2017 Honda Classic picks: Adam Scott looks to repeat in South Florida – CBSSports.com

Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Florida swing is here. The Bear Trap will receive innumerable mentions this week at PGA National as the PGA Tour starts its long, slow climb towards Augusta National in six weeks. Adam Scott, Justin Thomas and Sergio Garcia all traveled from Los Angeles last week and will play in the Honda Classic. This tournament won’t include as many stars as last week’s did, but there is still some juice to be had in South Florida.

Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.

Event information

What: Honda Classic | Where: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida | When: Feb. 23-26

Participants and odds

Field strength: C+

There is some sneakiness in this field’s strength, but it lacks the star power some of the other tournaments in the first two months. Names like Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson are all taking the week off to prepare for the WGC-Mexico Championship the first week in March.

Three stories to watch

1. Adam Scott’s repeat bid: Scott won at 9 under last year by a stroke over Garcia. It was his first win on the PGA Tour since 2014. He currently leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting per round at 1.45. This is terrifying with the way Scott hits it. You can’t fake it at PGA National, either, so going back-to-back would be as impressive as it gets at a non-major championship.

2. The 18th hole: The 18th at PGA National is not necessarily famous, but it has produced some memorable shots. Two that come to mind from the last five years are courtesy of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. They are two of the better shots I ever remember seeing.


Signature Shots: Tiger Woods eagles No. 18 at the Honda Classic by
PGA TOUR on
YouTube


Rory McIlroy hits clutch approach on 72nd hole at The Honda Classic by
PGA TOUR on
YouTube

Hopefully we get another one this time around.

3. The sleepers: The reality here is that after a west coast swing that saw stars Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson all get wins, we’re likely to get a lesser-ranked player as our champ this week. There are some interesting candidates as no golfers has single-digit odds to win. I have a sneaky suspicion that Russell Knox is going to show out in a big way.

Past winners

  • 2016: Adam Scott
  • 2015: Padraig Harrington
  • 2014: Russell Henley
  • 2013: Michael Thompson
  • 2012: Rory McIlroy

Pretty strange list. One superstar, a three-time major winner who used to be a star and two guys who have not made a ton of noise on tour. We could get anything this week.

Honda Classic picks

Winner — Sergio Garcia has three top 15s here and won in Dubai a few weeks ago. He was not great at Riviera last week, but I’m betting on that being the outlier and him rebounding to find some form as major season approaches. Odds: 16-1

Top-10 finish — Adam Scott did play great at the Genesis Open last week, and he has a nice recent history at PGA National. Before winning last year, he finished T12 two years before that. I’m betting on lack of punch in the field this week and Scott’s hot putter rolling on. Odds: 11-1

Sleeper — Rafael Cabrera-Bello has never played this event, but he seems built for tough courses like this. You could pick from any of the sleepers a little bit down the list (Oosthuizen, Knox or RCB) and feel good about your chances. Odds: 50-1

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