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The PGA Tour is starting its Florida swing with the Honda Classic. Johnny Covers breaks down his first-round leader predictions and shares his best bets. Read on to find out why he's eyeing Shane Lowery and more.

2023 Honda Classic First Round Leader Predictions, Picks: Shane Lowry Leads the Way

With this week's Honda Classic, the PGA Tour will officially kick off its Florida swing. The event will be held at PGA National, which is a par 70 course with 7,125 yards, Bermuda grass on the greens, and plenty of hazards to make even the world's best sweat bullets.

Because there are so many water hazards strewn over the course, this competition is usually fun to watch. The defending champion Sungjae Im, Billy Horschel, and Shane Lowry will be the players to watch in the field this week, as many of the more prominent names have taken the week off. 

Let's take a closer look at a few guys I expect to get off to a hot start.

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Honda Classic Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date - Thursday, February 23rd - Sunday, February 26th, 2023
  • Where - PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Where to Watch - Golf Channel, ESPN+, CBS

Click here for Honda Classic odds

The Honda Classic Predictions

Shane Lowry (+3500) Bet $100 to collect $3,600 Best odds at DraftKings, click here to bet

The Irishman had a rough start to the year but things started to fall into place last week. After an impressive start at Riv, with a new caddie for the first three days, his confidence appeared to be back as each day went on. 

After his coach arrived on Sunday, he was able to correct a few issues and his ball striking was that of old. His moving-average baseline stats have been steadily declining, but last week might have been the catalyst he needed to begin trending again in the correct direction.

Jhonattan Vegas (+4500) Bet $100 to collect $4,600 Best odds at DraftKings, click here to bet

It can be difficult to find golfers in this field with both a strong recent record and a strong course history. Vegas, though, fulfills both requirements this week. The Venezuelan's rolling figures, both long- and short-term, are among the best in the field. Over his last 48 rounds, he is third in SG: Tee-to-Green and fourth in SG: Ball-Striking, but during his last 12 rounds, he is first in both categories.

Vegas has participated in eight of the last ten years of this event, including the last six. He has recorded a T4, two top-16 finishes, two top-30 finishes, and only one missed cut throughout this span, which occurred all the way back in 2015. With two top-25 finishes in his last three starts, he has recently been playing well, and I like another hot start here.

Taylor Pendrith (+5000) Bet $100 to collect $5,100 Best odds at DraftKings, click here to bet

On a course with as many evil hazards as PGA National, Pendrith is one of the game's rising greater talents from the tee.

He played in this tournament for the first time last year, and after a third-round 74, he recorded a T25. With an additional year of experience, from a few top-20 finishes to a seat on the international squad at the Presidents Cup, I have no doubt that he will soon get his first triumph, and this looks like the right venue for it.

At the very least, expect a hot start.

The Honda Classics Picks

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Article Author


Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.


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