3 Darkhorse Picks to Win the 2022 Honda Classic

Mito Pereira profiles as a strong darkhorse bet at the Honda Classic this weekend
Mito Pereira profiles as a strong darkhorse bet at the Honda Classic this weekend / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Happy Honda Classic week!

After a dominant performance from Joaquin Niemann at the Genesis Invitational, we head to Florida where PGA National takes center stage.

Our own Ben Heisler's betting preview sets the table for what we're looking for to feast this weekend. At a difficult course with water hazards abound, ball striking and approach shots are vital to make sure you don't implode on one hole and knock yourself out of the running.

We've got a relatively weak field in this one, which gives us a good shot to cash a longshot bet. Here are three darkhorse picks to keep in mind as the "Florida swing" of tournaments gets underway.

All odds are courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook:

Mito Pereira (+4500)

Could we get back-to-back weeks with a Chilean winner? Pereira followed up back-to-back missed cuts with a T15 finish last week and his game fits PGA National well. The best predictor of strong performance here is Strokes Gained: Approach and that's Mito's strength.

He ranks 14th on tour this year in that category and is better when the course is tougher. With smaller fairways, you need to be able to hit long approach shots with a poor lie. Well, Mito ranks 6th on tour in approaches from 150-175 yards in the rough and 14th in approach shots from the rough at 100+ yards overall.

He's 18th in average total strokes gained and 34th in bogey avoidance, so he should be able to avoid disastrous holes and it feels like it's only a matter of time before he breaks through for his first win. Some golfers excel in chaos, and at +4500 I'm happy to take a flier on one of the best in the game at playing through chaotic conditions.

Garrick Higgo (+10000)

Quick! Who leads the PGA in driving distance this year? If you guessed Garrick Higgo since this is his section, you'd be correct! The 22-year old South African has burst onto the scene behind excellent long play and is in solid form, notching a T25 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a T21 at the Waste Management Open in his last two starts.

Higgo is a monster off the tee and should give himself easier approach shots at a tough course. He's 4th on tour in going for the green, surrounded by names like Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, and Jon Rahm. Pretty good company. At 9th in strokes gained in approach shots from 75-100 yards out and 5th in approaches from 275-300 yards, he should excel at both the short and long holes this course provides.

He gained strokes around the green and off the tee in all four rounds at the Waste Management Open, and aside from a disastrous final round he gained strokes in approach in every round as well.

He needs to avoid an single-hole implosion, but it he can keep the golf ball dry he should be in contention. Ranking 25th in birdie percentage means he'll be able to make up strokes on the field if he does have a bad hole, and at +10000 I love the odds of Higgo putting it all together for four rounds.

Matthias Schwab (+15000)

You want a long shot? Well here's one for you. A two-time All-American at Vanderbilt and former top European in the World Amateur Golf rankings, Schwab has yet to put it all together on the PGA Tour but he's shown signs that strong play is coming.

He ranks 23rd in driving accuracy, 22nd in approaches from 75-100 yards and 3rd in strokes gained putting. Even if he misses the fairway, he's 2nd in approaches from 175-200 yards from the rough. If he can keep the ball in play, he can rely on his elite putting to help him contend this weekend.

If Schwab can avoid a disaster round, he's shown the ability to go low with a 62 at Pebble Beach and ranks 7th on tour in par-4 "birdie-or-better" average. At this kind of price, we're looking for a high-ceiling play and Schwab definitely has a high ceiling when he's on.