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BlogHouston Open Preview and Picks

Houston Open

October 10th – 13, 2019

Golf Club of Houston (Tournament Course)

Humble, TX

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,441

Purse: $7.5 million

with $1,350,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Ian Poulter

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 10 of the top 100 and 2 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Those in the top-100 include #37 Henrik Stenson, #43 Keegan Bradley, #59 Lucas Bjerregaard, #60 Tom Lewis, #71 Cameron Champ, #75 Kyle Stanley, #82 Scottie Scheffler, #87 Russell Knox, #97 Brian Harman, and #98 Luke List.

Last year there were 13 top-50 players

The field includes 12 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2020.  Those players are #1 Sebastian Munoz, #7 Tom Hone,  Harris English, #10 Brian Harman, #11 Lanto Griffin, 13 Pat Perez, #16 Richy Werenski, #20 Carlos Ortiz, #21 Xinjun Zhang, #22 Denny McCarthy, #23 Scottie Scheffler and #25 Mark Hubbard..

The field includes 6 past champions: Russell Henley (2017), Jim Herman (2016), Matt Jones (2014), D.A. Points (2013), Hunter Mahan (2012) and Johnson Wagner (2008).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Shell Houston Open field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Shell Houston Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Shell Houston Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Houston Open

Player Shriners Hospitals Safeway Open Dunhill Links Champ. Sanderson Farms Champ. BMW PGA Champ. The Greenbrier Korn Ferry Tour Champ. Tour Champ. Boise Open BMW Champ. Children’s Hospital Northern Trust
Sebastian Munoz
(179.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T33
(17)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T43
(3.5)
Lanto Griffin
(169.67 pts)
T18
(32)
T17
(33)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP 13
(24.67)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(164.33 pts)
T74
(0)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP
Harris English
(161.67 pts)
DNP T33
(17)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T3
(60)
T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Cameron Champ
(158.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP T21
(14.5)
Richy Werenski
(129.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T3
(60)
T7
(36.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP
Brian Harman
(128 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
Tom Lewis
(126.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bronson Burgoon
(104.33 pts)
T55
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP
Carlos Ortiz
(96.33 pts)
T37
(13)
T40
(10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
Tom Hoge
(96 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T39
(11)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T20
(10)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP
Xinjun Zhang
(93.33 pts)
T16
(34)
T7
(55)
DNP 60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T46
(2.67)
DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
Mark Hubbard
(90 pts)
T42
(8)
T13
(37)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
David Hearn
(86.33 pts)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP T57
(0)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Denny McCarthy
(84.67 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Brian Gay
(77 pts)
T7
(55)
T23
(27)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Pat Perez
(75 pts)
3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Robby Shelton
(70.67 pts)
T42
(8)
T52
(0)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Zac Blair
(70 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T9
(15)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
Kramer Hickok
(67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
3
(60)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(66.33 pts)
T18
(32)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Peter Uihlein
(60.67 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP T36
(9.33)
T15
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP
Dominic Bozzelli
(54.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T47
(2)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP
Beau Hossler
(52.67 pts)
T29
(21)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 67
(0)
DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Matt Jones
(52.67 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(10)
Harry Higgs
(49.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T23
(27)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(49.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Harrington
(48.67 pts)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Joseph Bramlett
(47.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T14
(24)
T26
(16)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP
Robert Streb
(47 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP 66
(0)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Cameron Tringale
(44.33 pts)
DNP T44
(6)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Matthew NeSmith
(44.33 pts)
T18
(32)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
George McNeill
(43.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tyler Duncan
(43.33 pts)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP T71
(0)
DNP
Zack Sucher
(39.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T24
(17.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T71
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Houston Open

Player Shriners Hospitals Safeway Open Dunhill Links Champ. Sanderson Farms Champ. BMW PGA Champ. The Greenbrier Korn Ferry Tour Champ. Tour Champ. Boise Open BMW Champ. Children’s Hospital Northern Trust
Nelson Ledesma
(-45 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
Sepp Straka
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Martin Trainer
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Stadler
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Michael Kim
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
Sangmoon Bae
(-26.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patton Kizzire
(-23.67 pts)
T42
(8)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Sebastian Cappelen
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T64
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

After going years with a great sponsor in Shell and a great date the week before the Masters which equaled lots of marquee names playing in this event, they have no real sponsor, one of the worst fields of the year and buried in October when football is king in Texas.  It’s a big fall from the top, but thanks to some help from ownership of the Houston Astros, the tournament is still alive and has a future.  This will be its last year at Golf Club of Houston and will move next year to Memorial Park, the reverend public course which held the Houston Open several years in the 50s and 60s.  The hope is to bring back this event for future years but for this year it won’t be that big of a deal as more attention will go to the Italian Open which has a much better field.

