf Union (K.G.U) and the Kenya Ladies Golf Union (K.L.G.U) and supports golf activities through its affiliations with these unions.

First came the Nairobi Golf Club, started as a nine-hole course in 1906. It was given the Royal prefix by King George V and is now an expansive 18-hole course. Up country courses soon followed, with Nyeri leading the way in 1910.The Indian Ocean coast was also a promising golfing region, and the Mombasa Golf Club dates back to 1911.

Not far behind was the primitive Kisii course (1914) in the Western Rift Valley/Lake Victoria region, although the pick of the club names in that part is surely the enticing Nandi Bears Club, formed by tea farmers in 1928. Happily, the golf tourism industry in Kenya flourishes and visitors are treated to some enchanting golf in wonderful locations.

PAST HISTORY

The essence of Kenya in those years before World War II is captured in the novel Out of Africa by Baroness Karen von Blixen. It was on part of her former coffee estate, in the area now known as Karen, that one of Kenya’s top courses was begun in the 1930s. Karen Country Club was the product of hard work by a young banker, Remi Martin (nothing to do with the Cognac house), who was in charge of acquiring the land for the course, setting up the company to build it, and developing the real estate, which was to be particularly attractive to investors because the golf course would have grass greens—as opposed to “browns”—at that time largely unknown in Kenya. Such investment has paid off with a course that is maintained in fine condition, good enough to host annually the Kenyan Open on the European Challenge Tour.

Karen’s golf course is as pretty as a picture, its flourishing wildlife (both flora and fauna) encouraged by an active policy of nature and wetlands conservation and promotion. Everywhere there is colour and beauty. There is also considerable variety in the nature of the golfing challenges. The course retains the layout it has had for many years, and still plays to more or less the same length it did over 30 years ago. It has not needed to be lengthened inordinately to withstand the onslaught of today’s young professionals. Over the years, water features have been built throughout the course i.e. on the 12th, 14th and 18th hole.

Hole 18

Past Winners 

2019, Guido Migiozzi

2018, Lorenzo Gagli

2017, Aaron Rai

2016, Sebastian Soderberg

2015, Haydn Porteous

2014, Jake Roos

2013, Jordi Garcia Pinto

2012, Seve Benson

Our Seletions for the Week

DANIEL BERGER (USA) 11/1

Berger is Hot! Hot! Hot! Coming into this week and boy does he deserves another win for 2021? He went missed cut at the Waste Management then wins the AT&T Pebble a week later so a player in some great form.

This week he ticks all the boxes needed to win around here:

  • SG Off the Tee – .388 28TH
  • SG Approach the Green – .451 36TH
  • SG Putting – .607 21ST
  • SG Tee to Green – .725 38TH
  • SG TOTAL – 1.332 18TH

His record around here is OK he came close to winning it back in 2015, and seems to like the set up. He is a player who really seems to play the par fours well each event he plays, this is yet another positive for me as we only have two par fives on the card this week, so par four scoring will be near the top of the list come Sunday in the winner’s circle.

 

RUSSELL HENLEY (USA) 30/1

Another horses for courses fit this week is Mr Henley and for good reason. The team have pushed for him to go in this week ahead of a few others around the same price. So I trust their judgement and feel our outright winner is not that far away now and he could be it.

He holds a great tee to green game along with a total strokes gained plus of over a shot a round over most fields.

He sits first on his own for par four scoring on the PGA with an average of 3.90, this for me is the deal breaker and why he should be climbing the right way up the leader board over the weekend.

His back nine scoring is also impressive tied with solid late scoring rounds so if he is in the mix coming down the stretch this will only be good news for us.

BRENDAN STEELE (USA) 40/1

Brendan has been playing very consistent of late and has made seven straight cuts. Starting with a fourth place at the Sony at the start of 2021 he also had a good week at the American Express just outside the top twenty. We caught some of his golf at the AT&T and saw plenty to be impressed by.

He is solid off the tee and sets up a lot of good approach play, again with so many around these prices if the putter turns up we are in the money. He did actually turn the corner last week on tough fast greens he still managed to gain over a shot a round over the field, another big plus for us.

He is a strong wind player and we have heard on Friday and Sunday the winds could be reaching up to 15MPH so another box ticked.

