Steve Palmer's Honda Classic first-round preview, best bets, free golf tips
Locally-based Shane Lowry could prove the pick of European representatives
When to watch
Sky Sports Golf red button, 11.45am Thursday
Shane Lowry top European
3pts 5-1 general
Richy Werenski first-round leader
1pt each-way 80-1 general
Dylan Frittelli first-round leader
1pt each-way 60-1 bet365, Betfred
Russell Henley to win threeball
1pt 6-5 BoyleSports
Early starters look set for a healthy advantage in round one of the Honda Classic, with some strong breezes forecast for the afternoon at PGA National.
Friday afternoon is forecast to be less windy, so there is the potential for some draw bias over the first two days, and first-round-leader punters are advised to concentrate on the morning starters.
PGA National is tough enough in calm conditions, but becomes a monster when strong breezes are whipping across the fairways, as is expected on the first afternoon.
Two players who tee off early represent good value FRL options - Richy Werenski and Dylan Frittelli.
Werenski, who finished 17th in last year's Honda, was fourth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational the week before last and could have a low round in him at a track which is close to his Jupiter home.
Frittelli rediscovered some form at Sawgrass last week, closing with a 68 for 22nd place in elite company, and the South African is another candidate to fly out of the traps in Palm Beach Gardens. Frittelli finished 11th in the 2018 Honda and can make merry from an 8.09am local time launchpad.
Shane Lowry will be delighted with his tee-times and is another potential first-round leader, but the Open champion may be a better bet in the top European market. Lowry, encouraged by his putting on his way to eighth place at Sawgrass last week, is based five minutes from PGA National and can be fancied to contend.
Lee Westwood has had a gruelling fortnight, finishing runner-up at Bay Hill and Sawgrass, and could prove a vulnerable favourite in the top-Euro betting.
Russell Henley, the 2014 Honda champion, may be the best first-round threeball option against Harold Varner and Kris Ventura (1.04pm).
Ante-post favourite, Daniel Berger, withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday night, suffering with a rib injury. Doc Redman, Gary Woodland and Scott Piercy withdrew after positive Covid-19 tests.
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