Is it Masters week, yet? No? Oh…
That’s where I’m at this week, but you’ve got to give the people what they want. I’m playing much less volume this week than normal, taking a breather if you will, but I still have some thoughts for you.
The appetizer that is the Shell Houston Open is a Masters tuneup for some, but it also offers up one last shot to qualify for Augusta. You might want to consider each golfer’s mindset coming in.
There is a little talk of the weather, with showers likely at some point. Here’s the report for Houston, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The tournament is played at the Golf Club of Houston. It’s a 7,441-yard par 72, and if you click through the hole layouts in that previous link, you’ll see there’s water in play on a number of holes. Just something to think about.
2015 Shell Houston Open
1. J.B. Holmes -16 (won in playoff)
T-2. Johnson Wagner -16
T-2. Jordan Spieth -16
4. Russell Henley -14
T-5. Brendon de Jonge -13
T-5. Keegan Bradley -13
T-5. Cameron Tringale -13
T-5. Charles Howell III -13
9. Paul Casey -12
10. Scott Piercy -11
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Driving Distance (with a touch of Accuracy)
- Proximity (with a little GIR consideration)
- Birdie or Better %
- Par 5 Birdie or Better %
PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS!
Henrik Stenson $10800 (12-1)
Stenson has made three starts in the states this year; going T-28, T-11, and T-3. He took last week off, so he should be fresh. He’s posted an average of 81.5 DK points per in four career SHO starts (3rd in ’09, 2nd in ’13). As an elite ball striker, he should be able to keep the ball in play and give himself plenty of looks at birdie.
Phil Mickelson $10500 (16-1)
Phil has a reputation for playing well the week before majors, and his five straight top-20s in Houston help bear that out. Some of the top-tier options might be mailing it in, but you (probably) don’t have to worry about that with Mickelson. The Golf Club of Houston plays a little like Augusta National, and we all know his track record there. He’s long, kills par 5s, and makes a ton of birdies.
Sergio Garcia $9900 (25-1)
For golfers who have played this event more than once in the last ten years, Keegan Bradley is #1 in average DK points per start (more on that later) and Sergio is #6, so I’d say this course has a type. He checks all the boxes (T2G, distance, ball striking, etc.), and I think he might fly a little under the radar.
Charl Schwartzel $9500 (25-1)
Charl broiled the field at Valspar, and he’s been playing very well of late. He’s a former Masters champion and has some good/okay/decent course history. Strong tee-to-green numbers, though his accuracy both off the tee and into greens leaves a little to be desired. I like him a little more than Koepka, who I think will be the more popular choice.
Keegan Bradley $8300 (60-1)
He ranks near the top of the field in the following areas:
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Driving Distance
- Total Driving
- Ball Striking
- Course History (three top-10s in five tries)
I know it’s hard to look past the name, but you just have to power through.
Harris English $7600 (85-1)
You could go a number of ways in the mid-$7k tier. I like Stricker, Lowry, Steele, Woodland, and Rodgers, but Harry is my favorite. He’s been sniffing around the top of the leaderboards for most of the year, and one of these times he’ll get there. He’s above average in all key areas and seems like a relatively safe pick.
Bernd Wiesberger $7000 (130-1)
People are probably getting sick of this guy, but his price is too good to ignore. He’s solid tee-to-green and has great ball striking numbers. Excellent value.
Padraig Harrington $5900 (150-1)
Paddy has seen a bit of a resurgence this year, and he’s made four straight cuts in strong fields (Pebble, Northern Trust, Honda, Valspar). He used to play very well here back in the day, and I think he might be able to rekindle some of that fire. At $5900, I’m willing to take a shot.
Greg Owen $5300 (200-1)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: +1.155
- Driving Distance: 301.1
- Proximity: 36′ 2″ (above average)
- GIR: 71.83% (9th in field)
- Total Driving: 10th in field
- Ball Striking: 4th in field
- Strokes Gained: Putting: Lucas Glover if Lucas Glover was both blind and deaf
If you’ve ever rostered Owen, you know the deal. He’s going to miss
some a lot of 5-footers, but at $5300, the price is right. He outclasses everyone in his range in almost all key areas, and you just need to get lucky with the flat stick for this pick to pay off in a big way. No guts, no glory.