Can Rickie Fowler get back on top?

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The Honda Classic is more of a numbers game for PGA Tour players than many other events.

Why? In the past five years, only one player has finished at double-digits under par. Rickie Fowler was -12 in winning in 2017. Other than that, it’s single digits for the winner.

What that means is this probably won’t be the birdie fest many fans have come to love to watch in other tournaments. Justin Thomas won last year in a playoff at -8. Before that, Fowler was at -12 and in 2016 it was Adam Scott at -9.

And on and on. You get the picture.

So to win here you’ve not only got to work your way smartly around the course, you’ve got to make crucial birdie putts when you do get the chance.

Sounds obvious. But if that was the case the scores would be lower. Last year just 11 players finished under par.

A main reason for the lack of a birdie-fest week at the Jack Nicklaus designed PGA National Resort & Spa is the renowned ‘Bear Trap,’ the 15th 16th and 17th holes. This three-hole stretch, a pair of tough par 3s along with an intimidating par-4, is daunting to say the least. Add in the drama of a Sunday showdown and the leaders’ shot-making skills will certainly be put to the test.

Put all of that together and we’re going to go with Thomas (at a measly 5-1) to repeat as the Honda Classic champion.

Check out Westgate Superbook’s 2019 Honda Classic Golf Odds Here

We know. This is the second straight week we’re picking Thomas. But, we’ve got plenty of good reasons.

Start with the fact he’s the defending champ. Then add in he’s coming off a tremendous finish at the WGC event in Mexico — a blistering final-round 62 which vaulted him into the top-10, moving him up some 30 spots.

And finally one more fact: It’s March (well, it will be when the tournament ends on Sunday) and Thomas hasn’t found the winner’s circle in 2018-2019 yet. In the past three years he’s had at least one victory by now.

Last year he finished 65-68 on the weekend to run down Luke List and force a playoff which he won on the first extra hole.

This week, there may not be nearly as much drama if Thomas keeps knocking down flags like he did this past Sunday.

But if you’re like many bettors and looking for that player with slightly better odds that should be a factor this week, we give you Fowler (10-1).

Fowler comes into the event off a mediocre outing at the WGC. That’s the bad news. The good news is he’s having a roller-coaster season… good event, bad event, good event, etc.

This should be the week for a good event following a T-36 in Mexico. His event prior to that he won the Waste Management Open.

There’s no reason to believe he might not keep this ride going and wind up with another victory. 

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About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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