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BlogHouston Open Preview and Picks

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open

November 11th – 14th, 2021

Memorial Park Golf Course

Houston,, TX

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,412

Purse: $7.5 million

with $1,350,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Carlos Ortiz

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 41 of the top 100 and 21 of the top 49 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Those in the top-100 include #12 Tony Finau, #15 Brooks Koepka, #18 Sam Burns, #19 Tyrrell Hatton, #21 Scottie Scheffler, #22 Cameron Smith, #23 Patrick Reed, #24 Sungjae Im, #29 Jason Kokrak, #30 Joaquin Niemann, #31 Matthew Wolff, #33 Max Homa, #35 Marc Leishman, #37 Lee Westwood, #40 Adam Scott, #41 Ryan Palmer, #42 Shane Lowry, #45 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, #48 Stewart Cink, #50 Mackenzie Hughes, #51 Talor Gooch, #52 Brian Harman, #53 Ian Poulter, #55 Erik van Rooyen, #57 Cameron Tringale, #59 Branden Grace, #60 Russell Henley, #62 Kevin Streelman, #65 Aaron Wise, #66 Charley Hoffman, #69 Sebastian Munoz, #71 Maverick McNealy, #73 Cameron Davis,  #83 Harold Varner III, #89 Seamus Power, #90 Jason Day, #91 Jhonattan Vegas, #95 Gary Woodland, #97 Lanto Griffin, #98 Keith Mitchell and #100 Mito Pereira.

Last year there were 14 top-50 players

The field includes 13 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2022. Those players are #1 Sam Burns, #2 Sungjae Im, #5 Max Homa, #8 Matthew Wolff, #9 Maverick McNealy, #11 Cameron Tringale, #12 Talor Gooch, #16 Nick Watney, #17 Marc Leishman, #18 Aaron Wise, #19 Mito Pereira, #20 Patrick Reed and #25 Andrew Landry.

The field includes 5 past champions: Lanto Griffin (2020), Ian Poulter (2018), Russell Henley (2017), Jim Herman (2016), and Adam Scott (2007).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open field is our performance chart listed by 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 Houston Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the 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 Mayakoba Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ. CJ Cup Andalucia Masters Shriners Children’s Spanish Open Sanderson Farms Fortinet Champ. Dunhill Links BMW PGA Tour Champ. BMW Champ.
Sam Burns
(199.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(16)
8
(25)
Sungjae Im
(190.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(15)
3
(45)
Matthew Wolff
(158.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Aaron Wise
(147.5 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
Talor Gooch
(138.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
Cameron Tringale
(125.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T2
(100)
T59
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP T11
(26)
T22
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
Joaquin Niemann
(123 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP T28
(22)
T45
(3.33)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 29
(10.5)
T29
(10.5)
Danny Willett
(117 pts)
T27
(23)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Win
(88)
T71
(0)
DNP DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(109.33 pts)
4
(80)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(14)
T22
(14)
Carlos Ortiz  WD
(107 pts)
2
(100)
DNP WD
(-5)
T25
(16.67)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T66
(0)
Mackenzie Hughes
(106.67 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
Patrick Reed
(105.83 pts)
T56
(0)
T2
(100)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 25
(12.5)
DNP
Maverick McNealy
(98.67 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP T25
(25)
T38
(8)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
Andrew Landry
(98.33 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(94.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP 51
(0)
Tyrrell Hatton
(93 pts)
T40
(10)
DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP
Henrik Norlander
(90.33 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Seamus Power
(89.67 pts)
T11
(39)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lanto Griffin
(88.33 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.J. Spaun
(84.67 pts)
T27
(23)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP 68
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Adam Scott
(74.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(18)
DNP DNP
Sebastian Munoz
(74.5 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
T49
(0.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(10.5)
Taylor Pendrith
(74 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP T39
(7.33)
T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Shane Lowry
(71.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
T17
(16.5)
DNP T26
(12)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
(70 pts)
T15
(35)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(35)
DNP DNP
Tom Hoge
(67.5 pts)
T56
(0)
DNP 17
(33)
T32
(12)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.5)
Nick Watney
(67.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T46
(4)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP T2
(66.67)
T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Stallings
(66.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(65.33 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
CUT
(-5)
DNP T52
(0)
Adam Schenk
(65.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(61 pts)
DNP DNP T48
(2)
T25
(16.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(14)
5
(35)
Luke List
(60.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(22)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mito Pereira
(59.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T31
(12.67)
3
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Harry Higgs
(59 pts)
DNP DNP T39
(11)
T9
(30)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(6)
Harold Varner III
(58.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(19)
Denny McCarthy
(58 pts)
T15
(35)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(22)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Adam Long
(57 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(14)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(56 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(18)
T34
(8)
Chad Ramey
(53.67 pts)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP T63
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Aaron Rai
(53 pts)
T15
(35)
T62
(0)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T14
(18)
DNP DNP
Vincent Whaley
(51.67 pts)
T64
(0)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
C.T. Pan
(51 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
James Hahn
(48 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Peter Malnati
(47.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T7
(55)
74
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T51
(0)
T22
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Martin Laird
(47.33 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Mayakoba Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ. CJ Cup Andalucia Masters Shriners Children’s Spanish Open Sanderson Farms Fortinet Champ. Dunhill Links BMW PGA Tour Champ. BMW Champ.
Martin Trainer
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hank Lebioda
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.T. Poston
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Joseph Bramlett
(-24 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T58
(0)
T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Zach Johnson
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brice Garnett
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kelly Kraft
(-18.33 pts)
WD
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(-16.67 pts)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tyler McCumber
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Richy Werenski
(-14.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So it’s year two of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open being played at Memorial Park.  When its original sponsor Shell Oil left in 2017 it left this event near death.  The event was having problems finding a new sponsor and it was looking bleak.  But Houston Astros owner Jim Crane came in with financial backing, with one stipulation.  That the event would step back to its roots and return to Memorial Park, a course located just outside of downtown Houston.  The course was the site of the first Houston Open in 1946 and was played to 1963 when it started to fall in disrepair.  With the help of the Astros Golf Foundation, they revamped the course at the cost of 15 million dollars.  Not only was the course upgraded, but the club made sure that it was PGA Tour ready to play.  The course added yardage, and for the Houston Open is playing at 7,412 yards and to a par of 70.

Last year the course held the Houston Open for the first time, and it was well-received.  The course played to a scoring average of 71.03, a shot over its par, and was the 8th most demanding course on the PGA Tour.  Players seem to like the course and tell others. That’s because the field for this year is better than last year as 43 top-100 players are playing.

Last year the event was limited to just 3,000 spectators a day because of COVID-19 protocols.  This year there is no ceiling on fan attendance so this week will be the coming-out party for Memorial Park.

Look at how I did with my six DraftKing picks at Mayakoba

Time to see how my six DraftKing picks did

In the $300K flop shot, I was one of 23,529 entries and my six picks ranked 10,611.  The game cost $15 and I was out of the money, my 449.5 points earned was whooping 49 points away from being in the money.

The six players I picked were mixed, the good news is I had Matthew Wolff who finished T-5th but was the leader after the first and second rounds but folded with a third round 74.  He did snapback with a 65 in the final round and got 109.5 points.  The other good news was Sergio Garcia, who finished T-7th and collected 101 points.  After that, Billy Horschel was in good shape after rounds of 64-69, but on the weekend shot 70-71 to finish T-33rd.  Adam Long was pretty consistent all week and finished T-22nd.  Horschel earned 82.5 while Long collected 88 points.  After that, it was a disaster.  Patrick Rodgers never got it going and shot 70-72 to miss the cut by 3.  But the major blow was Emiliano Grillo, who started with a 67 only to shoot 73 and miss the cut by 2. As we have said before, missed cuts are the biggest thing that will prevent you from making money.

The winner Kfliesh had 665 points, 205.5 points more than me.  He had a clean card, that included winner Viktor Hovland and runner-up Carlos Ortiz.  He also had Joaquin Niemann who finished T-5th and Abraham Ancer who finished T-7th.  After that, he picked John Huh who was T-15th, but his pick of Vincent Whaley came close to disaster.  After a first-round 70, Whaley struggled in his first nine holes playing it in one over.  But he was able to make four birdies on his back nine to shoot 32 and he made the cut on the number.  Despite Whaley finishing T-64th, he earned 80 points which were his reason for success.

Again if you don’t pick six guys to make the cut, you don’t have any chance of success.

So here are the results of my six guys from last week at the Mayakoba:

  • Matthew Wolff – $9,200 he finished with 109.5 points
  • Sergio Garcia – $8.700 who finished T-7th with 101 points
  • Adam Long – $7,000 who finished T-22nd with 88 points
  • Billy Horschel – $10,100 who finished T-33rd with 82.5 points
  • Emiliano Grillo – $7,500 who missed the cut and earned 39 points
  • Patrick Rodgers – $7,400 who missed the cut and only earned 29.5 points
Things you need to know about the Houston Open

This will be the 74th edition of the Houston Open.  This is the second year of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open with new leadership. They have a new sponsorship, and those that are running the event have their roots with the Houston Astros baseball team.  The big change this year is getting its new home Memorial Park, a public course in downtown Houston ready for fans.  Last year because of COVID-19 it was limited to 3,000 fans a day.  This year there are no limits on the number of spectators.  The event got its start in 1946, and the next year Memorial Park was the home of the tournament for 14 events, mostly between 1951 through 1963.  When the tournament left, the public course began eroding as Houston was starting to spread out.  What used to be a great public course wasn’t much to talk about at the turn of the century.  Still, the dream for many was to have a PGA Tour event in Downtown Houston.

After two years of renovations from architect Tom Doak and player consultant Brooks Koepka, the course opened in 2020 to great fanfare, not only from the fans but many of the players liked what they saw.  In prior years the tournament was held at Golf Club of Houston, then 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:

Memorial Park Golf Course

Houston, Tx.

7,432 yards     Par 35-35–70

Memorial Park was always the sentimental home of this event.  I went to about a dozen Houston Opens between 1990 and 2003, those that ran the tournament always wished to return one day to Memorial Park.  But at that time, the course was in terrible shape and was beaten up as it was nothing but a cheap place for 18 holes of golf.  But when the Astros Golf Foundation took over the operations of the Houston Open, they spent $34 million to redesign Memorial Park and build an education and golf center for the course.  Architect Tom Doak redid the course, and his mission was to make it enjoyable for recreational golfers and tough enough for PGA Tour players.  One unusual characteristic of the course, there are only 17 bunkers on the par-70 course.  What makes it challenging is accuracy, which is a must with the thick rough, tight grass slopes and contours.  What will make the course really challenging is the weather, when the wind blows, especially a north or northeast wind, it will make things very tough.  The course was opened for play in November of 2019, and the Bermuda grass has come in, and the course will be in good shape.

But look for low scores as there are several drivable par-4s and two reachable par 5s.  The greens are big, 7,000 square feet, and they are flat, like most municipal courses.  In looking at the weather for the week, it’s going to be perfect, with each day being in the low 70s degrees with no rain and winds of 10 mph.

Last year was a big surprise as Carlos Ortiz shot just 13 under.  Of the 68 players that made the cut only 39 of them were under par which means the course really played hard.  The reason is the weekend, they had wind gusts of up to 25 mph.  After the first two days, the scoring average for the course was 71.82 and even with the winds, the scoring average was 70.28 in the third round and 68.74 in the final rounds.  So maybe with a year under their belts, the course will be easier and we can look for a winning score of between 15 to 18 under par.

