Tue, 07 Apr 2020

Golf Glance: Koepka, Fowler return at The Honda Classic

Field Level Media
26 Feb 2020, 07:05 GMT+10

Field Level Media's Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.


LAST WEEK: WGC-Mexico Championship (Patrick Reed); Puerto Rico Open (Viktor Hovland)

THIS WEEK: The Honda Classic, Feb. 27-March 1

PGA National Resort (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (Par 70, 7,110 yards)

Purse: $7 million (Winner: $1.26 million)

Defending champion: Keith Mitchell

FedEx Cup leader: Justin Thomas

TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (NBC)

NOTES: Mitchell sank a 16-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler last year. Fowler won the event in 2017 and returns along with fellow South Florida resident Koepka, who is the lone top-10 player in the field at No. 3. ... England's Tommy Fleetwood at No. 12 is the next highest-ranked player, and the lone player within the Top 20 without a PGA Tour victory to his credit. ... Fellow Englishman Justin Rose is in the field for the first time since missing the cut five years ago. ... Vijay Singh, now 57, finished solo sixth last year. ... Tiger Woods is skipping the event for the second consecutive year.

BEST BETS: Fleetwood (1100 at PointsBet) has four consecutive top-20 finishes worldwide, including a T18 in Mexico last week. This is a ball-striker's course, and he's one of the best in that department. ... Koepka (1200) hasn't played well since returning from knee surgery and admittedly doesn't get ramped up for non-majors. But he needs to find his form quickly and played very well close to home last year. ... Fowler (1300) also has been inconsistent to start 2020 but has a strong track record at PGA National. ... Hovland (2500) earned his maiden Tour win in Puerto Rico last week. Granted, that was against an alternate field, but he has all the talent to turn that into a launching point. ... Sungjae Im (2800) is still searching for that first win, but the reigning Rookie of the Year held a share of the midway lead last year and is another young star to watch in a generally modest field along with Joaquin Niemann (5000). ... Daniel Berger (3000) has top-10s in each of his past two events.

NEXT WEEK: The Arnold Palmer Invitational, Orlando, Fla., March 5-8


LAST TOURNAMENT: ISPS Women's Australian Open (Inbee Park)


NEXT TOURNAMENT: Founders Cup, Phoenix, March 19-22

Champions Tour

LAST WEEK: Chubb Classic (Scott Parel)

THIS WEEK: Cologuard Classic, Feb. 28-March 1

Omni Tucson National Catalina Course, Tucson, Ariz. (Par 73, 7,218 yards)

Purse: $1.7 million (Winner: $225,000)

Defending champion: Mark O'Meara

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Parel

TV: Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 4:30-7 p.m. ET (All times Golf Channel)

NOTES: This is the sixth annual playing of the event and features a 78-player field. ... Ernie Els will make his second career Champions start. The 19-time PGA Tour winner lost on the second playoff hole to Miguel Angel Jimenez at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship. ... O'Meara won by four strokes over Willie Wood, Darren Clarke, Kirk Triplett and Scott McCarron last year. ... This is one of 11 tournaments on the Champions Tour that Bernhard Langer has yet to win. He has three consecutive top-10s to begin the year. ... Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz is in the field. His best finish in four previous Champions events was a T53 in last year's Cologuard Classic.

NEXT TOURNAMENT: Hoag Classic, Newport Beach, Calif., March 6-8

--Field Level Media

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