Cognizant Classic 2024 Each-way Tips: Picks from 33/1 to 150/1

South African golfer Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Christiaan Bezuidenhout is the headline pick

The PGA Tour's Florida Swing starts this week and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets for the action at PGA National...

  • 45/146.00 Christiaan Bezuidenhout looks a good fit

  • 33/134.00 Daniel Berger is a course horse here

  • 150/1151.00 Andrew Novak is in excellent form

  • "After 42 years, Honda and the PGA Tour separated, leaving the tournament looking for a new title sponsor. Enter Cognizant."

    There you go, The Palm Beach Post explaining the change in name for this year's annual Florida Swing opener. Well, it's good for fans of alliteration I guess.

    For punters, the key message is that the venue hasn't changed. This is year No. 18 at the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens.

    The course measures 7,147 yards and water lies in wait on 13 of the 18 holes. Chris Kirk shot 14-under to win in calm conditions 12 months ago but in the 10 years prior to that here's how many players ended the week in double digits under par: 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0.

    That could change this year due to par being increased to 71 after the 10th hole was converted from a par 4 to a 530-yard par 5. It still remains a seriously tough test though.

    In addition, 12 of the last 19 winners were non-Americans. That list includes three of the last four: Austrian Sepp Straka (2022), Aussie Matt Jones (2021) and Korean Sungjae Im (2020).

    It also includes Rory McIlroy, the clear 7/18.00 favourite this week. The winner here in 2012 is the only player quoted below 20/121.00 which is somewhat unusual.

    Back Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 45/146.00

    Ernie Els and Rory Sabbatini flew the flag for South Africa when winning at PGA National in 2008 and 2011 respectively and it could be time for another Springbok champion.

    The one I like is Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who is playing some strong golf so far in 2004.

    The 29-year-old opened the season by finishing runner-up in The American Express and after an early exit at Torrey Pines, he's posted 20th at Pebble Beach, 28th in Phoenix and 24th at the Genesis Invitational.

    Strong iron play is essential here and Bezuidenhout's numbers are hugely encouraging. He was 2nd for Strokes Gained: Approach in The American Express while he's ranked in the top 10 for SGA in each of his last three starts. On the season charts, he ranks 3rd.

    This will be his third start at PGA National, the first two producing finishes of 25th on debut in 2022 and 42nd last year.

    Two years ago he closed with a 66 while a Saturday 67 in 2023 put him in the top 20 going into day four.

    Overall, he's a solid Florida performer. Bezuidenhout has made nine of his 10 cuts in the Sunshine State, recording a seventh and two other top 20s at Bay Hill and a 13th in last year's Players Championship when he was in the top five after days one, two and three.

    One other angle to mention is that this is a course on which it's difficult to play catch-up. That's usually the case with tough layouts.

    It bodes well therefore that Bezuidenhout has ended round one in the top 15 in six of his last seven tournaments: 15-8-14-90-3-10-6 his exact positions.

    Another strong start and he'll be in good position to grind (something he does well) to victory here at 45/146.00.

    Back Christiaan Bezuidenhout each-way @ 45/146.00

    Bet here

    Daniel Berger @ 33/134.00

    A few weeks ago we saw Will Zalatoris finish runner-up in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, one of his favourite courses.

    The Californian had posted fourth there the year before and 26th and 15th in his previous two visits.

    For Zalatoris at Riviera, read Daniel Berger at PGA National.

    Like Zalatoris, Berger is on the comeback from injury and, after some promising signs, he now gets a crack at a course he loves.

    Berger first made his name at the Florida venue in 2015 when, as a 21-year-old rookie, he lost a play-off to Padraig Harrington.

    Since then, the Jupiter, Florida resident has finished fourth in his last two visits (2020 and 2022).

    On the most recent, he was the 36 and 54-hole leader before a disappointing Sunday. With that in mind, he will feel there is unfinished business here.

    Berger is returning from a back injury that kept him out from June 2022 until the start of this year.

    He opened with a 39th in The American Express, missed the cut at Torrey Pines and then showed further signs of promise with 28th in the Phoenix Open where he'd missed his previous two cuts (2021 and 2022).

    With finishes of 13th or better in four of his last five Florida tournaments, Berger will be chomping at the bit to get back on his preferred Bermuda surfaces.

    His iron play has looked good since returning - 13th for SG: Approach in Phoenix, 23rd in the American Express - while he was 12th and 3rd respectively for Driving Accuracy in those two events.

    "It would be especially nice to win here having so many friends and family here with me this week," he said at PGA National a couple of years ago.

    "Just enjoying it and playing a place that I love and I've said it a million times but like I said sleeping in my own bed, it's an amazing feeling."

    Add in those home comforts and Berger looks ready to announce his return in a big way. Back him at 33s.

    Back Daniel Berger each-way @ 33/134.00

    Bet here

    Andrew Novak @ 150/1151.00

    There are plenlty of contenders for the third pick.

    Keith Mitchell and Adam Svensson both make appeal but the latter is now just 28/129.00 and that's too short.

    At bigger prices, Robert MacIntyre at 100/1101.00 has the class although he's not done anything in Florida in his few starts there.

    Ben Silverman, now 100/1101.00, was going well last week but I'll plump for Andrew Novak at 150/1151.00

    It's a simple argument on first glance as Novak has finished eighth in his last two starts, the Phoenix Open and the Mexico Open.

    What gives those finishes extra gravitas is that he achieved them with stellar iron play.

    Novak was 8th for Approach at Scottsdale and 6th in Mexico where he ranked 2nd for SG: Tee To Green.

    A look at his past record in Florida throws up a Korn Ferry Tour victory in the 2020 Suncoast Classic (he birdied the final two holes to win) while he was third at the Emerald Coast Classic in 2021.

    At PGA Tour level last year, he was 29th here when breaking par in the each of the first three rounds and 27th in the Valspar. Both are good signs.

    Speaking in Phoenix about his season so far which included some early struggles, he noted: "Played a lot better at Torrey. Missed the cut, but I thought my game was in a good spot. I shot under par at the South Course, which you've got to play good golf to do that.

    "I knew I was close and put a lot of work in the off week, and my coach was here earlier this week. My swing finally was in a good place going into this tournament."

    Winding back to last year, Novak was in the final group and playing alongside Nick Taylor when the local hero won the Canadian Open.

    He slipped to ninth there, the same place he occupied in the Texas Open five starts later so he looks very capable of challenging for the each-way places (eight) and maybe even adding to this season of surprise winners.

    There's plenty to like about a player listed down at 150/1151.00.

    Back Andrew Novak each-way @ 150/1151.00

    Bet here

    Now read SDC Championship: The Punter's Preview

Dave's P/L for 2024

Staked: £210
Returned: £84
P/L: -£126

2022/2023 P/L: -£191.44
2021/2022 P/L: -£315.35
2020/2021 P/L: +£1475.87
2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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