Honda Classic: Shane Lowry makes first PGA Tour appearance of the year

Pádraig Harrington also in action as Joaquin Niemann seeks back-to-back tour victories

Honda Classic

Purse: €7.05m (€1.25m to the winner)

Where: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

The course: PGA National has five golf courses in the resort with The Champion - 7,125 yards Par 70 - originally designed by Tom Fazio, playing host to the Honda Classic since 2007. Jack Nicklaus - nicknamed the Golden Bear - was involved in the redesign of the course and the famed late stretch of holes, from the 15th to the 17th, is known as the Bear Trap. The tough stretch starts with the 180 yards par three 15th which has water down the right and to the rear of the green; the 16th is a dogleg right par four with the approach played over a lake to the green; and the 172 yards par three 17th is again played mostly over water to the green.


The field: In what is the first of the Florida Swing tournaments, many of the big name players are taking a breather before an upcoming schedule that features next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational and the following week's megabucks Players. So it is that local Brooks Koepka, ranked 15th in the world, is the headline act while Joaquin Niemann is seeking wins in back-to-back weeks after his masterful display in LA. Nicolai Hojgaard is making his PGA Tour debut on a sponsor's exemption.

Quote-Unquote: "It's always a test and a battle (at PGA National), so it's more of a course where you just try and battle along and just make pars, make a couple of birdies here and there and limit your mistakes, and that's what I did last year and hopefully I'll do this year" - defending champion Matt Jones.

Irish in the field: Shane Lowry, making his first PGA Tour start of the year, is in a group with Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson (off the 10th tee, 12.34pm Irish time); Pádraig Harrington is grouped with Nick Watney and Matthew NeSmith (off the 10th at 4.45pm Irish time).

Betting: A wide open market which could make for decent each-way value: Niemann is 16/1 to back up his Genesis win while Cameron Young's strong start to his season makes him worth a look at 45/1. Russell Knox has the best career record of any player through the Bear Trap and is rated a 40/1 shot.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports (featured groups from 11.45am, with full coverage from 5.30pm).