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BlogWho will win in Houston on Sunday

Shell Houston Open

April 2 – 5, 2015

Golf Club of Houston(Tournament Course)

Humble, Texas

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,441

Purse: $6.6 million

with $1,188,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Jones

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Who should win on Sunday:

With the Masters just five days away, it’s a time to start getting your game in gear.  Professional golf is a complicated affair, you can’t play great every day (unless your the Tiger of old) so the secret is to peak the Thursday of a major championship.  Of course we have seen players do well in the weeks before a major and win, but on the whole were looking for players to start getting there games in shape so that they peak next week, not this week.

The hottest male player is Jordan Spieth.  As you can see from our who’s hot index he has played the best over the course of the last seven weeks with a win, a runner-up and four top-sevens in his last five starts.  Spieth started the day three shots off the lead, but he grabbed the top spot with a 5-under 67 that was capped by a 41-foot bomb on No. 16.  In round three, Spieth hit an impressive 13 of 14 fairways in regulation (92.9 percent) and 16 of 18 greens (88.9 percent).  More importantly he looks fresh and ready to win again.

I don’t know how this bodes for his performance next week.  With first place paying just under $1.2 million you have to play for that on Sunday, even if it means peaking too soon.  Your not going to see a player go back to his accommodations and say he needs to take it easy and save his energy for next week, of course a player wants to win this week and next week.  Spieth is in the drivers seat with a one shot lead over three, so it will be interesting to see if he could carry his great momentum into Sunday and then next week’s Masters.  Historically we have seen many from Tiger to Lee Trevino to Snead, Hogan and Nelson win the week before and at a major. Phil Mickelson won twice the week before a major and then win a major.  The last time he did it was in 2013 when he won the Scottish Open followed by a win in the British Open.  So anything is possible and with Spieth being young he won’t get tired.

So the big question going into Sunday, can Spieth keep the momentum going?  The answer is yes.  Including the Northern Trust he has played in five events and is 35 under par.  Remarkably he has played in events like last week’s Valero Texas Open in which scores were high and he has done well.   and in events that scores, like last week’s Valero Texas Open.  In his last 23 rounds he has only been over par twice, both at the WGC-Cadillac were he finished T-17th.  So you have to think that he will carry on and play well on Sunday.

There are eight players within three shots of him with another another eight within five shots of him, so realistically what are Spieth’s chances?  Probably one in three.  With scoring low, five have shot 65 or lower, you have to think that somebody that is close to Spieth will shot 65 or 66 on Sunday.  So I have to think that Spieth’s goal will be a 68 to make sure of the victory.

Who does Jordan have to worry about the most?  I would say everyone.  Of the eight players within three shots of him, only three rounds in the 60s have been shot, all the rest were in the 60s.  So you know that those around him are going to shot 68 or 69 so there isn’t any room to spare for Jordan.

If there was one player to worry about who would it be?  I would be worried about Paul Casey.  He has played great all week, with the exception of the last three holes which he has played in four over.  But Casey is ranked 6th in strokes gained from tee to green and T-6th in strokes gained putting.  He has hit the most fairways of anyone, missing just eight of 42.  But the main reason I like him he has won before at Golf Club of Houston in 2009 and those kind of memories seem to help.For six of the eight players within Spieth, they have something else riding on Sunday.  For Scott Piercy, Johnson Wagner, Austin Cook, Shawn Stefani, Kelvin Day and Charles Howell III they aren’t in the Masters and a win would bring a magical ticket to the Masters.  Now last year it didn’t seem to bother Matt Jones who got that last minute invite, but it’s a lot of added pressure.

Will weather play a factor on Sunday?  It should, showers are predicted to start at about 4am and go through the who afternoon.  The good news and probably the only reason the PGA Tour didn’t move up the tee times is that it’s going to be cool, in the low 70s which will mean no thunderstorms.   But this will add another element for someone to win, so the question will be is there any mudders in the top-20.  I don’t see any.