A fantasy golf item

The PGA Tour changed there rule this year on the cut line.  It use to be the top-70 and ties if the field had too many people they made a 54 hole cut, but those players were counted as making the cut and earning a check.  The change they made was to bring the cut down from 70 to 65 and now will eliminate the 54 hole cut.

This is going to make it even harder for those picking fantasy players.  As we know the importance for your player to play 72 holes and accumulate points for all 72 points, instead of just collecting points for just 36 or 54 holes is important.  So look for it to be harder for you to pick all six players for 72 holes, but if you do the odds are good that you will make a check.  So whenever you’re making those choices, this about making cuts as important in making verge picks.

Things you need to know about the  Houston Open

This will be the 72nd edition of the Houston Open.  This is its 14th and last year at the Golf Club of Houston which use to be called Tournament Course at Redstone.  Started next year the event moves to Memorial Park, a public course near downtown Houston.  Golf Club of Houston was created mainly with the Houston Open in mind. In prior years the tournament was held across the street at the Members Course at Redstone between 2003 and 2005.  Before that, the TPC at the Woodlands had been the site between 1985 and 2002.  Courses used before 1985 include the West course at the Woodlands, River Oaks C.C., Memorial Park G.C., Pine Forest C.C., Brae Burn C.C., Sharpstown C.C., Champions G.C., Westwood G.C., and Quail Valley G.C.  The first Houston Open was played in 1946 and was called the Tournament of Champions. Byron Nelson beat Ben Hogan that year by two strokes at River Oaks.

Course information:
  • Golf Club of Houston
  • Humble, Tx.
  • 7,441 yards     Par 36-36–72
  • The tournament course at Redstone features a course rating of 76.0 and a slope rating from the back tees of 144. The tees, fairway, and rough are TifSport bermudaGrass as the greens are Miniverde bermudagrass. The course is a semi-private course and played by the public.
  • The average green size at Redstone is 6,500 square feet, which is a little larger than average on the PGA Tour. The course has 50 bunkers and water comes into play on 10 holes.
  • In 2018 Golf Club of Houston was the 42nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to an average of 70.60 which is a shot and a half under par.
  • In 2017 Golf Club of Houston was the 24th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to an average of 71.98 which is just about par.
  • In 2016 Golf Club of Houston was the 22nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to an average of 71.89 which is just about par.
  • In 2015 Golf Club of Houston was the 41st hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.86 average, playing 1.14 strokes over par.
  • In 2014 Golf Club of Houston was the 23rd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.24 average, playing .245 strokes over par.
  • In 2013 the Redstone was the 25th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.87 average, playing .132 strokes under par.
  • Golf Club in Houston is an anomaly. It’s a relatively new course with history, located on the site of the former El Dorado Country Club. Designed by Jay Riviere, El Dorado Country Club opened in the 1960s but was closed in the early 1990s as a victim of a suffering Houston economy following the oil bust.
  • Golf Club in Houston is one of only a couple dozen courses in the country that are open to the public and host a PGA Tour event.  Rees Jones designed it with PGA Tour Professional David Toms serving as the course design consultant.
  • The course has a variety of different holes, but what sticks out are the short par 4s.  Four of them are under 400 yards (holes 1, 3, 10 & 12) but they’re offset by four par 4s that are longer than 460 yards (holes 5, 6, 17 & 18).  It also has a killer finish with the par 3, 16th hole playing at 204 yards and the final two holes playing at 489 and 488 yards.  The last hole was the hardest hole on the course last year playing to a 4.22 average.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Golf Club of Houston:

The longtime lead-in to the Masters took last year off due to lack of sponsorship and is now part of the fall stretch of tournaments for the 2020 season. It will return to the Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament course for this year for the final time before shifting to Memorial Park which held the event 14 times between 1947 and 1963.
So for this year, we are basing this on the most important stats for the Golf Club of Houston, based on data from the 2018 Houston Open (wasn’t played in 2019), and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at G.C. of Houston in 2018 was 70.60 so with par being 72, that means the average score was par and a half under par, making G.C. of Houston the 42nd hardest course to score on in 2018. It’s also important to see how the weather could play a factor, in 2018 weather couldn’t have been better, but in 2017 when conditions were overcast with some showers over the weekend with the wind blowing 10 and 20 mph the course played to a 71.98 average and was 24th hardest on tour. This year it will be hot the first two days with a front going through on Friday dropping temperatures to the mid-70s for the weekend. It will blow 12 mph on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and be very nice for Sunday. So the significant factor for the players, it will be windy which gives the course some bite.