Some of the keys for playing well at Memorial Park is this.  First, hitting greens is essential.   Last year the players that finished in the top ten, five of them were in the top ten in greens in regulation, for the field, the Houston Open ranked 18th for the year.  Another key is long hitters have to be careful since the rough was one of the most demanding in 2021. The course ranked 2nd in rough proximity meaning that only Winged Foot, which held the U.S. Open, found it harder to hit greens and get it close out of the rough.  So players who hit it in the high grass had a tough time. Maybe that is the reason some of the tour’s longest hitters aren’t playing this week.  So it’s essential to keep it in the fairway.

It was hard for players to make birdies and eagles on the course.  In 2021 it ranked 17th in total number of birdies made (1,221). But it proved to be challenging as the course was 6th in Par Breakers behind the courses that held a major.  The only course ahead of Memorial Park was Spyglass Hill, but that course was used on a limited basis.  So for last year Memorial Park had the hardest Par Break percentage of any non-major course.

For players thinking they will ride over the par 5s and go low on them, that didn’t happen last year.  The field played the three par 5s in a 4.87 average, making it the hardest course to score on the par 5s in 2021.  Last year’s winner Carlos Ortiz and runner-up Hideki Matsuyama played the par 5s in 8 under, best of anyone in the field.

Of any non-major course, Memorial Park scored a lot of honors as the hardest newcomer to the PGA Tour, so look for a special breed of player to win, one that excels in all areas of the game.

The course was well-received last year.  Last year many played in the Houston Open because it was the week before the rescheduled Masters.  The field is better this year and there is no reason for players to come to Houston other than playing a great course that is getting a lot of buzzes.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Sam Burns – $11,100
  • Scottie Scheffler – $10,900
  • Sungjae Im – $10,700
  • Tony Finau – $10,600
  • Matthew Wolff – $10,400
  • Cameron Smith – $10,200
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $10,000
  • Brooks Koepka – $9,900
  • Adam Scott – $9,600
  • Joaquin Niemann – $9,500
  • Talor Gooch – $9,300
  • Aaron Wise – $9,200
  • Carlos Ortiz – $9,100 Has withdrawn
  • Patrick Reed – $9,000

