- PGA National Resort & Spa (Championship Course)
- West Palm Beach, Florida
- Par 70
- 7,125 yards
- Played here since 2007
- Holes 15, 16, & 17 known as the ‘Bear Trap’ – it’s as scary as it sounds
- The toughest non-major course on Tour (a lot of water and sand)
- Bermuda greens that were just resurfaced and expanded (might be firm)
- Bermuda rough with ryegrass that can be tricky
- Typically windy: not so much this week but there could be rain
- Ball striker’s course: harder to find greens in regulation
- Cut is usually over par so you have to avoid carding too many big numbers
- SG: approaching-the-green
- SG: off-the-tee
- Bogey avoidance
- Bermuda putting
- Driving accuracy
- Course history
The field will have a cut line after two rounds again and is back up to 144 golfers with several guys being bumped for top 10 finishers from the Puerto Rico Open. There are also two sponsor exemptions and four open qualifiers. The field isn’t as strong as it has been in the last two weeks (or in previous years) as we move away from the West Coast but there are still some heavy hitters in this one including Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, and Rickie Fowler. With a lot of golfers sitting out to get ready for the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship — this will be a big week when it comes to finding deep value.
Also, it can get very windy here so check the weather right before the tournament so you can capitalize on an AM or PM stack depending on the conditions.
Big Dogs ($9,000 and up on DK)
I don’t hate JT, Rickie, Brooks, Scott, and Sergio this week but I think the playing field gets leveled a little bit with the amount of hazards on this course. So I’m probably going to fade the very top of the board in hopes of getting a balanced team that will be able to limit the blow ups and make it into the weekend. Not a complete fade though, if you are playing enough lineups it’s almost impossible not to dabble.
- Solid (Cash)
- Gary Woodland ($9,800 DK – $11,000 FD) – outside of JT these are probably the two guys that I have the most confidence in this week. Which is why I’m mostly fading everyone else above them. Woodland is 4th in SG: tee-to-approach (off-the-tee & approaching-the-green) as well as GIR this year which are probably the biggest stats this week.
- Webb Simpson ($9,600 DK – $10,600 FD) – Webb has had success in the state of Florida with a T5 here last year and a dominant performance at his 2018 Players Championship victory. He’s 3rd in SG: approaching-the-green and has been one of the best at avoiding bogeys where he ranks 5th this season.
- Risky (GPP)
- Billy Horschel ($9,300 DK – $9,900 FD) – Billy’s tee-to-green and proximity numbers are down from last year but he is still managing to average 25th place in his last five starts with 0 missed cuts in that stretch. If he can bounce back with the ball striking he will have a chance to win it all, but if he doesn’t clean up his contact he could miss the cut.
- Luke List ($9,200 DK – $10,200 FD) – List lost at the Honda Classic last year in a playoff to Justin Thomas and also has a T10 here three years ago. He’s 50/50 in his last six cuts but he’s 6th on tour right now in SG: tee-to-approach so this should be another win opportunity for Luke.
- Byeong Hun An ($9,100 DK – $9,800 FD) – in his only appearance at this course he finished with Webb Simpson at T5 last year. He’s 23rd in SG: tee-to-green and 1st in driving distance this season so he can afford to club down and increase his accuracy to avoid big numbers this week.
Value ($7,300 – $8,900 on DK)
- Solid (Cash)
- Emiliano Grillo ($8,900 DK – $10,300 FD) – I like Grillo but I don’t like how his price seems to have increased more than anyone else’s for this tournament. He’s three for three in cuts here with an 8th place finish last year. Hopefully the switch to Bermuda grass will help his putting woes.
- Lucas Glover ($8,800 DK – $9,700 FD) – Glover finished 21st and 17th his last two years at PGA National and he has good form coming into it this year. He also lines up well statistically being 2nd in GIR and 1st in bogey avoidance this season. I imagine him and Grillo will be chalky this week but if people move away from them due to ownership projections then they could end up being great GPP plays as well.
- Russell Knox ($7,800 DK – $9,700 FD) – Knox has missed his last two cuts here but before that he had a 2nd, 3rd, and 26th place finish the three previous years. If the wind picks up he will be an excellent pick and could get back to where he was on this course before the missed cuts. He also hasn’t finished worse than 43rd in his last six tournaments so this form is looking pretty solid.
- Jason Kokrak ($7,300 DK – $9,400 FD) – Kokrak is 7th this season in SG: tee-to-approach and it shows in his record so far. In his last four events he hasn’t finished worse than 37th with three inside the top 20. He hasn’t played here in three years but does have a decent amount of experience on this track.
- Michael Thompson ($8,000 DK) – I’m not crazy about Thompson $10,100 on FD but $8,000 on DK for a previous winner coming off of four consecutive tournaments with finishes of 13th or better is a pretty good deal.
