Another week of top PGA Tour action awaits as this week some of the PGA Tour’s finest head to Houston for this year’s Houston Open.
For those golf aficionados amongst you, you may recall that the Houston Open used to be held in the week preceding the Masters and it was the last chance for players to sneak into the Masters. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the tournament was moved to its present date and it has stayed fixed to this week ever since.
Another top-class field is gathered with the betting being led by Scottie Scheffler, Sam Burns, Cameron Smith, and Brooks Koepka.
The tournament last year was won by Argentine Emiliano Grillo who secured his one and only PGA Tour title to date. Played at Memorial Park, players will be tested by a 7,412 yard, par 70 course. Memorial Park, opened all the way back in 1912 and was first used on the PGA Tour in 1963.
The Houston Open moved to Memorial Park back in 2020. Tom Doak, with assistance from Brooks Koepka, redesigned the course in readiness for its Tour return. The pair added elevation and improved drainage, some holes were made longer whilst others were shortened. The course saw several trees and bunkered removed as well as some of the fairways widened. The course is generous off the tee, but if you miss the fairway, the Bermuda rough can be very tough. A signature of the redesign is the many undulating greens. There are many run-off areas and they provide the main defense of the course. For those players looking to maximize their scoring, there are three par-fives on the course.
Due to the firm and sloping greens, touch on and around the greens will be key, as well as a golfer who can scramble efficiently. It should be another fantastic week and one where most of the field is in play as length shouldn’t play too much of a part.
Last week our recent good form continued as our main bet, Abraham Ancer finished in a tie for seventh. It was a funny week for Ancer who started slowly but made up significant ground in rounds 2 and 3. Whenever Ancer moved to within striking a distance of the lead, the Mexican would throw in an untimely bogey, still, he battled hard and was able to reward his backers who had him finishing inside the top 10.
Norwegian golfer Viktor Hovland successfully defended his title down in Mexico. The young European superstar showed off a much improved short game and held his nerve to win by four shots. It continues a recent trend of beaten European Ryder Cup stars all winning tournaments as Hovland added his success to the recent victories from Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Looking to find another winner, we will look to provide three bets for this week’s tournament.
MAIN BET: BROOKS KOEPKA +2800
If this was a major odds of Brooks Koepka winning another title at odds of +2800 could be considered a steal, however sadly this week isn’t and his price seems just about right. Koepka by his own admission can struggle for motivation in these sorts of events, however, you have to feel that playing on a course he has helped design could help fill the void.
Last year, in the course’s first outing back on tour. Koepka shot consecutive 65s over the weekend to finish in a tie for 5th. Nobody will know the layout for this weekend better than the four-time major winner, he has a clear competitive advantage over the rest of the field.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Koepka who has finished in T38, T67 and missed the cut last week in Mexico. But his 5th place finish last year as well as the fact that Koepka is one of the better scramblers on Tour makes you think that a turnaround could be on the cards.
DARK HORSE: SEAMUS POWER +4500
It could be argued that no other player has enjoyed a more meteoric rise in 2021 than Seamus Power. Power started the year ranked 429 in the world, following his T11 finish at last week’s Mexico Open, Power now finds himself sat at 89th in the world rankings and 36th in the very early FedEx Cup rankings.
Power who won his breakthrough tournament at the Barbassol earlier this year is playing with a two-year Tour exemption, and Power is playing like a man who knows his immediate Tour future is safe. He has started his season with a T21, T12, and T11 and arguably is the form man in this field.
One stat that draws us to Power is his ability to scramble and gain strokes around the green, the Irishman is currently ranked 5th on Tour. By backing Power, we are backing a man very much in control of his game and we hope his hot streak continues here. Priced at +4500 for the victory, odds of +700 for a top 5, and +350 for a top 10 we feel Power represents some really excellent value.
LONG SHOT: NATE LASHLEY +18000
Nate Lashley isn’t a name we are regularly associated with but Lashley for his huge odds has had a great year so far, finishing T35, T17, and T16 in three of his four starts so far this season. He did miss the cut last week but we are willing to overlook that here.
One of the primary reasons why we are drawn to Lashley is his putting stats as he ranks 5th on Tour for strokes gained through putting, 8th in total putting, and 43rd in one-putt percentage. On greens that are going to be firm and undulating, a solid putter is what we need and at big odds, Lashley could be our man.
We are hoping that Lashley can improve on last year’s 38th was place finish this week. Odds of +18000 for the victory, +3000 for a top 5, and +1400 for a top ten finish could be a great way to play this week.