Humana preview

A preview, statistics and best bets for this week's Humana Challenge in California

By Dave Tindall Twitter: @DaveTindallgolf.   Last Updated: 15/01/14 11:05am

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The spectacular backdrop for this week's event in California

The spectacular backdrop for this week's event in California

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The PGA Tour returns to mainland America for this week's Humana Challenge in the deserts of southern California.

Formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic and played over five rounds, this popular pro-am event became a 72-hole tournament in 2012 when the number of courses used to stage the competition was reduced from four to three.

Once again, the Palmer and Nicklaus courses at PGA West are being used, along with nearby La Quinta which made its debut in this event back in 1964.

All three venues in Palm Springs are overlooked by the Santa Rosa Mountains, with the Palmer layout remaining as tournament host.

Over the opening three days, the field will play one round at each course with those who survive the 54-hole cut heading back to Palmer on Sunday to decide the destiny of the title.

This year's instalment will be the 55th in its illustrious history and the first of six straight weeks on the west coast.

PLAYERS with GOOD to REASONABLE FORM in HUMANA CHALLENGE

Last Eight years

Player: '06 / '07 / '08 / '09 / '10 / '11 / '12 / '13

Robert Allenby: - / 8 / 12 / - / - / - / - / MC
Stephen Ames: 44 / - / - / 5 / - / 33 / 22 / 37
Chad Campbell: Won / MC / 50 / 9 / MC / 48 / MC / MC
Tim Clark: 62 / - / - / 5 / 2 / - / - / MC
Ben Crane: 30 / - / 12 / 54 / 52 / - / 8 / MC
Brendon de Jonge: - / - / - / 74 / 33 / 25 / 12 / 47
Robert Garrigus: 19 / MC / - / 14 / - / - / 2 / 16
Brian Gay: 44 / 53 / 38 / 19 / 15 / 5 / 42 / Won
Lucas Glover: 10 / 13 / 62 / 19 / - / - / - / 47
Bill Haas: 19 / 27 / 16 / 25 / Won / 2 / 64 / MC
Charley Hoffman: - / Won / 8 / 19 / MC / MC / MC / 10
Charles Howell: - / 65 / - / - / 26 / 13 / 49 / 2
Zach Johnson: - / - / - / - / - / - / 8 / 23
Matt Jones: - / - / 29 / - / 8 / 29 / - / 23
Martin Laird: - / - / 56 / 54 / MC / 22 / 14 / 47
Justin Leonard: 35 / MC / 2 / 42 / MC / 13 / 54 / 37
Jeff Maggert: 8 / - / 44 / MC / Wd / MC / 5 / 47
John Mallinger: - / MC / - / 25 / MC / - / 2 / MC
John Merrick: - / MC / 16 / 2 / 26 / - / MC / MC
Kevin Na: - / 73 / 66 / MC / 8 / 5 / 30 / MC
Ryan Palmer: 10 / MC / - / 48 / 42 / 4 / MC / 6
Pat Perez: 73 / - / - / Won / 26 / 54 / 14 / MC
Sang-Moon Bae: - / - / - / - / - / - / 14 / 27
John Senden: 5 / 33 / 22 / 9 / 39 / MC / 6 / 65
Webb Simpson: - / - / - / 5 / 33 / 13 / - / MC
Brandt Snedeker: - / 60 / - / - / 10 / MC / 8 / 23
Daniel Summerhays: - / - / - / - / - / 11 / - / 27
Nicholas Thompson: MC / - / 12 / 58 / MC / - / - / 6
David Toms: - / - / - / 25 / 42 / 33 / 6 / 79
DJ Trahan: MC / MC / Won / 14 / 7 / 61 / MC / 56
Bo Van Pelt: - / - / - / 5 / 26 / MC / 54 / 27
Jhonattan Vegas: - / - / - / - / - / Won / MC / MC
Johnson Wagner: - / 13 / 38 / MC / MC / - / 2 / 37
Boo Weekley: - / MC / 8 / - / MC / 13 / - / 65
Mike Weir: 5 / 48 / 56 / 3 / 6 / MC / - / MC
Mark Wilson: - / 33 / - / MC / - / 61 / Won / MC
Gary Woodland: - / - / - / MC / - / 2 / - / MC

PLAYERS with POOR to MEDIOCRE FORM in HUMANA CHALLENGE

Last Eight years

(No Top-40 Finishes from three or more starts since 2006)

Player: '06 / '07 / '08 / '09 / '10 / '11 / '12 / '13

Blake Adams: - / - / - / - / MC / 48 / 54 / MC
Briny Baird: - / 74 / MC / 42 / MC / - / MC / -
Mark Brooks: MC / MC / 70 / MC / MC / Wd / MC / MC
Tommy Gainey: - / - / MC / - / - / MC / MC / MC
JJ Henry: MC / - / 50 / - / - / 48 / MC / -
Jamie Lovemark: - / - / - / - / 48 / MC / 66 / -
Brendan Steele: - / - / - / - / - / MC / 66 / 56

TOP-25 Finishers at HUMANA CHALLENGE in 2013 (Not Already Listed Above)