In looking at the stats for Golf Club of Houston from the last time it was played one thing is apparent, the course is for bombers. In past years most of the players in the top ten were in the top-ten in driving distance stats, but that didn’t happen in 2018 as only 1 of the 13 top-ten players finished in the top-ten. The only way to explain the difference was the weather and since it will be windy I can see long hitters having the advantage again. Look at some of the champions at Golf Club of Houston, J.B. Holmes, Matt Jones, Phil Mickelson hit it long. So those that know how to beat it out there have a significant advantage since accuracy doesn’t come into play. So for our first stat, we pick Strokes Gained from tee-to-Green because this is a good barometer if a player is considered a “bomber.” Last time in his Houston Open win, Ian Poulter who isn’t considered a long driver, more in the middle of the road in distance was 23rd for the week in SG Off-the-Tee and 4th in SG Tee-to-Green. So you can see one of the keys for Poulter’s victory Our second stat is Proximity to the hole because the greens are smooth (44th hardest last time) to hit, but it’s essential to get it close to the pin from the fairway. For the week Golf Club of Houston was T-24th for the year with the players hitting it an average of 34 feet, 11 inches away Poulter was T-4th in Greens hit and 29th in proximity to hole Next is scrambling if you miss the green you have to get it up and down. One of the things that the folks that run this event use to do were get conditions on the course to match those at Augusta National since the course used to be played the week before the Masters. So scrambling is very important in the Houston Open. It ranked 48th on Tour, and Poulter was T-14th showing the importance of getting it up and down from off the green. Last is par breakers because you have to make a lot of birdies and eagles to do well. Last year the course ranked 32nd as Poulter was T-1st in this stat because he made lots of birdies (23) with ranked him T-1st so you can see the importance of this and all of our stats for this week.

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: The per round average of the number of Strokes the player was better or worse than the field average on the same course & event minus the Players Strokes Gained putting value.

*Proximity to Hole: Average length that a player hits from the pin with shots from the fairway.

*Scrambling: So which course is tough to get it up and down on holes players miss the greens. Since all of the area’s around the greens are mowed short, making it a lot like Augusta National it should be easier for players to getting it up and down.

*ParBreakers: The course allows a lot of birdies and eagles to be made, so ParBreakers is important for the players.

The 131 players of the field of 144 that have stats from 2020:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here are the other 121 players stats from 2020

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Henrik Stenson – $11,400
  • Cameron Champ – $10,800
  • Brian Harman – $10.600
  • Daniel Berger- $10.400
  • Russell Henley – $10,100
  • Scottie Scheffler – $9,900
  • Pat Perez – $9,700
  • Denny McCarthy – $9,500
  • Sebastian Munoz – $9,400
  • Kyle Stanley – $9,300
  • Russell Knox – $9,200
  • Matt Jones – $9,100
  • Keegan Bradley – $9,000

