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This week's Unofficial PGA Tour Drinking Game centers on mentions of the fearsome Bear Trap at PGA National's 7,140-yard Champion Course. The 15th, 16th, and 17th holes make up the Trap; a fearsome 3-4-3 stretch players are happy to pass through in even par.
The Honda Classic kicks off the Tour's Florida Swing as the pros leave California and poa annua greens behind. Traditionally one of the most difficult non-major venues on the PGA Tour, the Champion Course demands precise iron play above all else and disciplined positioning off the tee.
National's greens are notoriously narrow and difficult to hold with plenty of fun (bunkers, water hazards) surrounding them. In other words, again, iron play is critical, as is the ability to get up and down when approaches go awry.
Weather shouldn't be a significant factor, but keep an eye on the predicted wind speeds as we near tee off, as the gusty stuff is worth keeping an eye on at this coastal layout.
Creme de la creme
Sergio Garcia: $10,900
Look. You fade Adam Scott at your own peril. The defending champ is playing well and checks all the boxes. He'll be massively owned. But in the spirit of taking GPP chances, we'll hope he finishes T-12, while Sergio Garcia, who is $1,300 cheaper, notches a top five. Garcia finished second at the Honda last year. He was a winner two starts ago at the Dubai Desert Classic (while he did have an off-week at the Genesis). But Garcia's pedigree as an iron flusher, particularly from distance (25th in strokes gained: approach-the-green last year), makes him a strong candidate.
Russell Knox: $9,000
Russell Knox has had a couple of weeks off since his missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Prior to that, he'd been cruising along with top-20 finishes in his six prior starts. The Scotsman has finished in the top five in two of his last three turns at PGA National. Knox was inside the top 30 in iron play from both 175 to 200 yards and 200 to 225 yards last year and ninth in greens in regulation. He's a much better bet than Louis Oosthuizen at $9,400 and Zach Johnson at $9,700.
Rafa Cabrera Bello: $8,000
A top-15 finisher in three of his last five starts, Rafa Cabrera Bello arrives at a venue where he has no course history, so he'll be overlooked by most gamers. The No. 26 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking, the Spaniard's pedigree demands a look. An adept iron player, Cabrera Bello hit nearly 70 percent of greens in regulation on the PGA Tour last year and 75 percent on the European Tour. Roster him.
Charles Howell III: $7,800
Chucky Cash Play. While we can accept CH III will never actually win again, he's a top-20 finish machine who seems to be priced at $7,800 every week who ought to be a facet of your GPP lineup as well. He missed the cut at the Honda Classic last year and hasn't tallied a top-10 finish here since 2011, so ownership should be suppressed a tad. 15th on tour in strokes gained: total this year, at $7,800 you gotta game the Chuck.
Kyle Stanley: $7,100
Stanley has made five of his last six cuts overall and three of his last five at the Honda Classic. The stats are what get you excited about this $7,100 play, however, as he's seventh in strokes gained: off-the-tee and ninth in strokes gained: approach-the-green in 2017 thus far. He's a strong candidate for a top-25 finish this week.
Seung-Yul Noh: $6,900
Top-15 finisher (out of nowhere) at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Genesis Open, Noh made the cut in two of his last three starts (even last year amid the rebuilding of his swing). Nothing overwhelms about the South Korean statistically, but he's both trending upward and hot right now. If you're looking for a hot hand at a low price, go Noh.