Honda Classic: Schwartzel can be Florida pearl

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel can challenge for the trophy
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The PGA Tour heads to Florida this week and Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for the action at PGA National...

"To sort the men from the boys, put your hand up if you've ever won a tournament in single digits under par. There aren't many but one who has is Charl Schwartzel and, what's more, he did it here in Florida."

Main Bet: Charl Schwartzel each-way @ 55/1

It's not too often these days that PGA Tour players have to grind their wealthy butts off but the Honda Classic is certainly one of those occasions.

The evidence can be found in the tournament's winning scores, with 10 of the last 13 editions won with single digits under par. That includes six of the last seven so the Jack Nicklaus-designed Champion Course at PGA National certainly knows how to defend itself.

So it's time to set the jaw and grind.

To sort the men from the boys, put your hand up if you've ever won a tournament in single digits under par. There aren't many but one who has is Charl Schwartzel and, what's more, he did it here in Florida.

To be honest, I'd arrived at the South African anyway but this adds another angle to the argument for him.

Schwartzel's win at the 2016 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook came with just 7-under while he fired 9-under to finish tied sixth when defending 12 months later.

Here at PGA National, the 2011 Masters winner has dug in to record four top 16s.

The highlights during that run were fifth place in 2012 and ninth the following year. When he returned to the course in 2019 after a four-year break, Schwartzel showed he has still knows how to play it, finishing tied 16th.

Perhaps that's actually a better performance than it first looks as he then went on to miss four of his next five cuts (T61 in the other) before deciding a troublesome wrist problem needed surgery.

After seven months off, he returned in style with a top three in his home Alfred Dunhill Championship (at a venue where he boasted a superb record) before a bit of reality kicked in and he missed cuts in Abu Dhabi and Phoenix.

It was hard to gauge where he was but earlier this month Schwartzel answered plenty of doubts by finishing an excellent tied fifth on his debut at Pebble Beach.

At Pebble, he said after his strong finish: "I need it. I'm playing on a medical exemption. I have limited starts, but this is a good way to start."

There is plenty of incentive then and his quotes after day one were also encouraging: "I felt all around it was good. I drove it well, hit my iron shots good, putted beautifully."

If he can bring that Pebble form to Florida, Schwartzel can give us a good run.

Next Best: Russell Henley each-way @ 66/1

Russell Henley won this event with 8-under in 2014, ousting Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox in a play-off.

It's also relevant to say that he won two of his three titles with 10-under and 12-under while he's finished tied 11th and tied 15th in his last two starts at Augusta National so, without doubt he can handle himself on tough tracks.

Still only 30, the three-time PGA Tour winner seems to endure his fair share of slumps but can suddenly pop out of them.

Last summer he followed four missed cuts with a second place in the John Deere Classic and then added a top 15 in his next start. At the John Deere he gained 8.436 strokes Tee To Green and then was almost identical in his following outing, the only difference being a cooler putter.

I'm hoping for a reverse of that little two-week perk-up this week. Henley has just emerged from five missed cuts to take tied 17th at Riviera, ranking seventh in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green but losing strokes on the Poa Annua. He was in the top five after 18, 36 and 54 holes.

So, if he can hit it as well but improve on these different Bermuda surfaces, he's capable of challenging for this title again.

Of course, this isn't a putting contest and it's what he does before reaching the greens that counts. But if he sinks his share, Henley can make an impact.

Talking at the Genesis, he certainly sounded in positive mood.

"I think it's been a weird couple years for me, unlike my first five on Tour, but I think there's a lot of good golf for me left. I feel really good, I feel strong and I'm excited to play.

"Man, I love where I am with my equipment. I love where I am with my ball, my Titleist ball, it's so good. It's made me such a better wedge player, it's made me super consistent with my irons. I'm just a big fan of what I have going on right now."

Take him at 66/1.

Final Bet: Daniel Berger each-way @ 28/1

I won't get many points for ambition but, after going around the houses a bit, I keep coming back to Daniel Berger.

This was the tournament he could so easily have won back in 2015.

The American - born in Florida, raised in Florida, educated in Florida and still residing in Florida - was nine back of Ian Poulter going into Sunday but shot a brilliant 64 as the leaders fell away.

Unfortunately for him, he ran into Padraig Harrington having one of those weeks when the Irishman will not be beaten and lost a play-off.

Still, it helped him become rookie of the year and he's now a two-time PGA Tour winner having won back-to-back at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

TPC Southwind, like this week's course, is a par 70 and Berger took the title with winning scores of -10 and -13, not quite single digits but way higher than the PGA Tour average.

Despite a round of 3-under on one of the first two days in both 2018 and 2019, he's never quite delivered again here but T36 and T29 the last two years could prove useful markers.

What really adds to his chance this week is the excellent play he produced on the West Coast where he got better each week: 38th Sony, 29th American Express, 9th Phoenix and 5th Pebble Beach.

He ranked in the top 10 for Scrambling - an important skill this week - and it's an obvious mental leap to think that he'll putt better now he's back on the more familiar Bermuda surfaces.

Berger has had positive SG: Putting figures in his last three starts at PGA National and ranked 13th in that category here last year, gaining nearly five strokes on the field.

Take the 28/1.

At the front end of the market, Tommy Fleetwood (12/1) and Louis Oosthuizen (25/1) have still never won on American soil which makes it difficult to argue for them at those sort of prices.

Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose seem a little off the pace and Rickie Fowler, despite the great course form, hardly screams to be backed at 12s.

Gary Woodland has won in Florida and captured last year's U.S. Open in toughish conditions (-13 so not beyond-tough) and I prefer him to the others shorter in the betting.

Billy Horschel is certainly on most shortlists while I also looked at Wyndham Clark, Harris English and Corey Conners.

Dave's 2019/20 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £574
Returned: £429.60
P/L: -£144.40

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

Dave Tindall,

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