I have to say this is a tough field to pick from.  The key is to look at those that play solidly in past events at Golf Club at Houston, Russell Henley, Daniel Berger, Henrik Stenson and Keegan Bradley along with those that have played well in the first four events on tour, Lanto Griffin, Richy Werenski, Matt Jones and Denny McCarthy.  This week will be one of those weeks were someone who finds some special magic in his swing or his confidence will surprise the golfing world, we see this about 15 times a year.  We saw this at the Sanderson Farms when Sebastian Munoz when he won in a playoff.  So what about the key players?  Henrik Stenson is $11,400 and someone that should be considered.  He has played well in Europe, was T-17th at the BMW PGA and T-3rd at the Scandinavian Invitational, but his record is good on this course so you can’t go wrong with him this week.  Cameron Champ at $10,800 went from winning in Napa to missing the cut in Vegas, kind of figured after the emotional week with his grandfather, a bit surprised to see him playing this week I say take a pass on him.  Brian Harman at $10,600 is a tough choice, not a good record on this course but played well this year, I would consider him.  Daniel Berger is $10,400 and I like him a lot, has played good this year and been in the running in three of his three starts at Houston.  The same with Russell Henley at $10,100 who has been in the top-10 the last five times this event has been played including a win in 2017.  Look for more of the same as he tries to get another win before the event changes venues.  Scottie Scheffler at $9,900 has never played here and has been ok on tour, but the price is a bit high when you get Russell for about the same amount.  Pat Perez at $9,700 is high but has some value considering the last time he played at Houston in 2015 he was T-11th and his last start was 3rd at Shriners.  But that course was totally different so I would avoid Perez.  Denny McCarthy at $9,500 is also one to consider since he was T-9th last year, but again different course and in his only Houston start was T-43rd so save the money.  Sebastian Munoz is $9,400 and I say save the money, just coming down from winning the course is not good for him.  Kyle Stanley at $9,300 was T-8th the last time he played at Houston in 2017, his only 2020 start he was T-48th in Vegas, I still think he is good for this week.  Russell Knox at $9,200 is a no, just nothing to show is worth the gamble.  Matt Jones at $9,100 has won at Houston in 2014 but has struggled since I say no to him.  Keegan Bradley at $9,000 is worth the gamble, he will make the cut and will make a lot of birdies.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Harris English is $8,900 and has played well this year and is a good pick for you.  Bud Cauley at $8,600 is a player that you can pick, the season has been good and he was T-8th in 2012.  Beau Hossler at $8,300 lost to Ian Poulter last year in a playoff and he would love to prove that he can win on the PGA Tour.  Carlos Ortiz at $8,200 is one to consider, hasn’t played well in his two Houston starts but has been good in four 2020 starts, worth the price.  Lanto Griffin at $8,000 is also a good choice due to his four 2020 starts, he could surprise all this week.  Robby Shelton at $7,900 is another one to watch, has made the cut in all four and could do some damage this week.  Richy Werenski at $7,700 is another player that based on his play in 2020 that you may want to consider for this week, was T-3rd at Greenbrier.

Are there any “Bargains” out there?

As I have said, this is a terrible field and frankly, there are no real bargains that are worth the money.  To be frank, this is a good week no to play fantasy golf in, best to check at the Italian Open games.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Shell Houston Open:

