Course: Memorial Park GC
Past Winners: Ortiz (2020)
Course Comp: PGA National (Honda), Colonial CC (Charles Schwab)
Key Stats/Notes: Driving Distance, SG: T2G, Bogey Avoidance, Prox 175+
The PGA tour heads down to H-Town for the Houston Open where we should see a difficult test for the whole field with its grueling length and unforgiving rough all along the course. I have a gut feeling that we see a winner leave with the trophy after a single digit scoring week as this should be a tough Texas course. The course is extremely long for a par seventy, so driving distance is going to be vital to success here. We will also see a ton of long approaches here on just about every hole.
We have a ton of awesome golfers to choose from up top and it seems like the majority of the field is paying up for Sam Burns, who has had a great 2021 since the playoffs. He has truly broken out as an elite golfer and should be someone to consider from here on out. However, I’m happy to pivot off of that with the names in this field. My favorite play, though, is Tyrrell Hatton. He’s not exactly a bomber but he’s above average off of the tee in terms of distance. He’s also 1st in SG: T2G and 1st in long approaches on tougher tracks. I will have at least double the field of Tyrrell. My second favorite play is a low owned Tony Finau. A bomber’s course where short game is important is a Finau calling card and I’m glad to go way over the field on him as well. My only recommended complete fade is Sungjae Im. I love Sungjae most weeks, but I think he lacks the driving distance to make any serious noise at this price point.
The first thing you should know about this range is that this week’s priced up flavor of the month, Talor Gooch, should be over 20% owned. Aaron Wise will be highly owned as well. My recommendation is just to avoid these two chalk bombs with the most missed cut equity in this range. My favorite play in the 9s is Adam Scott. His irons are on fire, gaining at least 4 strokes on approach in three of his last four tournaments. This course suits well for a bomber with short game prowess like Scott. I also don’t mind taking a shot on Brooks Koepka and/or Joaquin Niemann. Both are bombers with above average long irons. The only downsides to these two would be Niemann’s questionable short game and Koepka’s recent form.
The first thing you should know about this field is that Jason Kokrak is mispriced by a few hundred at least. I thought he would have been in the 9s, but alas, we have him cheap and not gaining ownership. The recent form is questionable but you can surely gamble on the upside at a bomb and long irons course. If he doesn’t shoot himself in the foot with his short game, then he can certainly succeed this week. The only two guys I really want to consider down here are Max Homa and Shane Lowry. I prefer Lowry of the two due to short game ability, but both should be great plays this week with their ballstriking abilities.
This is going to be the range to pivot and make your lineup different. We have three guys shooting up over 12 percent in this range: Harold Varner, Mito Pereira, and Jhonattan Vegas. I’m happy to leave them to the field and find some solid pivots. Charley Hoffman is my favorite 7k play. He’s 6th in SG: T2G and top ten in both Proximity 175-200 and 200+. We’re at a Texas bermuda track which is great for Hoffman. I’ll be over the field by a mile here. I’m also highly considering Gary Woodland and Cameron Davis here. They’re both bombers that are both above average in the long iron department. I’m willing to gamble on the inconsistencies between the two and bet on a made cut with upside. I also don’t mind Branden Grace and Danny Willett, whom are proficient wind players on hard courses. Taylor Pendrith and Keith Mitchell also rate out nicely when it comes to bombing it off the tee. Both are inconsistent with approach play but seem to do better with longer irons.
I’m not going to dip down too much in this range but there are some names to consider. My favorite 6k punt is Joseph Bramlett, who ranks 1st in Driving Distance and above average in both Proximities 175-200 and 200+. At 6200, he will give you plenty of salary to work with. Luke List and Stewart Cink rate out highly in the model and I don’t mind either of them as a punt. I prefer Cink for ownership reasons here. There’s something about Houston that turns Sepp Straka into a beast and his numbers look good enough to consider him down here.