Below is a list of the top-32 players on the leader board going to seven under par which is seven shots back of Jordan Spieth:

 

Those that have played well of late:

Of the top-32 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the Shell Houston Open

Player Valero Texas Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Valspar Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic Joburg Open Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Farmers
Jordan Spieth
(262.67 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T7
(18.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
J.B. Holmes
(146 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T10
(13.33)
T2
(33.33)
Patrick Reed
(137.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T29
(7)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(109 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T13
(37)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
T24
(8.67)
Paul Casey
(92 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Alex Cejka
(83.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T67
(0)
T34
(5.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Charles Howell III
(73 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T21
(29)
T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP T5
(23.33)
Shawn Stefani
(68.33 pts)
T26
(24)
DNP T21
(29)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP
Sergio Garcia
(58.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(57.67 pts)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Tringale
(49 pts)
T40
(10)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T47
(1)
DNP T69
(0)
Brendon De Jonge
(49 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T27
(7.67)
Keegan Bradley
(36 pts)
DNP DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP T41
(3)
Luke Guthrie
(27.67 pts)
T50
(1)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T61
(0)
K.J. Choi
(25 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP T53
(0)
Scott Piercy
(19.67 pts)
T40
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T49
(0.33)
Jim Herman
(19.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T65
(0)
T32
(6)
Chad Collins
(12.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
T17
(11)
Hunter Mahan
(10 pts)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP 65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(10)
T54
(0)
DNP
Michael Putnam
(8.33 pts)
75
(0)
DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
T21
(9.67)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-32 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the Shell Houston Open

Player Valero Texas Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Valspar Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic Joburg Open Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Farmers
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
(-21.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Rose
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 55
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Andrew Putnam
(-13 pts)
T72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Graham Delaet
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T57
(0)
DNP
Johnson Wagner
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP
J.J. Henry
(-8.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
T11
(13)
Jhonattan Vegas
(-0.33 pts)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 75
(0)
DNP T11
(13)
Kevin Streelman
(0 pts)
DNP DNP T67
(0)
T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Russell Henley
(5 pts)
DNP DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP
Michael Putnam
(8.33 pts)
75
(0)
DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
T21
(9.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Hunter Mahan
(10 pts)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP 65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(10)
T54
(0)
DNP
Chad Collins
(12.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
T17
(11)

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

Be interesting to see if Spieth has that Tiger Woods mojo that will carry him not only to a win on Sunday in Houston but to some good play at the Masters next week.  Rain will make things harder and you will probably see a Paul Casey, Charles Howell III or even Ergio Garcia and Alex Cejka play well.  One person that is hiding just a shot back is Johnson Wagner, who like Paul Casey won this event on this course in 2008.  That win got his PGA Tour career rolling and he has done ok, until the last two years.  A victory could help him roll along with his tour card secure for another two years and a return to Augusta National.  A lot is riding for not only Spieth but those that are close to him.  A 65 by anyone close would spell an instant million in not only money but fame for the next couple of years.

 

Who to watch for on Sunday at Houston:

Best Bets:

Jordan Spieth

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Leads by 1 CUT T50

He is in the drivers seat and is playing well. But he is still needs to shot 68 or better to win a tall order.

Paul Casey

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T6th, 3 shots back CUT CUT CUT Win

He has won here before and he needs to make his mark again, think that he has the game to go low on Sunday.

Patrick Reed

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T10th, 4 shots back CUT

Making up four shots is very easy for a guy like Reed. Has to get off to a great start.

Best of the rest:

Shawn Stefani

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
5th, 2 shots back 5 CUT T36

Has had a great year and he could go low on Sunday

Charles Howell III

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T6th, 3 shots back CUT T10 T19 CUT T58 T47 T44 17 CUT

He is a mudder, won the Northern Trust under the same circumstances back in 2007

Solid contenders

Keegan Bradley

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T10th, 4 shots back T43 T10 T4 T51

Has the power to go low and it’s about time that he gets in the heat of action on Sunday.

Russell Henley

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T6th, 3 shots back T7 T45

In both of his wins he went low on Sunday and was the last standing at the end of play.

Johnson Wagner

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2, 1 shot back CUT CUT T29 T36 71 CUT Win T9

Has won three times on the PGA Tour so he knows what it takes to win on Sunday. He has a low round in him.

Long shots that could come through:

Phil Mickelson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T18th, 6 shots back T12 T16 T4 Win T35 CUT T23 T28

Six back can be made up if he can shot 62, you never know what Phil will do next.

Sergio Garcia

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12th, 5 shots back 3 T77

He also has come from behind, but a lot of times he has left it on the 17th or 18th holes.

Alex Cejka

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12th, 5 shots back T36 T50 T64 CUT T42 CUT T49 T21

A good track record in poor conditions.

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