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Aaron Wise
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FanDuel Strategy

DFS FanDuel Fit: The Honda Classic

by Josh Culp
Updated On: February 22, 2022, 10:58 am ET

Taking their talents to the Sunshine State, the PGA TOUR heads to PGA National for this week's Honda Classic. 

It's leg one of the Florida Swing which means we are back on bermudagrass and back on courses that have water hazards lurking around every corner. 

Turning our attention toward the Champion Course at PGA National, let's dive into some historical stats to see what golfers might fit the course. 

First we know the course is restrictive in terms of driver usage. There are many holes where golfers will choose less-than-driver on the par 4s to avoid trouble. We can look at performance on similar less-than-driver courses. 

After that, we also know the field average is typically a shot and a half over par, so let's look at past performance on tough courses. 

 

Less-than-Driver Performance

PGA National is not a bomb-and-gouge course. 

"You can’t really overpower it too much. There’s a lot of holes where you’re hitting less than driver off the tee." -Rickie Fowler

"I like a golf course where you have to hit the ball fairly straight, where you have to manage the golf course, where it’s not always driver from the tee box where you need to take some bunkers or waters out of play." -Martin Kaymer

Here are the top performers from a strokes gained per round view, when playing on similar less-than-driver courses, over the last two years: 

Daniel Berger
Billy Horschel
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Lucas Glover
Patrick Reed
Gary Woodland
Ian Poulter
Aaron Rai
Joaquin Niemann
Mackenzie Hughes
Tommy Fleetwood
Sungjae Im
Matthias Schwab
Kevin Streelman
Brendon Todd

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Lucas Glover
Billy Horschel
John Huh
Gary Woodland
Richy Werenski
Jim Herman
Seung-Yul Noh
Michael Thompson
Brian Gay
Vaughn Taylor
Brice Garnett
Camilo Villegas
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Charles Howell III
Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Billy Horschel, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Lucas Glover, and Gary Woodland

Despite his insane power with a driver in hand, Woodland has built a reputation over the course of his career for actually playing better on second-shot courses that allow him to shine with a long iron or 3wood in hand, instead of blasting driver after driver. 

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Performance on Tough Tracks

The field scoring average sits at +1.55 shots over par since the 2015 edition. This is a tough course. 

"This golf course, there’s about five to seven holes where you can really take advantage of it if you hit the fairway and you’ve got a good number to the flag, and you’ve got to take advantage of those if you want to move up, and the rest of the holes you’re just kind of hanging on and trying to make par, maybe sneaking in one or two birdies." -Brooks Koepka

Here are the top performers on hard courses (+0.75 RTP or tougher) over the last two years: 

Patrick Reed
Louis Oosthuizen
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Aaron Wise
Daniel Berger
Brooks Koepka
Brendon Todd
Brendan Steele
Ryan Palmer
Mackenzie Hughes
Sungjae Im
Joaquin Niemann
Tommy Fleetwood
Aaron Rai
Matthew Wolff

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Brandon Hagy
Taylor Pendrith
Brendon Todd
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Matthew Wolff
Brendan Steele
Mackenzie Hughes
Lucas Herbert
Hudson Swafford
Dylan Frittelli
Richy Werenski
Aaron Wise
Aaron Rai
Patrick Rodgers
Lee Westwood

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Aaron Wise, Brendon Todd, Brendan Steele, Mackenzie Hughes, and Aaron Rai

This group is a mixed bag in terms of how they get the job done. Bezuidenhout and Hughes are elite around the green while Wise and Steele are standout ball-strikers. Then you have Todd and Rai who are straight shooters. 

FanDuel Focus 

Aaron Wise ($9,800): He was lights out to end 2021 but hasn't found that same magic to start the new year. Perhaps a return to PGA National will provide that spark. Wise cruised out to a three-shot lead thru 36 holes at this event last year before fading over the weekend. 

Mackenzie Hughes ($9,600): While Wise faded over the weekend last year, it was Hughes who rallied over the weekend the year before. During the 2020 Honda Classic he gained 11.1 strokes over the weekend to backdoor a runner-up finish. The Canadian has a pair of top 5s in his last six starts so he brings recent form to the table to go along with that valuable course history upside. 

 

Good luck with your lineups this week and check back tomorrow for some more course-fit analysis. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.