The key stat for the winner:
  • This is a bombers type of course; length helps to get it down the fairways.  But that is the most crucial aspect of playing well.
  • The relevant stat is hitting lots of greens, the last year Houston was played in 2018 Ian Poulter hit 60 of 72 greens and was ranked T-4th.  The previous year, 2017 winner Russell Henley hit 57 of 72 greens and was ranked T-4th.  The year before Jim Herman was T-10th in greens hit, the same ranking that 2015 winner J.B. Holmes was.  In 2014 Matt Jones was 2nd while in 2013 D.A. Points was T10th. In 2012 Hunter Mahan was tied for the lead in hitting greens, one of two champions since 2004 that led this stat. Between 2009 and 2011 that stat was in play with 2009 winner Paul Casey ranking 22nd, 2010 winner Anthony Kim ranking T53rd and 2011 winner Phil Mickelson ranking T12th. But of the previous nine winners on two other courses, they ranked tenth or lower in greens hit.
  • The 2006 winner, Stuart Appleby, hit 56 of the 72 greens and that was 2nd best in the field.  In 2007, Adam Scott won while hitting 57 of 72 greens which ranked T8.  Runner-up in 2007 Stuart Appleby was 4th in that stat, and Bubba Watson was 12th.  Fourth-place finisher Tommy Armour III led the stat.   2008 winner Johnson Wagner hit 56 of 72 greens and ranked T4th while the leader in greens hit Billy Mayfair finished T4th.  One last thing, since being played at the tournament course three runner-ups led greens in regulation, Vaughn Taylor in 2010, Chris Kirk in 2011 and Matt Kuchar in 2014.  So hit a lot of greens and you will do great this week.
Here are some more key stats to look for this week:
  • Unimportant stat: Hitting lots of fairways is not that important at Golf Club at Houston. Sure last year’s winner Ian Poulter was 3rd in fairways hit and followed the lead of 2017 winner Russell Henley who ranked T-4th in fairways hit and was the first winner in the years the event has been played at Golf Club of Houston.  Before that in 2016 Jim Herman was T-16th in greens hit, 2015 winner J.B. Holmes was ranked 71st (dead last).  In 2014 Matt Jones was T25th while 2013 champion D.A. Points was T33rd. The year before Hunter Mahan was T33rd while Mickelson was T71st, 2010 champion Anthony Kim was 80th, 2009 winner Paul Casey ranked T36th while 2008 champion Johnson Wagner was T41st in hitting fairways.  The trend is not hitting it straight anymore on the PGA Tour it’s hitting it long, going a chasing it and hitting the next one on the green and making the birdie putt.
  • Interesting to note that since the Golf Club of Houston was first used in 2006, results show that the course is in the top 25% in length of drives while in driving accuracy it’s in the middle of all the other courses used on the PGA Tour.  What this means is that longer hitters that don’t hit fairways have a slight advantage over straight, short hitters.  That is why the list of champions at Golf Club of Houston included long hitters as J.B. Holmes, Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson.
  • Playing well on the par 4s. In 2018 Ian Poulter was 10 under, in 2017 Russell Henley was 11 under, in 2016 Jim Herman was 7 under while in 2015 J.B. Holmes was 12 under while in 2014 Matt Jones was 4 under on them while D.A. Points in 2013 was 10 under. In 2012 Hunter Mahan was 11 under, Phil Mickelson was 3 under in 2011.  Anthony Kim was 4 under in 2010, Paul Casey was 5 under in 2009, Johnson Wagner was 4 under in 2008, Adam Scott was 7 under on the par 4s in 2007 while Appleby was 13 under on them in 2006.  It’s a rare feat when players score lower on the par 4s than the par 5s.
  • In most events, you make up shots on par 5s.  But at Golf Club of Houston, the par 5s are very demanding, and players can’t overpower the par 5s because the shortest is 557 yards.  On the back nine, the two 5s are 590 and 608 yards, so getting it home in two is near impossible on two of the four par 5s. In 2018 the course ranked to have the 6th hardest par 5s on tour   On the other end of the spectrum the par 4s are less demanding than different courses on the PGA Tour since four of the par 4s are under 400 yards, ranking 24th hardest on tour in 2017.
  • Since the Houston tournament started in 1946, 17 players have scored their first PGA Tour victories here including 2008 champion Johnson Wagner, 2009 winner Paul Casey and 2016 winner Jim Herman.  In the 1990s, this was the hot spot for those achieving their first wins; between 1990 and 1994 all the winners were first-timers.
  • Since 2006 seven of the 13 champions led going into the final round.  In 2018 Poulter was co-leader with Beau Hossler, in 2017 Russell Henley was 3rd, in 2016 Jim Herman was co-leader with Jamie Lovemark while in 2015 we had a change of pace as J.B. Holmes started the final round six back of third-round leader Jordan Spieth, Holmes shot a final round 64 to catch Spieth and then beat him in a playoff.
  • Overtime is still the norm for Houston with playoffs.  Since first played, there have been 24 playoffs, including 14 in the last 32 years.  Last time the event had a playoff was in 2018 when Ian Poulter beat Beau Hossler with a par on the first playoff hole.
  • This year it will be hot the first two days with a front going through on Friday dropping temperatures to the mid-70s for the weekend.  It will blow 12 mph on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and be very nice for Sunday.  So the significant factor for the players, it will be windy which gives the course some bite.

Who to watch for at the Houston Open

Best Bets:

Russell Henley

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T8 Win T5 4 T7 T45

Has made this event on this course his little annuity, 58 under in his last 16 rounds.

Daniel Berger

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T18 5 T5 T25

He as a good combination of playing well on the Golf Club of Houston and in 2020.

Henrik Stenston

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Looking to get off in a great way for 2020.

Best of the rest:

Scottie Scheffler

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

This kid can really play great and hits it a long way.

Cameron Champ

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Another long hitter than could dominate this course.

Pat Perez

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T11 T27 T12 WD CUT T8

Looking to make another conquest in the fall.

Harris English

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T61 T57 T50 T18

Playing well in 2020.

Solid contenders

Bud Cauley

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T18 CUT T16 T8

Looking to get back into form in 2020.

Beau Hossler

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
2 T39

Would love to improve on his runner-up finish from 2018.

Keegan Bradley

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T43 T15 CUT T5 T43 T10 T4 T51

Does have memories of playing well at Houston, you never know when he will play well.

Kyle Stanley

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T8 T19 T54 CUT T75 T60

Was T-8th last time he played in Houston.

Long shots that could come through:

Lanto Griffin

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT

Has played great in all of his 2020 starts

Robby Shelton

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

He too has made all four cuts in 2020 and looking to surprise one week by contending

Richy Werenski

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T85 81

Another Houston rookie, was T-3rd at Greenbrier.

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