Steve Bamford's tips for the 2010 Honda Classic:
The quest this week is simple in nature. How about a winner! That’s been easier said than done over in the West but the Honda Classic, the first stop off of the Florida swing, offers real opportunities and some decent value.
Played at PGA National and designed by Jack Nicklaus, the course is a strict Par 70. It’s tough and often tremendously wind swept although the early forecast this week is for relative tranquillity. As you’d expect from a course designed by Nicklaus, holes are varied in shape and distance but certain characteristics run throughout. Par is a decent score on any hole and hitting fairways and greens is paramount. Ball striking allied to scrambling for pars will be KEY this week.
Unsurprising tough wind-affected courses suit the better all round players. Past winners like Leonard, Harrington, Hamilton, Els & Yang are all major winners. Indeed 3 of them recorded their first PGA Tour victories at this tournament. So we are on the search for Major Winners of the future. My Tips:
Now I’d put Kim in the major winner bracket. Fact is he has the game and the temperament to capture a US based major. As we all know, 2009 was a poor season after 2 wins in 2008. That’s reflected in the price. However Kim’s game is certainly on an upward trend, it’s simply a case of eradicating some poor shots. Texas based Kim can play classical tough courses well as his record at Quail Hollow shows allied to Top 10s at Harbour Town and Riviera.
No 3 pick in this week’s Honda Classic Predictor model Campbell again is a major winner of the future. Indeed his battle with Cabrera and Perry at the Masters last year was one of the highlights of the golfing calendar. The big Texan’s game is based around a beautiful ball striking game that’s ideal for PGA National. 2nd places at Waialee (06) and Riviera (05) highlight Campbell’s affections for coastal wind affected courses. Add to that form line wins at nearby Bay Hill and at Nicklaus designed Annandale.
Romero may not be consistent but when he clicks he’s as talented as anyone. Sounds like a carbon copy of 2 time major winner Mr Cabrera! Andres has started 2010 in fine style with form of 14-5-71. Indeed the 4th was at Riviera, a course that suits Romero’s ball striking game to a tee. Already a winner on the PGA Tour (New Orleans 08) a missed cut on his only appearance at PGA National can be overlooked especially when you realise Andres has already accumulated 4 T10 major finishes in his locker. No doubt a future major winner.
Many have a real downer on the Florida based Marino. A choker, they scoff, who can’t get the job done. My view is more positive. He has all the skills in his locker to WIN big tournaments and he’ll capture his first title soon. Rates at No 7 in our Honda Classic Predictor model; a superb short game, great accuracy when firing from the rough and great current form make Marino an easy selection for me.
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14/1 is simply too big for local specialist Mackenzie. Loves Nicklaus courses and comes alive when the Tour hits his home state. 5th here in 2009.
No doubt Weekley is struggling at the moment, but he reserves his best performances for the Eastern sea-board. Boo was 28/1 to win the tournament in 2009. Hitting greens isn’t the problem it’s the flat stick, so expect a better showing at PGA National.
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 15:30GMT 2.3.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation