Humana Challenge: golf betting guide

Our tipster analyses the field and comes up with some top tips ahead of the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge in California

Phil Mickelson

The Humana Challenge, the third event of the 2013 PGA Tour season and the first in mainland America, takes place this week.

The pro-am tournament is contested over three Californian courses: La Quinta Country Club, the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West and the Palmer Private Course at PGA West.

The event has attracted a number of big names, including 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson, last season's FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker and Phil Mickelson.

With none of the three golf courses playing longer than 7,100 yards, accuracy, positioning and strong wedge play are the secrets to success in this tournament.

Mark Wilson, one of the tour's shortest hitters, proved that point last year, and the start-of-season expert will be confident of a repeat performance this time around. Mickelson, at 16/1 with Ladbrokes, could be a bit rusty, but I've got a feeling he'll hit the ground running this season. The former world number two has a very good record in California, and if his distance control with the wedges is good I'd expect him to contend this week.

Zach Johnson, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, hasn't made the best start to the season, but his game is well suited to these three courses. He is one of the best wedge players in the business, and he finished last season sixth in the PGA Tour's Strokes Gained - Putting rankings. He also has a decent record at the Humana Challenge, finishing inside the top ten last year.

Chris Kirk, at 40/1 with Ladbrokes, has put in a string of impressive performances over the past few months, including a fourth place at the CIMB Classic and a tie for fifth in Hawaii last week. Kirk makes a lot of birdies, has a decent short iron game and could record his first PGA Tour victory if he finds his range on the greens. Robert Karlsson, at 66/1 with Ladbrokes, is someone I expect to feature prominently on leaderboards this season. He suffered a well-documented case of the yips before the Open last year, but strolled through PGA Tour Q-School at the end of the season to signify his return to form. He is a class act and former European Tour Order of Merit winner, so look out for him to make a fast start to 2013.

David Hearn, at 125/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good outside bet this week. The Canadian started well last week before tailing away, but a tie for 31st represents a solid start to the season. He posted seven top-25 finishes last season and ranked 11th on approaches from 125 yards and less. Humana Challenge advised bets:

2pts each way on Phil Mickelson at 16/1 with Ladbrokes 2pts each way on Zach Johnson at 25/1 with Ladbrokes 2pts each way on Chris Kirk at 40/1 with Ladbrokes 2pts each way on Robert Karlsson at 66/1 with Ladbrokes 2pts each way on David Hearn at 125/1 with Ladbrokes

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x