- Risky (GPP)
- Scott Piercy ($8,100 DK – $10,000 FD) – Piercy is 18th or better in driving accuracy, GIR, proximity, par 4 scoring, and par 3 scoring. A guy that is accurate off the tee and accurate into the greens is exactly the type of player you should be targeting this week.
- Graeme McDowell ($7,600 DK – $9,100 FD) – McDowell fits the same kind of mold as Piercy: he’s 8th in driving accuracy and 7th in GIR. He also has a 5th place finish and 14th place finish at the Honda Classic within the last three years so this course seems to fit his eye.
- Harold Varner III ($7,300 DK – $8,600 FD) – HVIII has been all around solid this year and has especially excelled at par 4 scoring, par 3 scoring, and bogey avoidance. The only thing that scares me is that he’s missed two out of his last four cuts and in three tries at PGA National he hasn’t finished better than 57th.
- Honorable Mention (GPP)
- Joaquin Niemann ($7,600 DK – $8,800 FD) & Talor Gooch ($7,600 DK – $8,700 FD) – both of these guys are likely to either flirt with the top 10 or miss the cut completely. Joaquin has been striking it well but can’t putt… hopefully the Bermuda greens will change that (that will be the theme this week, picking bad putters in hopes of a turnaround on Bermuda). Gooch could slip back into his old self and start missing cuts galore but he’s been banking on his SG: approaching-the-green (6th) on his recent streak of success so maybe that can keep him alive and well here.
Sleepers ($7,200 and under on DK)
- Solid (Cash)
- Ryan Palmer ($7,200 DK – $9,200 FD) – Palmer might be a million strokes over par throughout his rounds at the Bear Trap (it’s not that bad — but it’s bad), I’m hoping that this stat floating around the golf world will keep people away from Ryan so I can have him at low ownership. He’s accurate with his irons and has a good track record here with a 2nd place finish in 2014 and three other finishes in the top 40 since then.
- Jim Furyk ($7,000 DK – $9,200 FD) – Furyk is really making a resurgence this year and if his distance doesn’t kill him here he should do well being one of the most accurate and consistent ball strikers on tour. He was 46th here last year but is in much better form right now so I’m envisioning an even better finish this time around.
- Nick Watney ($6,900 DK – $8,800 FD) – Watney missed his last cut but before that made seven straight. He’s also played in the Honda Classic four out of the last five years with zero missed cuts and all finishes of 41 or better. His best finish was 14th so I see him making the cut but not creeping much past 20th.
- Risky (GPP)
- Trey Mullinax ($7,100 DK – $9,100 FD) – we haven’t seen Mullinax since Pebble Beach but in that event and his two prior he hasn’t finished worse than 25th. The big knock on his game is inaccuracy off of the tee but with his length he should be able to club down and keep the ball in play.
- Stewart Cink ($6,800 DK – $9,100 FD) – Stewart Cink’s ball striking hasn’t been the same so far this season but he’s still 26th in GIR and 18th in par 4 scoring so his floor looks decent. Also, Cink’s five for five in cuts at PGA National in the last five years so that should raise his floor even more.
- Jhonattan Vegas ($6,800 DK – $8,300 FD) – Vegas has missed two of his last three cuts but sandwiched between those two misses is a 10th place finish at the Waste Management. He’s three of four in cuts made here since 2014 with a 12th and 4th place finish. Where his game is right now it wouldn’t surprise me to see him near the top 10 yet again.
- Risky (GPP)
- Jason Dufner ($7,200 DK – $8,700 FD) – Dufner hasn’t looked good since Mayakoba but has a real solid track record here… three top 20’s in his last four years without missing a cut. The biggest hole in his game is his putting right now, but like I’ve said before — Bermuda greens.
- Brendan Steele ($7,000 DK – $9,300 FD) – Steele and Dufner are not only in the same boat, they’re fighting over the captain’s seat. They’re both missing cuts left and right but a hot flat stick could turn things around in a hurry.
- Danny Lee ($6,900 DK – $8,300 FD) – Danny is 0/2 in cuts here but he’s 10th in GIR this year and 10th in par 3 scoring so if he puts his driver away and trusts his irons when he needs to, he should be able to flip the script.
- Austin Cook ($6,900 DK – $9,000 FD) – the only two times we’ve seen Cook since his 11th place finish at the RSM Classic have been missed cuts but he’s top 20 in driving accuracy and GIR so it wouldn’t be too crazy for him to turn it back on here.
- Adam Schenk ($6,900 DK – $8,000 FD) – last year at PGA National Schenk finished 29th and he’s coming off of a 16th place finish at the Puerto Rico Open. The sea might be parting for Adam at the right time.
- Keith Mitchell ($6,700 DK – $8,200 FD) – Mitchell has only one made cut in his last four events and narrowly made the one that he did. He also missed the cut in his only attempt here last year. He’s losing over a stroke on the field putting this season and is 3-putting about as much as anyone on tour. But let me fill you guys in on a little secret… Bermuda greens.