Honda Classic DFS picks 2023: Play this breakout star at PGA National
After one of the most memorable California Swings in recent memory, the PGA Tour kicks off its Florida Swing this week at the Honda Classic. It won’t be all fun and games this week because PGA National is one of the toughest tests in all of golf. Highlighted by “The Bear Trap,” one of the most difficult three-hole stretches on tour, the winning score of this event is routinely in single digits under-par.
The main feature at PGA National (and most Florida courses) is water! There is trouble lurking off nearly every tee shot, and you’ll certainly see a few big numbers this week. Those who can avoid disaster and grind their way through 72 holes will give themselves a chance to hoist the trophy on Sunday night.
Here are the players who have my interest—and those who certainly don’t—this week at the 2023 Honda Classic.
Golfers I'm Definitely Playing
Sungjae Im ($10,700 DraftKings | $11,900 FanDuel)
Im is clearly the class of this field, and he’s a past champion for good reason. His ball-striking is elite on this circuit, but he’s not reliant on that aspect of his game. He’s accomplished both on and around the greens, which gives him the highest upside and most well-rounded golfer teeing it up.
Aaron Wise ($9,200 DraftKings | $11,600 FanDuel)
The 2023 calendar year hasn’t started the way Wise would have liked, and he’ll enter this week coming off back-to-back missed cuts. Despite the struggles, he’s not that far off. Over the past 100 rounds, he’s the fourth-best tee-to-green player in the field, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Now he’ll travel to PGA National, where he’s gained strokes putting in three straight trips.
Adam Svensson ($8,700 DraftKings | $10,200 FanDuel)
Svensson rebounded from MCs at Torrey Pines and Phoenix with a T-9 at Riviera, and he’ll find a reprieve in this field. We are only five starts removed from his win at the RSM Classic, and he earned a top 10 at the Honda Classic last year despite losing four strokes with the flatstick. He’s riskier than some of his similarly priced peers, but the upside is undeniable.
Joseph Bramlett ($7,500 DraftKings | $9,300 FanDuel)
Bramlett will enter with back-to-back T-15 finishes, where he’s gained over 10 strokes in the ball-striking categories. I worry about him losing five strokes on the putting surfaces, but his clubhead speed and newfound confidence can be a difference-maker this week.
Kevin Tway ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel)
Tway got through the cut at both full-field elevated events, finishing top 40 in both. Now he gets to battle a much weaker field, where he should be able to separate himself more frequently. After a dreadful few years, Tway is playing some of his best golf in recent memory—making six of his last eight cuts.
Golfers I Might Play
Alex Noren ($9,500 DraftKings | $11,200 FanDuel)
Noren has missed the last two cuts at elevated events by a total of three strokes. He’s been competitive in the toughest fields of the year and will now get to battle a much weaker composition of his peers. He tends to thrive when conditions get more difficult, which will be expected at PGA National this week. He has two top-five finishes in his past four trips to this event.
Min Woo Lee ($9,400 DraftKings | $11,000 FanDuel)
Min Woo Lee hasn’t played an official PGA Tour event since the Open Championship (T-21) but has been crushing the DP World Tour as of late. His last eight starts have all been T-13 or better with five top-five finishes. He’s gained 10-plus strokes to the field five times during that run, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Jhonattan Vegas ($8,600 DraftKings | $10,100 FanDuel)
Vegas has been impressive since returning to action from offseason shoulder surgery. He’s posted two top-25 finishes in his past three starts and played well at Riviera for two rounds before fading to T-56. He’s one of the most experienced golfers in the field at PGA National, where he’s played 10 times, making the cut in all but one.
Robby Shelton ($7,800 DraftKings | $9,700 FanDuel)
Shelton earned a T-20 at Pebble Beach, which marked his third top-20 finish in his past five starts. He’s separating himself from fields via his strong iron play but has left some room for improvement on the greens. He’ll look to find some putting improvements this week on the greens at PGA National.
Brent Grant ($6,400 DraftKings | $7,600 FanDuel)
Grant has quietly flashed brilliance this year, earning a T-25 at Torrey Pines and a T-20 at Pebble Beach. He’s very inconsistent and has struggled putting all four rounds together, but you can see he’s growing and getting more comfortable on the PGA Tour.
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Golfers I'm Fading
Shane Lowry ($10,400 DraftKings | $11,800 FanDuel)
Lowry did get back on track last week in Los Angeles, finishing T-14. While encouraging, that has been his best finish since his win at the BMW PGA Championship—10 starts ago. He’s been wildly inconsistent in each facet of his game, and this price is too much to stomach compared to his peers.
Chris Kirk ($9,900 DraftKings | $11,400 FanDuel)
At $9,900, this is the most expensive Chris Kirk has been on DraftKings since the 2021 Zurich Classic ($10,100)—a team event. His perception has been buoyed by two straight third-place finishes at the Sony Open and American Express. Those serve as his only two top-15 finishes over his past 14 starts. He’s been good not great, but we are being asked to pay for greatness at this price tag.
Harris English ($8,400 DraftKings | $10,300 FanDuel)
I was excited to see English’s T-12 last week at Riviera until I saw the 8.8 strokes he gained putting—the best putting performance of his career, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He added another 2.10 around-the-green and still lost 1.16 strokes from tee-to-green. It’s a stat line that is full of red flags.
Aaron Rai ($7,700 DraftKings | $9,500 FanDuel)
Rai is one of the worst Bermudagrass putters in the field, and he’s lost strokes on approach in four of his past five starts. That’s a sour combination most weeks, but it’s especially true here at PGA National, which will require putting and precision.
Kramer Hickok ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,300 FanDuel)
Hickok snapped a streak of eight straight missed cuts with a T-29 at The Genesis Invitational. While I’m happy for him, I’m not buying it just yet. His stat profile is full of inconsistency, and his inaccuracy off-the-tee could lead to big numbers in Florida this week.
Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.