Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 Honda Classic

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Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 Honda Classic

PGA Tour

Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 Honda Classic

The PGA Tour heads to the Sunshine State for the first time this season as the Florida Swing gets underway at the Honda Classic.

PGA National’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., will serve as tournament host with the par-70 layout playing to 7,140 yards. (Remember: PGA National didn’t start hosting this event until 2007, so any history prior to that his, well, history.)

There is water seemingly everywhere at PGA National, which annually ranks among the toughest non-major courses on Tour. The Bear Trap, also known as Nos. 15-17, include two demanding par-3s. Some stats to look at: strokes gained: tee-to-green, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, bogey avoidance, scrambling and par-3 scoring.

Here are my top 25 fantasy-golf options for this week’s Honda Classic:

1. Rickie Fowler: Since missing the cut in his first two trips to PGA National, in 2010 and ’11, Fowler has a win (2017) and three other top-13s in six Honda starts. T-11 in last outing in Phoenix and boasts a win, runner-up and T-4 in last five worldwide starts. Leads Tour in par-3 scoring and bogey avoidance, and is second in scrambling. Also inside the top 35 in SGTTG, GIR and driving accuracy. Clearly the top option this week.

2. Sergio Garcia: Making his PGA Tour season debut this week, though he’s won twice on other tours since the Tour’s new season began last fall. Perfect in seven tries here with four top-14 finishes, including a runner-up in 2016.

3. Rory McIlroy: Got back on track with T-20 at Riviera. The 2012 Honda winner was also T-2 in 2014, but he’s missed the cut in his last two trips, in 2015 and ’16.

4. Justin Thomas: Two MCs in three Honda starts, but also a T-3 in 2016. Coming off a T-9 at Genesis and hasn’t finished worse than T-22 since last season’s BMW. Not going to hit a lot of fairways, but he is still around the top 40 in SGTTG, GIR and bogey avoidance.

5. Gary Woodland: Perfect in five Honda starts, including T-2 in 2017 and T-6 in 2011. Ranks second in GIR, fifth in SGP and 13th in SGTTG. Coming off MC at Pebble, but he did win in Phoenix the week prior.

6. Tyrrell Hatton: Fired a final-round 72 to slip to T-4 at last year’s Honda. Back in form with 10 straight top-20s, including two wins and a third last time out, in Dubai.

7. Rafa Cabrera-Bello: Tied for 37th in Honda debut last year. Ranks in the top 15 in SGTTG, GIR and driving accuracy. Looked close at Riviera, where he finished T-26.

8. Brian Harman: Mixed bag here with two top-12s and two MCs in six starts, but is trying for his sixth top-8 finish of the season this week. Ranks fourth in GIR, ninth in driving accuracy and is top 12 in scrambling and bogey avoidance.

9. Tommy Fleetwood: First-timer at PGA National, though has played his way to 12th in the world rankings with six top-10s, including a win, in his last 10 worldwide starts. Fairly straight off the tee and hits a ton of greens.

10. Alex Noren: Did MC in only previous Honda start, in 2013, but enjoying a nice run on Tour with three straight finishes of T-21 or better, including playoff loss at Torrey.

11. Jason Dufner: Perfect in eight trips to PGA National, including four top-17 finishes. Not having his best ballstriking season so far, but he still has been good. Ranks 18th in bogey avoidance. Hasn’t played since T-36 at CareerBuilder, but hasn’t missed a cut on Tour since last year’s U.S. Open.

12. Patton Kizzire: Ranks eighth in GIR, seventh in bogey avoidance and T-7 in par-3 scoring. T-26 in Honda debut, in 2016, and a two-time winner this season.

13. Chesson Hadley: Has a pair of top-25s in three trips to PGA National. Already with four top-5s this season, too. Ranks T-2 in par-3 scoring, seventh in SGTTG, 15th in bogey avoidance and T-21 in GIR.

14. Charles Howell III: Eight career starts at PGA National have yielded just one MC but also just one top-10, a T-10 in 2011. Ranks top 20 in SGTTG, GIR and bogey avoidance. T-7 on Tour in par-3 scoring. Putting together another solid season with two top-10s and three other top-20s.

15. Russell Knox: He’s coming off a T-15 at Pebble and boasts two top-3 finishes in four Honda starts. Straight off the tee and ranks 30th in SGTTG, 22nd in bogey avoidance and sixth in GIR. Sleeper potential.

16. Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Making Honda debut, but he’s coming off a win at the World Super 6 in Perth and hasn’t missed a cut since the Portugal Masters last September.

17. Scott Stallings: Best finish in four Honda starts is T-21, but has back-to-back top-7s entering this week. T-12 on Tour in par-3 scoring.

18. Brandt Snedeker: Last time he teed it up here was 2011, and he withdrew. Nothing better than T-39 in four trips to PGA National. But has hit the top 25 in two straight Tour starts and leads the Tour in scrambling while ranking third in bogey avoidance and T-12 in par-3 scoring.

19. Adam Scott: Has been poor around and on the greens, but his ballstriking is still there, as he ranks 14th in SGTTG and 16th in GIR. Looked better at Riviera, though he was still T-53. Won here in 2016 and has two other top-14 showings in four total trips to PGA National.

20. Russell Henley: Won here in 2014 and has missed just one weekend in five Honda starts. T-15 last time out, at Pebble. Ranks 10th in driving accuracy.

21. Daniel Berger: MC at Riviera ended a streak of four straight top-14 finishes. Has missed the cut in each of the past two editions at PGA National after finishing second in Honda debut in 2015. Isn’t the greatest on par-3s but is on the better half of average in the other crucial stats this week.

22. Bud Cauley: Tied for 27th last year at Honda and is coming off T-20 at Riviera. Has been solid with every club this year, though he ranks T-93 in GIR and 90th in bogey avoidance.

23. Graeme McDowell: In eight trips to PGA National he has five top-14 finishes. Snapped string of four straight MCs with T-26 at Riviera.

24. Billy Horschel: Two straight MCs, but he has cracked the top 8 in each of the last two editions of the Honda. Ranks T-10 in GIR.

25. Ryan Palmer: T-2 at 2014 Honda highlights his 11-start record at this event. Also just two MCs in nine trips to PGA National. Top 25 in SGTTG, scrambling and bogey avoidance. MC in Phoenix, his last start, but also T-2 the week prior at Torrey.

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