Tips Re-Cap 

KYOUNG-HOON LEE (KOR) 100/1 – £3 EW – PP/ BETFAIR / 8 PLACES  

BILLY HORSCHEL (USA) 28/1 – £5 EW – VARIOUS – LADBROKES GOING 30/1 

DANIEL BERGER (USA) 33/1 – £5 EW – SAME 33/1 ALL OVER  

BYEONG HUN AN (KOR) 40/1 – £5 EW – CORAL 7 PLACES  

MATTHEW NESMITH (USA) 90/1 – £5 EW – SKYBET 8 PLACES  

The Honda Classic. Feb. 27 – Mar. 1, 2020. PGA National Resort & Spa – Champion Course. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. 

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 

2019, Keith Mitchell 300/1 

2018, Justin Thomas 12/1 

2017, Rickie Fowler 16/1 

2016, Adam Scott 20/1 

2015, Padraig Harrington 400/1 

2014, Russell Henley 300/1 

2013, Michael Thompson 300/1 

2012, Rory McIlroy 9/1 

2011, Rory Sabbatini 80/1 

2010, Camilo Villegas 30/1 

Mike’s Picks

KYOUNG-HOON LEE (KOR) 100/1 

I am going to stick with Lee this week. He had a good tournament for us last week closing with an impressive 67 saw him climb up the leader board on Sunday. Saturday was the costly round for me but in this form, I feel he can still improve this week.     

What factors did the team like well his driving accuracy was around 80% which really stood out for me, and as we said last week, he needed to up his greens in regulation and he did that alright again around 80%.      

Ball striking at this place is a must and what with him hitting it as pure as last week he will have to feature I am sure of it this week. The only weaker part of his game seems to be playing Par four’s, but they are a bit more forgiving here and we should see an improvement on this part of his game too.      

BILLY HORSCHEL (USA) 25/1 

Bit of a hit and miss player for us when we have backed him in the past. I just feel this week is the right time to go with him. The price is very low but I feel he is worth it this week.    

Two top ten finish’s in his last two events. Where he has closed out well, shooting a final round 65 last week, with the team showing some interest in him. Greens in regulation was an impressive 76.39% last week, and what a ball striking display with only two other golfers better than him all week.  

He has defo found is mojo over the past couple of weeks, and is such as a feel good in the grove player.     

The putter was back in the groove as well making a shot a round average since the Waste Management.    

I am betting £5 each way here at 25/1.    

DANIEL BERGER (USA) 33/1 

For me Mr Berger has every box ticked to have a solid week here. In some great run of form as well coming in. 

  • ZOZO Champs – 17th  
  • American Express – 29th  
  • Waste Management – 9th 
  • AT & T Pebble – 5th       

Since the Sony in Hawaii back in January 2020, all aspects of his game have improved. Very solid short game, but the thing I like watching his past two outings is the flat stick. It now seems to be working for him and making a shot a round on this course could be the difference in collecting a larger cheque or not.    

Key fact from the Honda – he lost in a play–off here against Padraig Harrington 400/1 back in 2015.   

 I really do like his chances here and will be going £5 EW. Most bookies have him at 33/1 paying 8 places. 

BYEONG HUN AN (KOR) 40/1 

As a few of you will know he normally pays us well when we go with Byeong.   

This course is a beast and he just seems to turn up and play tough courses very well over and over again. If you take a look at some of his performances over the years.  He won at Wentworth on the West which is a challenge track, I like the fact he played well at the US Open last year at Pebble. This will be very similar conditions and the course looks as though the rough has been grown a lot more than last year, like a US Open type feel here. 

He has one of the best tee to green games at the moment, driving distance which you will need around here is 314 yards and he sits in seventeenth place on the PGA Tour stats.  

The putter is his curse, take last week in round one he lost over six shots on the field. But wait? In rounds two, three and four he gained strokes putting so this was what impressed the team for getting him in here this week. He never normally putts that bad and he still managed a top thirty place after that first round WOW.   

Going for the normal £5 EW here.    

MATTHEW NESMITH (USA) 90/1 

The team know Matt well, we followed him a lot on the Korn Ferry Tour. He has come a long way to be fair since turning pro in 2016. He joined the Ferry Tour in 2019 and won on his first year at the Albertsons Boise Open beating young Victor Hovland last week’s winner by one shot.     

Matt would have gained a lot of self-belief that he too should and can win his first PGA Tour title and this could be the week.  

This course should play to his strengths and I feel we could see a big odds winner this week.  

His first season on the PGA Tour, check out his results. 

  • Shriners – 18th  
  • RSM Classic – 14th  
  • American Express – 17th  
  • AT&T Pebble – 11th  
  • Puerto Rico – 6th  

I feel like he has a great chance going to stick with £5 EW. 