LUCAS GLOVER (USA) 100/1

Not too sure if I have ever backed Lucas in the past. He always seems to be very much hit and miss.

The putter has been the reason for a lot of his poor results and having not won since 2011 that is a worry. Putting that aside I do like him to turn up here and put in a solid performance, he was very angry about missing the cut here last year so will be expecting him to come out all guns blazing.

He is a fan of Fazio designed courses and you can see that with regards his previous results around here, pretty good reading.

  • 2005 – 9TH
  • 2013 – 14TH
  • 2017 – 21ST
  • 2018 – 17TH
  • 2019 – 4TH

Can he win it maybe, but no reason why a top ten or a very good place finish should be on the cards?

GUIDO MIGLIOZZI (ITA) 25/1

The past champion of 2019 returns here in great spirits and ready to give another good account of himself this week.

He carded rounds of 67/68/64/69 that week beating Justin Harding by one shot and he nearly done the same last week. Saturdays round was tough for everyone last week so can forgive him shooting a 74 which to be honest was one of the better scores on the day. But that closing 65 was some of the best ball striking the team have seen for a while on Sunday.

Greens in regulation is what is needed around here and has been a key factor over the years of previous winners, on average he is over 71% GIR and sits inside the top twenty five on the European Tour these days.

The work he has been putting in during the 2019/20 season is now starting to show. I feel this could be another great week for the Italian and could go close again.

NIKLAS LEMKE (SWE) 33/1

I have to stick with Niklas again this week he was so unlucky for us last week. He had such a good run on Sunday I thought a place might be on the cards at 70/1 ok so he has dropped a bit in the market this week but still a strong bet.

Not much to add really from last week and why I picked him in a very good run of form that makes three top ten’s over the past four events.

Distance in African is always big advantage he covers this with ease, we have noticed whilst in practice he has been working a lot of his approach play from 90 – 150 yards hitting lots of balls and dialling in his numbers. This for me can only be a good thing, if there was a weakness last week it did come down to these distances, which cost him a few drop shots in rounds two and three.

Should be another solid week for the Swede.

LOUIS DE JAGER (RSA) 55/1

A must on everyone’s betting slip this week. Not too sure if there is a better equipped player for golf in Africa with his track record I cannot see him outside the top ten either this week.

I have backed him a couple of times over the years, I tipped him for the Mauritius Open 2019 where he was at 66/1 and finished in fourth place. He has always given a good account of himself when we have backed him.

His form coming is not that great but at this event it could all change his previous here has been:

  • 2015 – 19
  • 2018 – 15
  • 2019 – 2

You only have to look at the events he has won over his career to see why the team have picked him.

  • Eye of Africa PGA – Winner 2019
  • Vodacom – Sunshine Tour – Winner 2014
  • Sibaya Challenge – Winner 2018
  • Nedbank – Winner 2014

Look for him to get off to a fast start this week

DANIEL VAN TONDER (RSA) 40/1

My second South African pick for the week goes to Daniel. He has just played the Players Championship hosted by the Sunshine Tour and we had a couple of caddies at the event who said this guy was robbed of the win. Three players were tied at 263 -25 yes that is correct minus twenty five under par.  He just got beaten by Jaco Prinsloo in the play off.

He managed to win four times last year on the Sunshine Tour against some strong talented players.

Since 2014 at this event he has recorded the following results:  5TH/12TH/5TH/12TH   

The odds for me are a little too low but I cannot leave him out, based on what the caddies and some of the team said he had to go. He should be making plenty of birdies this week.

GAGANJEET BHULLAR (IND) 75/1

Talk about a player with some balls we were on that that par five on Sunday and he wanted the win for sure he was not laying up for a place finish that for sure. He had over 240yards shot into a 10mph wind for his second out of the rough and had to also work the ball from left to right 20 yards around a tree and WOW he made the left green side bunker and hits the flag with his third nearly making an eagle but a tap in birdie was well deserved.

The bookies again I think him missed the book with him this week, when he hits form it normally lasts quite a while.

Already a winner on the European Tour so if in contention should be able to get the job done if in contention coming down the back nine on Sunday. Also conditions are going to be much sillier to that of last week and he plays some of his best golf in these testing conditions.

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