The Honda Classic delivered a stunning final round from PGA National and we now dissect the PGA Tour golf power rankings before the API.
If you’d asked a casual observer if there was any chance that Daniel Berger didn’t win The Honda Classic as he entered Sunday’s final 18 holes with a five-shot lead, the majority of people would tell you that he had the victory secured already. That, however, doesn’t take into account the immense challenge that PGA National gives even PGA Tour players — nor does it factor Sepp Straka going nuclear on the field.
After a double-bogey on the third hole and then two more bogeys in his next three holes, Berger found himself already caught by Shane Lowry with Sepp Straka and others nipping at the heels of the lead as well. And for a moment, it looked as if the former Open champion Lowry was going to run away with it in his own right.
Instead, Lowry somewhat plateaued down the stretch while Straka kept putting himself in great position. And that came to a head in the pouring rain on the 72nd hole. Straka laced a drive in the fairway to easily get on the green in two and then two-putt for a birdie to take the lead. With an errant tee shot and suspect third shot after laying up, Lowry couldn’t force a playoff with a birdie, thus giving Straka his first career win and making him the first Austrian to win on the PGA Tour.
Before we put The Honda Classic fully in the rearview, though, we need to assess the PGA Tour golf power rankings and look at the players who raised their stock and who saw their stock fall this week as we now venture to the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
PGA Tour golf power rankings: Stock up after The Honda Classic
Sepp Straka – Because he had such long odds to win, it might’ve slipped under the radar that Straka had been playing well coming into this event. He hadn’t missed a cut in 2022 and had two top-16 finishes in his previous three starts before coming to The Honda. But what Straka was able to do this week showed upside we, frankly, haven’t seen from him before. He was first in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and fourth in putting as well. This might not mean he’s going to win a ton moving forward, but it’s a good sign that the 28-year-old could be about to turn a corner.
Cameron Young – It went a bit under the radar (partially because he fired off a 65 on Sunday to make it happen), but one week after contending at the Genesis, Cameron Young didn’t fade into oblivion. He not only the made the cut but that 5-under final round launched him into another top-20 finish. With a player whose greatest strength is his distance off the tee, that performance at this venue is something to take note of and be optimistic about.
Adam Svensson – The Bear Trap undoubtedly sunk its teeth into Svensson on Sunday but the Canadian continues to showcase some impressive form since coming up from the Korn Ferry Tour. His T-9 this week is his second top-10 finish since the turn of 2022. The putter is his biggest enemy right now but, if he can find something with the flat stick on a given week, he’s showing he has the rest of the game to legitimately win on the PGA Tour.
Shane Lowry – Because his rain-soaked 72nd hole went so poorly, there are going to be those who dismiss Lowry this week. They shouldn’t. A lengthy hiatus from the U.S. prior to this past week overshadowed the Irishman playing well overseas but he is rounding into some good form that should play well anywhere. He needs to find stability with the driver but his irons and putter were on-point at The Honda, which is a good sign of things to come.
PGA Tour golf power rankings: Stock down after The Honda Classic
Patrick Reed – In my DFS preview for this past week, I faded Reed saying that his form had not been anywhere near worth his price there. After he shot 9-over on his back-nine on Friday to miss the cut, that feels ever prevalent. The big weakness for Reed over this stretch has been his iron and wedge play and he lost nearly 6.0 strokes to the field with those clubs this past week. He’s in the wilderness with his game right now and, until we see otherwise, he’s an auto-fade for me.
Matthew Wolff – Putting Wolff here is obvious in some respects due to the fact that he was in dead last at 17-over to miss the cut. However, PGA National doesn’t necessarily reward length off the tee and demands tight accuracy throughout the bag. As such, this is just a terrible fit for Wolff, especially with the current state of his game. Perhaps a bigger track will show some more positive signs but this was just plain ugly this week.
Nicolai Hojgaard – One of the underrated storylines of the week was DP World Tour standout Nicolai Hojgaard, just 20 years old, making his PGA Tour debut. With two wins on the DP World Tour, there was at least intrigue about how he’d fare, even in a weaker field. Sadly, it didn’t go well at all. With a 76-72 on Thursday-Friday, he missed the cut with barely a whimper. This isn’t to write him off completely but it does say that perhaps he has some more work to be done before he’s ready for the PGA Tour.