David Lingmerth: (T-2nd)
James Hahn: (T-4th)
Scott Stallings: (T-4th)
Kevin Chappell: (T-8th)
Jason Kokrak: (T-8th)
Stewart Cink: (T-10th)
Billy Horschel: (T-10th)
Richard H Lee: (T-10th)
Brian Stuard: (T-10th)
Ricky Barnes: (T-16th)
Bryce Molder: (T-16th)
John Rollins: (T-16th)

LOWEST 15 STROKE AVERAGES at HUMANA CHALLENGE

(Last Four Years 2010/13)

Average (Rounds)

66.75: Robert Garrigus (8)
67.25: Tim Clark (8)
67.25: Zach Johnson (8)
67.50: Brian Gay (18)
67.56: Daniel Summerhays (9)
67.63: Sang-Moon Bae (8)
67.63: Gary Woodland (8)
67.71: Matt Jones (14)
67.76: Bill Haas (17)
67.83: Charles Howell (18)
67.88: Ryan Palmer (17)
67.94: Brandt Snedeker (17)
68.00: Camilo Villegas (8)
68.06: Brendon de Jonge (18)
68.06: Kevin Na (17)

Min. No. of Rounds = 8

AVERAGE TOURNAMENT POSITIONS for PGA Tour events staged in CALIFORNIA

(Leading 15 Averages for Last Five Years (since Jan 1st 2009))

Average (Events)

31.22: Brandt Snedeker (18)
33.13: Bill Haas (16)
37.63: Spencer Levin (16)
37.69: Webb Simpson (13)
41.15: Freddie Jacobson (13)
42.42: Rickie Fowler (12)
42.45: Charlie Wi (22)
43.18: Retief Goosen (11)
43.94: Charles Howell (18)
45.79: Tim Clark (14)
46.35: Kevin Stadler (17)
46.92: Brian Gay (13)
47.07: Matt Jones (15)
47.73: Camilo Villegas (11)
50.50: Kevin Na (20)

Min. No. of Events = 10

LOWEST ROUNDS SINCE 2000

60: Robert Gamez (2004) - Indian Wells
60: Pat Perez (2006) - Palmer
61: Brent Geiberger (2000) - Indian Wells
61: Joe Durant (2001) - Indian Wells
61: Pat Perez (2003) - Bermuda Dunes
61: Jay Haas (2003) - Palmer
61: Tim Herron (2003) - Palmer
61: Davis Love (2005) - Tamarisk
61: Jesper Parnevik (2009) - Palmer
61: Pat Perez (2009) - Palmer
61: Charlie Wi (2009) - Nicklaus
61: Steve Stricker (2009) - Palmer
61: Ryan Moore (2012) - Nicklaus
61: Robert Garrigus (2012) - Nicklaus
62: 35 times

Note: The lowest round in tournament history was carded by David Duval in 1999 when he fired a closing 59 at PGA West (Palmer) to win by one stroke. The lowest tournament round ever registered at La Quinta is 61 by Lennie Clements in 1994.

PGA West (Palmer): Par 72; 6,950 yards
PGA West (Nicklaus): Par 72; 6,924 yards
La Quinta: Par 72; 7,060 yards

Winning Totals (Last Three Years):

2013: - 263 (Brian Gay)
2012: - 264 (Mark Wilson)
2011: - 333 (Jhonattan Vegas)

Conclusion

Pat Perez has twice shot 61s in this event and clearly loves the combination of making birdies and wisecracking with his amateur partners.

It remains the scene of his only PGA Tour victory back in 2009 but some good recent form suggests he could shine again.

Perez was 16th in the OHL Classic in Mexico on his last start of 2013 while he's kicked 2014 off with a tied eighth in last week's Sony Open.

Take him at 66/1.

Ryan Palmer's reputation as a birdie machine has stood him in good stead here and in the last three years he's twice cracked the top six.

Ryan Palmer: Has flourished here in recent years

Palmer was fourth in 2011 after closing with a 64 while he took sixth last year after bookend 65s.

He's warmed up for another crack at the Humana with a top 10 in last week's Sony Open where he backed up his comment that "I hit it great" by finishing fourth in greens in regulation.

Back the three-time PGA Tour winner at 35/1.

Kevin Na has a solid bank of form in the West Coast events and has made the top 10 in six of his last 17 events in California.

Here, he was fifth in 2011 and eighth in 2010.

Last year Brian Gay won this after finishing 31st the week before in Hawaii where he'd followed up an opening 70 with three rounds in the 60s.

Similarly, Na closed 67-67-66 in Hawaii after a first round 70 so he should be in a good frame of mind after his eighth place finish (ranked 2nd in greens in reg).

As one of the slowest players on Tour he certainly won't mind the five-and-a-half hour rounds in this pro-am and he's worth an each-way punt at 66/1.

At the top of the market, Brandt Snedeker could be the one to shine.

His last five starts in California have yielded two wins and a second and he's made the top 10 in two of his four starts here.

He got off to a fast start on the West Coast last year and could repeat that here where birdies are very much the requirement.

Best bets

1pt e.w. Pat Perez at 66/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1.5pts e.w. Ryan Palmer at 35/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Kevin Na at 66/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
3pts win Brandt Snedeker at 16/1

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