The Golf Club (GC) of Houston is a par 72, measures a long 7,441 yards and will move to bermuda greens this week. The Houston Open played as the 10th easiest course in scoring relative to par last season, but played as the 24th most difficult course the year before. What changed? The wind. The weekend rounds recorded extremely winding conditions and scores averaged 73.4 on Saturday and a few strokes better on Sunday at 70.2.
Since 2003, the Houston Open played as the lead-in tournament to The Masters with the field consisting mostly of those looking for one more opportunity to qualify for Augusta, which is what happened with Ian Poulter last season when he became the last entry beating Beau Hossler in a playoff. The Houston Open has been a tournament where we’ve seen a ton of exciting finishes – since 2009, eight of the last 10 winners have either been decided in a playoff or by just one stroke. We’ve also seen players like Jim Herman at +27000, Russell Henley at +3000 and Matt Jones at +125000 win here in the past; with one of the weakest fields we’ll see all season, we should feel comfortable taking some long shots this week. Here are my favorite bets coming into Houston.
Best Score: Round 2: Sam Ryder (+115) over Bud Cauley (+105)Ryder ranked third in SG: Ball Striking yesterday while Cauley couldn’t get anything going ranking 98th, resulting in an even-par score. Cauley was able to putt well, gaining over a stroke on the field, and didn’t necessarily play all that bad. He just wasn’t able to score on the par-4s, recording just one birdie in his round. Even with a couple of missed cuts, Ryder has also shown the ability to score, ranking 13th in birdies or better gained over his last three tournaments.
Scottie Scheffler +2800 to WinAnother week and another tournament to smash Scheffler at his number. Scheffler gets some home cookin’ this week, which hopefully helps his weekend golf. Over his last four rounds on the weekend, he’s averaging a score just under 72, which is six strokes more than his scoring average on Thursday and Friday. All the proverbial stars are aligning for Scottie, he’s too good not to win one of these swing season tournaments.
Harris English +5500 to WinEnglish has gained an impressive 13.8 strokes tee-to-green total en route to his solid finishes at The Greenbrier (Top-3) and Sanderson Farms (Top-6) this season. Not only is his recent form impeccable, but he’s also been scoring dating back to June, ranking ninth in birdies or better gained over his past 24 rounds. Harris ranks inside the top-10 in SG: Putting on bermuda greens over the past 50 rounds and inside the top-15 in SG: Tee-to-green in extremely windy conditions over the same timeframe.
Shawn Stefani to Win +20000 | Top-Five +4000 | Top-10 +1600Stefani finished with a respectable top-30 in his first start of the season a couple weeks ago and should have another solid performance this week heading back to his home State of Texas where he also played his College golf. It’s not only his home ties, which make him a potential play this week, he also ranks 21st in birdie or better percentage and eighth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-green over his last 12 rounds and inside the top-50 in Strokes Gained: Putting over his last 50 rounds on bermuda. Make sure to take a look at his top-5/top-10 finish number as well if you want to hedge your bet.
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