Honda Classic First Round Leader: Bradley to burst out of the traps

American Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley can start fast in Florida again
Join today
View market

Dave Tindall looks at the opening round at PGA National and has three picks to make a fast start...

"In four of his last six Florida openers, including each of the last three, he's ended the opening 18 holes inside the top six."

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Palm Beach Gardens: Temperatures are consistent at around 66 degrees but the testing winds (15-17mph at around 10am) could just sit down a little in the afternoon although foot traffic will make the greens trickier and they could dry out too.

First-round leader history:
2019 - 64 Jhonattan Vegas
2018 - 66 Alex Noren, Webb Simpson
2017 - 64 Wesley Bryan, Cody Gribble
2016 - 65 Sergio Garcia, Michael Thompson
2015 - 65 Jim Herman

Strategy: The early starters have a slight advantage, with five of the last eight R1 leaders having a morning tee-time.

Count on Keegan

There's some tough old courses on the Florida Swing but Keegan Bradley is usually quick to face up to the challenge.

There can't be many players who have shot in the 60s in six of their last seven opening rounds in the Sunshine State but Bradley has, breaking 70 here, Innisbrook, Sawgrass and Bay Hill.

In four of his last six Florida openers, including each of the last three, he's ended the first 18 holes inside the top six.

And twice in recent times in Florida, he's landed the big FRL money by finishing as first-round leader at last year's Players Championship and the 2016 Valspar Championship.

At this venue he was T12 after Thursday's action last year and it's a course where he has a fourth and two other finishes inside the top dozen.

Just three starts ago, Bradley was the R1 pacesetter in the Farmers Insurance Open so the 85/1 about him here looks well worth taking.

Glover fits the bill

Lucas Glover made it two top-four finishes at PGA National with a strong display last year and he's cracked the top 25 here in his last three visits.

Twelve months ago he shot bookend 66s, his 4-under-par circuit on Thursday putting him second after round one.

In fact, three of his last five laps of this tough layout have been 66s so, unlike many, Glover clearly knows how to score on the Jack Nicklaus-designed par 70.

His latest results look a little samey and middle of the pack but within them there are a few low rounds and that's what we're looking for.

Back at a place where he's shown he can repeatedly tough it out, I'll happily take the course specialist at 80/1.

Schenk can start fast

Adam Schenk has appeared on a few first-round leaderboards this season and this could be another good chance to catch him.

He was sixth after 18 holes following an opening 66 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, sixth after R1 via another 66 at The American Express and second on the Thursday close-of-play leaderboard in the Genesis Invitational.

While he was slower to get going in Puerto Rico last week, he again showed an ability to go low with a Friday 65 lifting him from 67th to 10th at halfway. He eventually posted T14.

Schenk has played this event twice already and finished in the top 30 both times after quick starts.

On his debut, he opened with a 69 to sit T12 after day one while last year a 66 put him T6 at the end of the first round.

There's enough there to make the 28-year-old from Indiana a bet at 75/1.

As for tee-times, Schenk is out early at 06:55 local while Bradley heads off at 07:35 in the same three-ball as Glover. Let's hope conditions get harder as the day goes on.

Staked: £210
Returned: £112.58
P/L: -£97.42

Dave Tindall,

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles