It’s Houston Open week which means we’re only one week away from the Masters at Augusta National. The Golf Club of Houston is a par 72 setup that plays just over 7,400 yards. The key thing to note about this golf course is that the greens play fast and feature a lot of tightly mown areas around the green. This is done to attract players getting ready for the season’s first major next week. Due to this, selecting golfers that have decent short games and a good putter is important. Other than that, key stats to look at this week are total driving, strokes gained approach, and par five birdie or better percentage. This course also tends to be windy, so keep an eye on the weather later in the week to see if it will favor morning or afternoon waves.
- Rickie Fowler: $12,000
- Rafa Cabrera-Bello: $11,500
- Russell Henley: $10,200
- Keegan Bradley: $9,600
- Emiliano Grillo: $9,000
- Kevin Tway: $7,600
Remaining Salary: $100
Rickie Fowler ($12,000)
Fowler hasn’t had his “A” game for a couple of months now and due to his elevated price tag, he probably won’t pick up a ton of ownership traction in tournaments. However, as we saw with Rory McIlroy at Bay Hill a few weeks ago, talent eventually rises to the surface no matter what the recent form is. Fowler hasn’t had a top 10 since January, but his all-around game fits this course well. He is ranked seventh in the field in strokes gained tee to green and fifth in birdie or better percentage. As he looks to gain some momentum leading up to the Masters, I think Fowler is in for a top-five finish this week.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($11,500)
As the fifth highest-priced golfer in the field this week, Cabrera-Bello may look a bit out of place in the pricing pool. Despite his expensive price tag, Cabrera-Bello actually makes for a great play this week. He ranks first in the field in par five scoring and 19th in driving accuracy. He is also a great player with his mid-to-long irons which is important on a longer golf course. While some may be afraid to pay a hefty price tag for Cabrera-Bello this week, his recent form and ability to take advantage of par fives make him a great play.
Russell Henley ($10,200)
In the $10k range, I’m going to eat the chalk and play the course horse. Henley has been unbelievable at the Golf Club of Houston over the past four years. He won here last year and prior to that he finished T5, 4, and T7. Clearly, there is something about this golf course that suits Henley. Considering his form hasn’t been amazing, FanDuel has still priced him accordingly based on course history. Despite his best finish being a T15 at Pebble Beach this season, Henley still pops statistically as he ranks 30th on the Tour in total driving and 31st in strokes gained approach.
Keegan Bradley ($9,600)
It’s never fun to roster a golfer who is statistically one of the worst on the PGA Tour, but Bradley’s ability to strike the golf ball puts him in play this week. He ranks second in the field in total driving and fourth in the field in strokes gained approach this season. Both of these rankings are outstanding for a golfer that is priced below $10,000. While his strokes gained putting ranks fourth worst in the field, Bradley only needs to have a mediocre performance on the greens to make the cut and has a ton of upside if he can sink a few putts.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,000)
Coming off a disappointing finish in Punta Cana’s alternate field event last week, Grillo should fly under the radar in tournaments. Grillo ranks seventh in the field in driving accuracy and ninth in birdie or better percentage, but the one area that really makes Grillo stand out this week will be his play around the greens. While he ranks 110th on the tour in scrambling this season, the Golf Club of Houston tends to keep the rough down and the fringe around the greens are tightly mown to simulate the conditions at Augusta. This should really help to alleviate Grillo’s scrambling struggles this week. He has top-15 finish upside.
Kevin Tway ($7,600)
I’m rounding out this week’s picks with a value play near the bottom of the board. Tway doesn’t check a lot of the boxes we’re looking for statistically this week, but he is a bomber of the golf ball who ranks fourth in the field in driving distance. Despite being near the bottom of the price pool, Tway has made nine of 13 cuts this season and is coming off two made cuts in a row. He also had a lot of success on the Tour last season, so he has upside if he puts his game together this week.