Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the Honda Classic

Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf be...

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan'...

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the Honda Classic

Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!

We had no joy at the Genesis Invitational last week, but we go again!  This is a long term game.

So the virtual pot is at €870 from €1000 entering this week's PGA Tour tournament of focus, the Honda Classic in Florida.

The Honda Classic is played at PGA National, a tough golf course that hosted the 1987 PGA Championship. It's a par 70, requiring strong tee-to-green play. There's water to be negotiated, the bunkers are penal and it can get windy, but the forecast is set to be relatively benign this week. 

This week's event starts at 11.50am Irish time on Thursday.

Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington are in the field.

Be sure to shop around, with some bookmakers offering 1/5 the odds each way for your pick to get into the top 8 places and some are going to ten places!

Our first selection is Taylor Pendrith for €4 each way at 30/1. (1/5 the odds the first 10 places, Ladbrokes, Coral). 

Canadian Taylor Pendrith is the headline pick this week. To my mind he is one of the more gifted golfers in a weaker field compared to the elite events - he would have gained confidence from playing at the Presidents Cup and was tied seventh on his penultimate start at Pebble Beach. In his rookie season last year he collected six top 15 finishes from seven starts after returning from injury. He's a big hitter (10th in driving distance last season) and he also ranked well in greens hit last season (10th). Pendrith was tied 25th on his maiden appearance at the Honda Classic last year. I think he's more comfortable on the PGA Tour now and can contend to win his first title.

Our second selection is Denny McCarthy for €3 each way at 25/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair, Boyle Sports, SKY Bet). 

American Denny McCarthy is one of the best players on the circuit without a victory, but the stars could be aligning for that to change very soon. The former Walker Cup player is one of the best putters on tour (he led the statistics two years running), but he's now improved his long game. He stormed through the field at Pebble Beach, but was too far back - it was one of three top tens for him this season. He putts brilliantly on Bermuda greens which he will face this week and he has form at PGA National - he was tied for third two years ago, with three rounds in the 60's. He warmed up for this with a tie for 14th at the Genesis Invitational last week, so everything is set for a big challenge.

Our third selection is Christiaan Bezuidenhout for €3 each way at 45/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill, SKY Bet). 

South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout is adjusting to life on the PGA Tour - and nearly gained his first win at the John Deere Classic last year. Winning, or closing the deal is something he's not afraid of - he's gained three wins on the DP World Tour, including a victory at the Andalucia Masters at the tough Valderrama venue in Spain. Bezuidenhout had a mixed West-Coast swing in California with a tie for 11th at the American Express his best display. On his debut at the Honda Classic last year, he carded two rounds in the 60's en route to a tie for 25th. With more experience now and a magical short game, he can be right there come Sunday.

Our fourth selection is Lee Hodges for €3 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet). 

American Lee Hodges found form at the Genesis Invitational last week, right in the mix at half way before ending in a tie for 18th. He was only a rookie last season and his form was spotty, but he retained his privileges with ease, helped by a tie for ninth in this Honda Classic. What was impressive about that was that it was his first look at PGA National. Hodges is a good ball striker who just needs to enjoy more air miles in the big arena. His consistency on the Korn Ferry Tour over 2020/21 was noteworthy - nine top 10 finishes and a win. I feel he's going to make it on the PGA Tour.

Our final selection is Matthias Schwab for €2 each way at 200/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

Last year Austrian Sepp Straka held off Shane Lowry to win this event - so maybe it's a gut pick that Straka's fellow countryman Mattihas Schwab will be inspired to keep the title in Austria. Schwab was a very decent player on the European Tour - in 2019 he had ten top 10's - and another five top 10's followed in 2021. Now seeking fame and fortune in the USA, it's been an adjustment, with recent form nothing to sing about. However, there is no point in us picking a raft of 20/1 to 50/1 shots in an unpredictable sport. Schwab is a decent wedge player and a change in scenery to Florida could help him do better at a tournament in which he tied for seventh place last year.

So that's €30 wagered virtually on this week's golf.

Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!

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