Have to say this is a tough field to pick from just because there is so little history of Memorial Park and the fact that a lot of players have done well in the Fall.  So what about the key players?  Sam Burns is $11,100 and someone that should be considered.  I think he could win this week.  Last year he was T-7th at Memorial Park and in his three starts in 2022 has a win in Sanderson Farms, a T-5th at CJ Cup, and T-14th at the Shriners Children’s.  So he has what is perceived as the player to beat.  This is the highest price he has ever been on Draftkings, over the course of the last year he averages $8,271 so he is going for a high price.  But in this case, I can say he is worth the cost, but it’s in your best interest to look for cheaper alternatives.  The same feeling for Scottie Scheffler at $10,900.  He was T-32nd last year at Memorial Park and last week was 4th at Mayakoba.  But before that, there is nothing to make us jump up and down and say you have to take Scheffler.  He still has not won and we know it’s going to happen soon, but I don’t see it coming this week. Sungjae Im is $10,700 which I think is too high for a player who averages 72 Draftkings points per event.  Last year he finished T-50th at Memorial Park and we know he won the Shriners and was T-9th at the CJ Cup but he is priced too high.  Tony Finau at $10,600 doesn’t do much for me, again too high for what you are getting.  He was T-24th last year at Memorial Park but his twin T-45th finishes at CJ Cup and Mayakoba doesn’t tell me to pick him, take a pass on him.  Matthew Wolff at $10,400 is a person to consider, yes he did great at Mayakoba finishing T-5th and at the Shriners finishing 2nd.  But he has never played at Memorial Park and the course may be too tight and demanding for his game so I am taking a pass.  Now Cameron Smith at $10,200 is worth a look, think he is better on tighter courses with rough.  He has only played once in 2022 finishing T-9th at the CJ Cup but I still like him.  Now for Tyrrell Hatton at $10,000 I am not as enthusiastic about him even with his T-7th finish last year.  For 2022 he was T-40th at Mayakoba and T-18th at CJ Cup and figure he will be right around those figures.  Now I am open on Brooks Koepka at $9,900.  Yes, I wasn’t very high on him last week at Mayakoba and he did miss the cut.  But Memorial Park is different.  He was the player consultant in the renovations and finished T5th last year at Memorial Park.  He has become a bit Jekyll and Hyde player that is hard to pick.  But for this week I am thinking he will play well.  Adam Scott is $9,600 but his cost doesn’t make him a player to pick.  He was T-32nd at Memorial Park last year and was T-2nd at Wyndham back in August, but after that, it’s not very impressive.  If you want a player to make the cut Scott is your guy, but getting it into the top-ten seems too hard for him.  So take a pass on him.  Now I like Joaquin Niemann at $9,500, even though he is playing the course for the first time.  Like his record in 2022, finishing T-5th last week at the Mayakoba was T-28th at the Zozo Championship, T-45th at the CJ Cup, and T-40th at the Shriners.  Still, this is a course that is made for him game, so don’t worry about taking him.  I also like Talor Gooch at $9,300, he was 4th last year at Memorial Park, was T-4th the previous year at Houston Golf Club, and was T-11th last week at the Mayakoba.  Now he shot 74 in the final round to blow a chance to win, but I see him a week later with a lot more experience and ready to prove that he can win.  Aaron Wise at $9,200 is also a great pick, he was T-11th at Memorial Park last year, but I like his consistency in 2022.  He was T-15th at Mayakoba, T-5th at the CJ Cup, and T-8th at Shriners, he will be a popular pick this week.  Carlos Ortiz at $9,100, he won last year at Memorial Park but withdrew on Tuesday.  He was 2nd last week at Mayakoba so his game is in great shape.  Now for Patrick Reed at $9,000 I am not very enthusiastic about him.  He is playing at Memorial Park for the first time and yes he finished T-2nd at Bermuda, but that course is not like Memorial Park so it’s a no for him.

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

I like Marc Leishman at $8,700 even though he has never played at Memorial Park.  He hasn’t played in Houston since 2013 so he has to think that Memorial Park is good for his game and it will be.   Also, I like that in 2022 he was T-4th at Fortinet and T-3rd at Shriners.  He was T-38th at the CJ Cup but I am not worried because Leishman is a good player on a course like Memorial Park.  Also, like Maverick McNealy at $8,500, he was T-20th at Memorial Park last year and has been solid this year, he was T-11th last week at Mayakoba.  Seamus Power at $8,400 is also a good pick, never played at Memorial Park but has played well the last two weeks finishing T-11th at Mayakoba and T-12th in Bermuda.  Cameron Tringale at $8,300 is also a player to think of, he was T-29th last year at Memorial park and despite missing the cut at Mayakoba has been solid in 2022 including a T-2nd at the Zozo Championship.  Shane Lowry at $8,200 is also worth the look, he was T-11th at Memorial Park last year and despite missing the cut at Mayakoba think he will be fine.  Lanto Griffin at $8,100 will be popular, he won in Houston in 2020 and was T-58th at Memorial Park last year.  Like that in his last two starts was T-6th at Shriner’s and T-7th at Zozo.  Max Homa at $8,000 is a steal, he was T-48th last year at Memorial Park but has a win at Fortinet which will make him popular.  Mackenzie Hughes at $7,900 is also a good buy, he was T-7th at Memorial Park last year and his last start at the Zozo Championship was T-4th. Harold Varner III at $7,700 is also worth the cost, he was T-15th last year at Memorial Park and for 2022 finished T-11th at Sanderson Farms.

