Honda Classic: Pick Piercy for fast Florida start

American Scott Piercy
In-form Scott Piercy can hit the front early

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

"Looking at his round scores this season, we see a 62, four 65s and four 66s so he's been delivering the low laps required for a punt on this market."

Back Scott Piercy each-way @ 60/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 7 places

Weather forecast for Palm Beach Gardens: No surprise to see sun and temperatures in the high 70s, touching a peak of 81 degrees at 2pm. But the significant weather news on a course where it can really gusty is that wind speeds are at a very modest 5-6mph all day.

First-round leader history:
2018 - 66 Alex Noren, Webb Simpson
2017 - 64 Wesley Bryan, Cody Gribble
2016 - 65 Sergio Garcia, Michael Thompson
2015 - 65 Jim Herman
2014 - 64 Rory McIlroy

Strategy: Eight players have had a piece of the first-round lead over the first five years and it's a 4/4 split between early and late starters. With wind speeds constant, the weather doesn't make us lean one way or the other either. It's possibly slightly cooler for the very early tee-times but, overall, it's fair to say we pick who we like regardless of start time.

Piercy worth a bet for quick start

Scott Piercy has made an excellent start to the 2018/2019 campaign with a series of strong performances either side of the Festive break.

He reeled off three straight top 10s at the back end of 2018 and has picked up the pace again in 2019 with T20 in Phoenix and T10 at Pebble Beach last time.

Looking at his round scores, we see a 62, four 65s and four 66s so he's been delivering the low laps required for a punt on this market.

One of the 65s put him third after round one at the CIMB Classic while he was in the top four following the opening 18 at the CJ Cup.

More recently, Piercy threw in a 66 to be T6 after the first day at TPC Scottsdale.

Now the American comes to a course where he posted T5 on debut and has twice been in the top 10 after day one.

Piercy, who was a R1 leader in Florida at the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship, is 60/1 to set the pace again from his p.m. (12:25) start.

Familiar Patton could unfold

Patton Kizzire started the calender year with T8 and T13 in the two Hawaii events and added a solid T26 in last week's WGC-Mexico Championship.

Patton Kizzire (720).JPG

He's playing this event for the fourth time and showed he could go low at PGA National with a second-round 64 on debut in 2016.

What stands out when looking through his recent numbers is how often he's in a good position after the first day.

In six of his last nine starts he's been T17 or better and on three of those occasions he was in the top seven at close of play on Thursday (seven each-way places on offer this week).

Kizzire fired a R1 62 when winning the OHL Classic in Mexico in late 2017 and shot a middle pair of 64s when capturing the Sony Open at the start of 2018 so when he's on the birdies flow.

Take the 75/1 on the afternoon starter (12:15).

Get with Grillo

Emiliano Grillo has made all three cuts at PGA National, shooting a third-round 65 in 2017 and closing with a 66 for tied eighth last year.

A winner of the Championship in Florida in 2015, the Argentina has a fine record in the Sunshine State, posting T7 at Bay Hill and T11 at Sawgrass in 2017.

Emiliano Grillo 1280.jpg

In that Bay Hill event, an opening 67 gave him a share of the first-round lead while he's handed in sub-70 rounds in his last two Florida tournaments.

A more recent check shows of his day one scores shows a 65 and three 67s in his last six events so he's been coming out of the gates fast.

Grillo can make his mark early from a 07:15 tee-time.

Dave's 2019 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £240
Returned: £142
P/L: -£98

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