Tips Re-Cap 

JUSTIN HARDING (RSA) 60/1 – £5 EW – BOYLE SPORTS 8 PLACES   

TRAVIS SMYTH (AUS) 80/1 – £5 EW – SKYBET 6 PLACES   

JEFF WINTHER (DEN) 80/1 – £2.50 EW – PP/ BETFAIR 7 PLACES 

VICTOR DUBUISSON (FRA) 50/1 – £5 EW –  PP/BETFAIR 7 PLACES  

Oman Open 

Al Mouj GC, Muscat, Oman 27th Feb 1st March 2020 

Opened in 2012 designed by Greg Norman. Links style course. Par 72. 7342 Yards. 

Along a two kilometre stretch of pristine coastline, flanking the Indian Ocean and with the stunning Hajjar mountain range in the background, lies a striking oasis of lush green grass, accented with bunkers, water hazards and natural dunes.  

At 7,342 yards long, the 18 hole Championship Course at Al Mouj Golf is Oman’s first links style course offering a challenging, yet rewarding test.  

The Greg Norman “Shark” as he is affectionately known, visited the site back in 2006 and could instantly see in his mind’s eye the course that he wanted to create. After carefully studying the topography and weather conditions of the site, and using his years of experience playing top golf courses around the globe, Greg and his associates from Greg Norman Design produced an inspiring plan. The Greg Norman course offers truly unique characters with each hole offering something different from the last. He and his design team were mindful of maintaining the panorama of the ocean and the spectacular vista of the Hajjar Mountains. On a clear day you almost feel as if you can touch the mountains. 

Players Suited 

Well a mix of Links golf and good weather will be ahead of our players this week. For a lot of the field this course is still fairly new and has only been on the European Tour calendar for a couple of years. Of course looking for good Links type players this week not so much of a big hitter’s track. Good iron players who can use a number of shot shaping is a must around here this week. Strong wind players a plus too. 

Past Winners 

2019, Kurt Kitayama  

2018, Joost Luiten  

2014, Max Orrin 

2013, Roope Kakko 

Mike’s Picks

JUSTIN HARDING (RSA) 60/1   

Like the looks of Justin here this week. We tipped hm a couple of times last year and he did not disappoint.  

He knows how to win and against a much weaker field here, I would have seen him at around 30’s but not complaining. The only thing has been the putter of late letting him down but being back in Oman he will enjoy these greens, having grown up playing on very similar tracks. This could be the spark to the start of another great season, this time last year we saw him win in Qatar then have a great rookie appearance at the Masters finishing just outside the top ten. 

Going to bet £5 EW 

TRAVIS SMYTH (AUS) 80/1   

I am really amazed the bookies have missed this guy. He is trending in the right direction, you only have to look at his last few events on the European Tour. 

  • Mauritius Open – 33rd  
  • Austrailian PGA – 15th  
  • ISPS Handa – 3rd  

So that’s three events played three cuts made average position 17th, stroke average 69.50. He has also played two events on the Asia tour this year: 

  • Hong Kong Open – 13th  
  • SMBC Singapore Open – 3rd  

I think you can understand now, why I was surprised to see his odds at 80/1.  

He ticks a hell of a lot of boxes here, driving accuracy 64.88%, and greens in regulation 72.22% and sand saves 80%.     

Going for £5 EW here as well. 

JEFF WINTHER (DEN) 80/1 

Could a flick of the coin for this pick to be fair. We are going on what we saw of this guy at the Omega Dubai desert classic. The team followed him on a few holes on the Saturday where he shot one of the lowest rounds of the day 65. That week he started with a 76 and ended with a 79 but still managed to finish in 37th place.   

He is in a much better place coming back to a place he loves. Check out his previous results at this event: 

  • 2014 – 24th  
  • 2015 – 3rd  
  • 2018 – 21st  
  • 2019 – 12th  

He has been back and forth to Q school enough times so knows how to grind out results. He could be a middle of the pack runner here this week and could make a charge if he gets a sniff of the winning post.  

Smaller wager here £2.50 EW PP 7 Places. Might also look into top 20 top 30 to see what value we can get.   

VICTOR DUBUISSON (FRA) 50/1 

For those of you that have been with us for a while, we are close friends with Victor, and one of our team members used to caddie for him. So, we always have a soft spot for him when it comes to events like this.  

He is a world class player in a field which in our eyes is fairly weak. He was 12th place here last year and we know he enjoys the desert type golf courses and set up.  

We caught up with him at the Saudi International, and he said he has never been striking it better and boy was he right opening with 69/65/65 only to close with a poor 74, to slip the wrong way on the leader board to sixth place in the end.  

It is a big year for him and feel the game is just about ready to take off. 

Staying with a £5 EW bet here.           

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