We are just over one week away from The Masters! Players will get their final opportunity for a tune up before the third major of the year this week as we head to the Memorial Park Golf Club for the annual Houston Open! Some of the top players in the world will be back in action this week after a bit of a quiet weekend in Bermuda and as usual, we have you covered with a full preview and betting picks for the event below.
Houston Open Betting Picks
Action will get underway on Thursday morning from the Memorial Park Golf Club. A lot of players opted to take the week off instead of travelling to Bermuda last week, so this event will be crucial for many in their preparation for the all important Masters event next week.
The No.1 ranked player in the world, Dustin Johnson, will return for his first event since testing posititve for COVID-19 a few weeks ago. It certainly won’t have been the preparation that DJ was expecting to have in the lead up to The Masters, but he’ll be thankful for at least one tune up event before the big week kicks off.
Joining DJ as some of the star names in the field this week are the likes of Tyrrell Hatton, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finay, Viktor Hovland, Jason Day and Adam Scott, who is also playing his first event since returning from a positive COVID-19 test.
Former winners of the Houston Open who will be teeing it up on Thursday morning include Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, DA Points, Matt Jones, Russell Henley and Lanto Griffin, who took out the title last season and will be hoping to be the first back to back winner of the Houston Open since Vijay Singh in 2005.
Memorial Park Country Club in Houston, Texas will host it’s first Houston Open since the 1963 season this year. The tournament was held there from 1951 to 1963 but since then it has been held at various other courses, most recently the Golf Club of Houston.
The course originally opened in 1924 but has recently undergone a renovation in an attempt to beef it up for PGA Tour players. Star player Brooks Koepka served as a key advisor in these redesigns, so expect him to have a slight advantage over some of the players that have never played at the Memorial Park GC before.
At just over 7,020 yards as a Par 71, the course won’t be a challenge off the tee for PGA Tour players, especially given some of the trees around the course were removed and the fairways widened in the recent redesign. Where they will have made the course harder is on and around the greens, so look for strong approach players and scramblers with good course management to reign supreme here.
1 – Tyrrell Hatton (+1600)
Hatton has been in a rich vein of form lately.Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open last month, Hatton has been great in his next three tournaments. He won the BMW Championship against top flight competition on the European Tour, came T3 in the CJ Cup before finishing T28 at the ZOZO Championship. This course should set up pretty well for the Englishman, so we have him at the top of our board.
2 - Dustin Johnson (+750)
Despite not having played much over the last few weeks due to a postitve COVID-19 test, we still feel confident with DJ in the No.2 spot on our power rankings this week. DJ has been nearly flawless since the PGA Tour resumed from the pandemic hiatus. In his last five tournaments, he has racked up results of 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th.
3 - Scottie Scheffler (+2200)
Scottie went through a little purple patch during the FedEx Cup playoffs but has since fallen away a bit. This course should set up pretty well for him though, and he did find some form in the ZOZO Championship two weeks ago, finishing T17. Is one of the more consistent players in the field and has definitely taken a step up to a perineal top 30 ranked candidate over the past year.
4 – Brooks Koepka (+2000)
It’s been a bit of a tumultuous year or so for Brooks Koepka. He has fallen from No.1 in the world to No.12 and hasn’t won a tournament since the WGC event in June last year. He has found some form of late though, finishing T28 at the CJ Cup a few weeks ago and we think his knowledge of the course should hold him in good stead here.
5 - Viktor Hovland (+3000)
Hovland has been one of the most consistent players on tour over the past few months. He hasn’t missed a cut in his last 15 tournaments and across that time, he has accumulated nine top 25 finishes. Is an elite ball striker and the course shouldn’t be an issue for him.
Actually really like the look of Brooks Koepka this week. Houston is like a second home to Koepka and his experience at the course will definitely come into play this week as most of the other players in the field will have never played the course in a competitive format. He is striking the ball well of late and seems more relaxed, which is when we think he plays his best golf.
Phil Mickelson (+8000) Don’t sleep on the veteran this week. Short course that has widened fairways, cut the rough and removed some trees that were in play off the tee shots. All of that benefits Mickelson, who is a chance in any tournament if he can keep the ball in play off the tee.
James Hahn (+6000) Hahn has been in terrific form on the PGA Tour of late. He was unable to qualify for the CJ Cup and ZOZO Championship, but before that he had reeled off three straight top 10 finishes at the Safeway Open, Corales Championship and Shriners Open.