Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas
7,441 yards, par 72
Last week at The Valero Texas Open –
How tricky did TPC San Antonio look last week? The players struggled around for the four days in very windy conditions. Jimmy Walker was a class act from start to finish shooting 71,67,69,70 on his way to an 11 under par victory, four clear of his nearest challenger Jordan Spieth.
As for last week’s selections, we ended up with a nice each way return on Daniel Summerhays at 66/1, who finished T4th along with Chesson Hadley. That gave us a little bit of profit and a total profit of +191.93 for the season so far. Let’s keep it going this week in Houston and tee us up nicely for The Masters next week!
The Golf Club of Houston was designed by Reese Jones and was established in 2003. Since 2007, the tournament has been held the week before the Masters, giving the players one last chance to get into the field through a win. This course is a decent test measuring just short of 7,500 yards.
It is set up to replicate Augusta for next week and has a particular emphasis on length. For example, the four par 5’s on this course all measure over 550 yards and will require a decent drive if players are going for the green in two. The par 4’s will also require length with the 5th, 6th, 17th and 18th all measuring over 460 yards. Players that average between 295 and 300+ yards off the tee will be leaving themselves between an eight iron and a wedge into some of the longer par 4’s.
The main stats to consider here is obviously length, along with good par 3, par 4, par 5 scoring stats. The greens here are also quite tricky (like Augusta) with tight banks and plenty of run off areas so be on the lookout for guys with good greens in regulation stats. The greens here will be pretty quick measuring roughly 13 on the stimp so strokes gained putting will be another stat to consider on this course.
Patrick Reed 16/1
After taking a week off last week, Reed will come to Houston feeling rested and confident after coming close to winning the Valspar a couple of weeks ago. He got into a playoff with Jordan Spieth and Sean O Hair and put on a masterclass with his shortgame. He got up and down out from everywhere and putted superbly, but was beaten by Ryder Cup team mate Spieth after he holed a superb 30 footer on the third playoff hole for a birdie and the win. I believe the confident Texan will take that good form into this week in Houston.
His current form is good with a win, two top 10’s and two top 25’s in his last seven events. He won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua in early January and continued that good run of form with a T24 at The Humana, T29 at Pebble Beach, T7 at The Honda and a T23 at Doral.
Reed is averaging 290 off the tee and ranks 13th in strokes gained tee to green, 11th in strokes gained putting, fourth in approaches from 250-275 and 27th in approaches from 150-175, which Is a good stat for approaches into the long par 4’s. He also ranks 23rd in par 3 scoring, fifth in par 4 scoring and 19th in par 5 scoring. After coming close a couple of weeks ago, Reed could go one better this week and be right in the mix come Sunday.
J.B. Holmes 25/1
With three top 10’s and a top 25 in his last five events, J.B. Holmes is another player that took last week off and should be well rested and ready to contend in Houston. Despite a missed cut at Bay Hill, Holmes has been playing very well over the last few weeks and came close to winning at Torrey Pines, but was beaten in a playoff by Jason Day at The Farmers Insurance Open at the beginning of February.
He continued that good run of form and finished T10 at Pebble Beach, which included a superb first round 64. He then had another good week at The Northern Trust Open finishing T22, which could have been a lot better if it weren’t for a disappointing final round 76. He led after round one in Doral after opening with an impressive 62 and went on to finish solo 2nd.
Holmes has played well here in the past finishing T12 last year, T8 in 2012, T4 in 2011 and P2 in 2009 when he lost in a playoff to Paul Casey. Statswise he ranks 11th in driving distance averaging 303 off the tee, ninth in strokes gained tee to green and 30th in approaches from 150-175,which is a good stat for approaches into the long par 4’s. He also ranks 35th in par 3 scoring, 30th in par 5 scoring and seventh in par 4 birdie or better leaders. With great current form and a good history here, Holmes will be one to watch.
Louis Oosthuizen 28/1
The South African has only played in a handful of events this year on The PGA Tour and has been showing glimpses of good form. He had a good week at Doral shooting 71,74,67,73 on his way to a solo 6th. He then missed the cut at The Valspar, but bounced back very well at The Arnold Palmer in Bay Hill finishing T9th. Louis is a horse for the course here and has played well in the past finishing T10 in 2013, solo 3rd in 2012 and T16 in 2011.
He is a decent driver of the ball averaging 294 off the tee and hitting just short of 70% greens in regulation in his last four events on the PGA Tour. After finishing solo 3rd in 2012, he went on to get into a playoff with Bubba Watson in The Masters the following week so keep an eye on Louis here this week.
Jason Kokrak 40/1
Jason Kokrak is a player that could really suit this track with his length. He was unlucky not to finish with another top 10 last week in Texas where he carded five bogeys in his final round to finish with a two over 74. Despite that, he still finished in a respectable T11 for the tournament. He has been playing well over the last couple of weeks finishing with a T7 at The Valspar and a T6 at The Arnold Palmer. Kokrak has played well here in the past finishing solo 9th in 2013 and comes to The Golf Club of Houston in much better form this time around.
Statswise he ranks 12th in driving distance averaging 304 yards off the tee and 49th in both strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained putting. His approach stats are also good ranking 16th in approaches from 175-200 and 25th in approaches from 150-175. He also ranks seventh in par 5 scoring and 32nd in par 4 scoring. With Kokrak’s current form and length, he could be a serious danger here at an attractive price.
Top 10 Finish –
Shawn Stefani 4/1
Shawn Stefani has been playing well this season with three top 15 finishes earlier this year. He played well at The OHL Classic finishing solo 2nd, T6 at The Sony Open in Hawaii and a T15 at The Humana Challenge at the end of January. Most recently, he had a good week at The Valspar finishing T17 and followed that with a T21 at Bay Hill. Last week, he finished in a respectable T26 at The Texas Open, which could have been a lot better if it weren’t for a disappointing first round 79.
Stefani played very well here last year finishing solo 5th on 10 under par for the tournament. He ranks 45th in driving distance, 27th in GIR and sixth in approaches from 200-225, which is a good stat for approaches into the par 5’s. He also ranks 13th in par 5 scoring and 38th in par 4 scoring. With a good finish here last year and good current form, Stefani is more than capable of finishing in the top 10 this week.
Final selections –
Patrick Reed 1.5pts EW 16/1
J.B. Holmes 1.5pts EW 25/1
Louis Oosthuizen 1 pt EW 28/1
Jason Kokrak 1 pt EW 40/1
Shawn Stefani 2 pts Top 10 finish 4/1
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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