Golf – Honda Classic and Joburg Open

The Honda Classic takes centre stage this week with a host of Europe’s big names making their first venture across the Atlantic to play in Florida this weekend.

Ty Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Martin Kaymer, Danny Willett and Rafa Cabrera Bello amongst the big names European players who will be looking for the title at the PGA National course – whilst 2015 champion Padraig Harrington will also be looking to challenge on a course that includes the world famous ‘Bear Trap’ holes.

Defending champion is Adam Scott will be looking for back-to-back titles after he made a good start to his season at the Genesis Open last week with an 11th placed finish.

Scott – the world number 7 – is the highest ranked player in golf playing this weekend with new world number one Dustin Johnson taking the week off.

Scott – the world number 7 – is the highest ranked player in golf playing this weekend with new world number one Dustin Johnson taking the week off.

Over on the European Tour and they are back in South Africa at the Joburg Open – where the offer of three slots for the Open later this year is the big prize on offer.

South African Haydn Porteous is defending his crown but a host of homegrown players are expected to challenge for the prize at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

The pro’s point of view…

Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.

Well down in South Africa I am going to stick with one of my picks from last week. Jordan Smith started well last time out before fading and I think he could do well again.

Home players always do well and I am going for Jaco van Zyl from the local contingent whilst I have to go with fellow Hartelpool lad Graeme Storm, who loves playing in South Africa and will go close.

At the Honda Classic – I am not going with any Americans this time around. I think Louis Oosthuizen will be a class act in the field.

And I think the Europeans will show up well with Sergio Garcia and Thomas Pieters the two I think will come through.

The Bookie says…

We caught up with Ladbrokes’ senior golf trader Peter D’Arcy ahead of the weekend’s action to gauge the markets and ask him about our fancies.

Defending champion Adam Scott is rightly favourite as the highest ranked player in the Tournament. He’s just edging Justin Thomas who had a great start to the year in Hawaii, but has struggled back on mainland.

There’s a strong European contingent making the trip to Florida of whom many are playing quite well at the moment. I fancy young Ty Hatton to perform best of them all, however.

The strong foreign presence in the field means that it’s only about an evens chance for an American to win the Tournament. I could see them struggle again this week as the top Americans haven’t hit peak form recently.

Over in Europe at the Joburg Open and you have to look at a home favourite and like Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Top 5 finishes in his last two starts and a 22nd on his debut in this tournament last year point towards the young South African having a good tournament.

My dark horse for the week is a blast from the past with Camilo Villegas in the Honda Classic. The former winner can be hit or miss and glimpses of his past successes are still there with a 2nd place at the RSM Classic at the end of last year.

TheGamblingTimes says…

We can see a European doing well at the Honda Classic and think Danny Willett could have a good week, but also watch out for Rickie Fowler – he will have some vocal support and could go well.

Down in Johannesburg and we agree with Cliff that Graeme Storm could go well, but someone like David Howell could also be one to watch. Of the local boys we like the look of George Coetzee.

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