The Honda Classic Each-Way Tips: Frittelli can flourish in Florida

South African Dylan Frittelli
Dylan Frittelli bounced back to form last week and can challenge for the title here

It's the final leg of the PGA Tour's Florida Swing and Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for The Honda Classic at PGA National with 8 places paid on the Betfair Sportsbook...

"After losing a combined six strokes Tee to Green across the events at Riviera and Bay Hill, Frittelli gained 8.639 strokes at Sawgrass. He ranked 7th T2G and 17th on Approach."

Back Dylan Frittelli E/W @ 51.050/1

Main Bet: Dylan Frittelli each-way @ 51.050/1

With seven of the last eight editions there won with single digits under par, it's PGA National rather than TPC Sawgrass that deserves to be classed as the hardest course on the Florida Swing.

Sungjae Im carded 6-under to take victory last year, as did Padraig Harrington in 2015.

Players Championship winner Justin Thomas won a play-off after shooting 8-under in 2018 while Adam Scott (2016) and Keith Mitchell (2019) both carved out narrow one-shot victories with 9-under.

Scrambling has always been a key stat and that was borne out again in 2020.

Im ranked 5th for Scrambling while three of those who finished tied fourth on the final leaderboard - Byeong Hun An, Brendan Steele and Lee Westwood - were also in the top five in that category. Getting up and down is vital.

Strokes Gained: Tee to Green - whether it's done from the tee, fairway or greenside - is also a standout category. Last year it was particularly revealing as eight of the top 10 finishers ranked in the top eight for SG: TTG.

Which is all another way of saying that this is not a putting contest. Im was only 38th for SG: Putting when winning, as coincidentally was 2019 champ Mitchell. The latter ranked 1st for SG: Tee to Green incidentally.

Taking the above into account, my first pick is going to be Dylan Frittelli.

When the South African finished in the top five at November's Masters, there's no way you'd have expected to get 50/1 here if being given the entry list.

Due to scheduling reasons, this is the weakest field at The Honda Classic in some time, the top of the market - Daniel Berger at 10/1 and Im at 12s - highlighting the fact.

Frittelli has fallen to 50s due to a slump since Augusta.

Although he managed a fifth in his home South African Open soon after, up until last week's Players Championship his PGA Tour form read: MC-53-MC-MC-MC.

But last week he found something, shooting 68s in rounds two and four and finishing T22 at TPC Sawgrass.

What's more, there was some good logic behind it. He said after his closing 4-under lap: "I've been pretty terrible the last few weeks on tour, so I think this week was a really good week.

"I had my coach Chuck Cook here and my physio Nic Catterall and they had a good plan put together. Chuck really helped me out on my long game, so back to my normal ball-striking ways now, being very consistent, fairways and greens.

"And then just getting rid of some scar tissue of hitting some bad shots and just laying down some positive neurons there, seeing good shots, and that's really helped out this week just to get rid of some of the stuff I was going through.

"My golf swing. It was out of whack. I don't know where it went wrong. It was really good going into San Diego (Farmers) and three weeks later coming out of there it was just really bad. It was good to have him (Chuck) here this week."

After losing a combined six strokes Tee to Green across the events at Riviera and Bay Hill, Frittelli gained 8.639 strokes at Sawgrass. He ranked 7th T2G and 17th on Approach.

In addition, he was ranked 1st for SG: Around The Green.

This is his fourth straight year at PGA National and in his first visit he posted tied 11th so there's a spot of course form too.

A winner at the 2019 John Deere Classic and top 25 in two of his last three Florida starts, he has a good CV for a 50/1 shot in this field. With a bit of luck he can become the third South African winner of the event in the last 14 years.

Next Best: J.T. Poston each-way @ 51.050/1

I'll pick another player at the same price with very, very similar credentials.

Like Frittelli, he was tied 22nd at TPC Sawgrass. Like Frittelli, there was a notable change in his SG: Tee to Green numbers. And, like Frittelli, he's already a winner on the PGA Tour.

J.T. Poston also registered his victory in 2019, scoring a one-shot success at the Wyndham Championship in his native North Carolina.

JT Poston wins the Wyndham.jpg

He ended 2020 poorly but did show some good form when T18 at Torrey Pines and T11 in Phoenix before missing the cut by a distance at Bay Hill.

But he's got some momentum again after a tied 22nd at The Players Championship and I like the way his scoring panned out.

Poston posted a 76 on day one and looked set to miss the cut. But he fired 9-under over the final 54 holes, the same as third-placed Bryson DeChambeau carded over his final three rounds.

In fact, Poston carved out the only bogey-free round of the day on Sunday so the 27-year-old will have left TPC Sawgrass in confident mood.

He ranked 18th in Scrambling for the week and gained 2.5 strokes on the field Tee to Green on day four, splitting 10 fairways and finding 14 greens.

As for course form at PGA National, it's decent enough with three cuts out of three and nothing worse than T36.

He threatened to make a big challenge last year when third after day one, second at halfway and eighth with 18 holes to play but fell away in round four.

He was also 11th after 36 holes on debut so he's played the course well.

Take the 50/1.

Final Bet: Talor Gooch each-way @ 34.033/1

At the front end of the market, Berger and Im look short while I think 20/1 Lee Westwood may be running on empty after his mentally-sapping weeks at Bay Hill and Sawgrass.

Shane Lowry must go well but he's 20/1 on the Sportsbook which makes it difficult.

I'm tempted by 2016 winner Scott at 25s given his class and record in Florida but I'll end with a punt on fast-improving Talor Gooch at 35s.

It may not jump off the page now but perhaps it's a price that will good in hindsight.

The Oklahoma golfer was outside the world's top 200 in January of last year but he's now up to 64th after a superb tied fifth at Sawgrass.

That's significant as it puts him in with a shout of cracking the top 50 and gaining a spot in The Masters. Incentive is high.

He's made his way up the rankings with other strong showings in the last six months such as fifth at The CJ Cup, fourth at the Houston Open and 12th in the Genesis. Two of those were against excellent fields.

Gooch also rates highly in the two categories mentioned earlier. He was 10th for SG: Tee To Green when T5 at The Players Championship and 18th for Scrambling.

He's 9th for Scrambling on the season-long stats and an impressive 29th for SG: Total, showing all parts of his game are in healthy nick.

I also like his Florida form. As well as his top five last week, he was T13 in last year's Arnold Palmer Invitational and also has a top 20 here in 2019.

One of the reasons can be found in a past Bay Hill interview. Gooch said: "It gets windy there, being an Oklahoma kid I enjoyed that. So you got to know how to flight your ball and stay below the hole."

Gooch can hopefully keep the momentum flowing after his closing 67 at Sawgrass so he gets the final vote.

Dave's 2020/2021 P/L

Staked: £690.00
Returned: £547.12
P/L: -£142.88

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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