Are there any “Bargains” out there?:

Sebastian Munoz at $7,400 is a good pick, just because I see him making the cut on this course.  He has never played at Memorial Park but his game should adopt.  In his last start was T-4th at the Zozo Championship. Jason Day at $7,400 could be worth it, a bit of a gamble since he hasn’t played much in the last two months but like that he finished T-7th last year at Memorial Park.  Ian Poulter is $7,300 and the last time he played in the Houston Open he won it in 2018. His game has been sketchy in 2022 and he has missed two cuts in three starts.  Think that won’t happen this week and he is priced to pick him.  Last week I took Adam Long who is $6,800 this week and he was rewarded with a T-22nd finish.  He was T-11th at Memorial Park last year and think he will make the cut and get you some points.  Sepp Straka at $6,700 is another bargain, he was T-5th last year at Memorial Park and T-4th the previous year.  He won’t win but he has a good record in this event and will make the cut.  He was T-33rd last week in Mayakoba.

*So who are my six DraftKings picks for this week?
  • Talor Gooch – $9,300
  • Aaron Wise – $9,200
  • Marc Leishman – $8,700
  • Lanto Griffin – $8,100
  • Mackenzie Hughes – $7,900
  • Adam Long – $6,800

Who to watch for at the Houston Open

Best Bets:

Scottie Scheffler

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T32 T28

The bottom line, he is ready to win. Was T-32nd last year at Memorial Park, shot 65 in the final round. Was closure at Mayakoba than his 4th place finish, a double bogey on 16th cost him a possible runner-up finish.

Sam Burns

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T7 CUT

Took a liking toward Memorial Park last year leading after the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Shot a final-round 72 to finish T-7th, a year of experience, and two wins since will make him better. His fall play has been superb, won Sanderson Farms, was T-14th at Shriners Children’s, and T-5th at CJ Cup.

Aaron Wise

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T11 T32

T-11th at Memorial Park last year. His game has been good of late, T-8th at Shriners Children’s, T-5th at CJ Cup, and T-15th at Mayakoba.

Best of the rest:

Talor Gooch

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
4 T4 CUT

Have to like that in Houston was 4th last year at Memorial and T-4th in 2020. Was in the final group at Mayakoba but stumbled to a final round 74 to finish T-11th. Also T-5th at CJ Cup, T-11th at Shriners Children’s, and T-4th at Fortinet.

Cameron Smith

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T19

Playing Memorial for the first time, was T-19th at Houston in 2016. T-9th in his only 2022 start at CJ Cup.

Matthew Wolff

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Playing in Houston Open for the first time. His game is gaining some momentum, was 2nd at Shriners Children’s and T-5th at Mayakoba.

Tony Finau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T24 T24 T34 CUT T42

Was T-24th last year at Memorial Park even with a final round 71. Yes, the T-45th at CJ Cup and Mayakoba doesn’t show how he can still go low anytime.

Solid contenders

Brooks Koepka

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 CUT

Was the player consultant for the Memorial Park renovations, T-5th last year at Memorial. Still getting his game back together, yes he missed the cut at Mayakoba but look for better things this week.

Maverick McNealy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T20 T17

Was T-20th last year at Memorial, T-17th in 2020. T-11th last week at Mayakoba, 2nd at Fortinet.

Tyrrell Hatton

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T7

Was T-7th last year at Memorial Park. Was T-40 at Mayakoba, T-18th at CJ Cup, and in September T-2nd at Dunhill Links.

Jason Day

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T7 CUT CUT

Like that he was T-7th last year at Memorial Park. Only his second start in 2022, was T-64th at CJ Cup. The big question, can he ever achieve the original form that made him a top player?

Long shots that could come through:

Adam Long

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T11

Was T-11th last year at Memorial Park. Played consistently in 2022, T-25th at Zozo Championship, and T-22nd at Mayakoba.

Mackenzie Hughes

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T7 T55 CUT T23

T-7th last year at Memorial Park. Was T-35th at Sanderson Farms, T-25th at CJ Cup, and T-4th at Zozo Championship.

Sepp Straka

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 T4

Seems to like Houston, was T-5th last year at Memorial Park, T-4th in 2020. His game has shown improvement after missing the first three cuts in 2022, since then T-66th at Zozo, T-51st in Bermuda, and T-33rd at Mayakoba.

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