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Cognizant Classic Free Picks, Predictions and DFS Lineup February 29 – March 3

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Cognizant Classic Betting Preview

WagerTalk golf handicapper Andy Lang offers his thoughts on the the Cognizant Classic teeing off from Champion Course in Palm Beach Garden, Florida. Andy discusses his DraftKings Darlings, golfers to who can trip you up and the course and more surrounding the Cognizant Classic starting February 29th!

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Cognizant ClassicCognizant Classic Betting Notes
When:February 29 – March 3
Where:PGA National Champions Course in Palm Beach Garden, Florida
Defending Champ:Chris Kirk
Current Favorite:Rory McIlroy (+750 at DraftKings)
TV:Golf Channel, NBC

Cognizant Classic Course: PGA National Champions Course

This is a tough course with lots of bogeys staring players in the eye. The wind is always an issue here as it’s wide open, and the sea winds whip through there constantly.

The strongest winds look to be on Friday, but anything can change quickly there so just plan on wind being a factor.

There are a lot of bunkers and lots of water hazards, and with only three Par 5’s, there aren’t a lot of birdies available.

It features the famous Bear Trap (holes 15, 16, and 17) where making it through those three holes at par is a huge accomplishment.

There isn’t one part of the game that can be shaky in order to contend as driving distance and accuracy need to be on point as does approach, and everything on and around the green.

Last year this course ranked 7th hardest, and the year before it ranked 6th hardest so look for the winner to grind out a lot of pars, avoid the huge number, and take a few birdies here and there and not force anything dangerous.

Cognizant Classic 2024 PGA Picks & Predictions | Betting Tips & Course Preview | Tee Time

The Bear Trap

15th hole-180 yard Par 3

The first hole looks like a simple Par 3, but it’s protected by a massive bunker on the left and water on the right. Any tee shot that doesn’t come to rest on the green is in trouble, and could be looking at bogey or worse.

16th hole-430 yard Par 4

The drive is essential to hit the fairway as there are bunkers on both sides, and water can come into play on shots that go the right.

Even with a perfect drive, the approach is going to be around 180-170 yards and players have to avoid bunkers on both sides of the green as well as big contours on the green. Any drive that doesn’t land in the fairway is setting up a dangerous second shot.

17th hole-190 yard Par 3

More water and bunkers as water is short and right and the huge bunker is long and left. Again, if the tee shot doesn’t come to a stop on the green, that player will be fortunate to leave with a par.

Cognizant Classic Field

Nine of the top ten players from last year will be playing this week along with last weeks winner Jake Knapp and runnerup Sami Valimaki.

Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Daniel Berger, and Cameron Young are some other notable big names joining the field.

Cognizant Classic: Players That Can Trip You Up

Jake Knapp – This is the ultimate in “Fade The Random Winner” theory I’ve seen in a while. We heard the story of Jake Knapp a million times this weekend, he was a bouncer at a nightclub not long ago, now he’s a PGA Tour winner.

He had a 3rd place at The Farmers and a 28th at The Phoenix Open before his win, but this course is a brute and he’s long, but not accurate off the tee. It’s a classic letdown spot for him on a tough course that he’s never played, I won’t be surprised to see him miss the cut this week.

Rory McIlroy – What could go wrong with Rory McIlroy being the #1 betting favorite??? Well, a lot. He hasn’t been that good in his last two events finishing 66th and 24th, and he has a win and a runner-up before that, but both those tourneys were on the DP Tour.

In his two events on the PGA Tour, he’s -0.52 total strokes gained approach, -0.43 around the green, and -0.03 putting. Not good stats coming into this course. He hasn’t played here in six years and he finished 59th, MC, and MC in his last three times here.

Chris Kirk – He has a win this season, and he won this tournament last year so he’ll be a popular pick this week, but I’ll stay away. After his win at the first event of the year, he finished 18th, 47th, 26th and MC.

Even with the win, he’s -0.10 strokes gained putting the last three months. He’s not that long off the tee, and he’s priced as a Top 12 golfer this week, but that’s way too steep for me. I’ll be looking elsewhere in DFS and other wagers.

Cognizant Classic: DraftKings Darlings

Dyland Wu $6100

He played solid golf last week finishing 24th, and he likes playing here a lot as he’s played here twice, both the last two years and he finished 30th in 2022 and 10th in 2023.

Ben Griffin $6800

Griffin has been good this season making the cut in 5 out of 6 events, and last year was the first time he played here and performed well finishing in 21st.

Mark Hubbard $7500

Hubbard has played in 6 tournaments this season and made the cut in all of them. Not only do we have good form, but we have good course history as he’s made the cut four years in a row here finishing 11th, 46th, 15th and 42nd.

Final Lineup Dylan Wu $6100, Ben Griffin $6800, Mark Hubbard $7500, Stephen Jaeger $8800, Eric Cole $9900, Cameron Young $10,700

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