houston open

This week’s tournament on the PGA Tour is a regular feature on the annual golfing calendar – the Houston Open. Here’s a preview of the action.

Houston Open: The Tournament 

The Houston Open was traditionally the curtain-raiser for the US Masters. However, after 2018, it was moved to late in the Autumn, and there it has stayed since. Previously under the sponsorship of Shell, the present day incarnation carries the name of Hewlett Packard. Played at several courses in and around the city of Houston, the current venue, Memorial Park, was first used in 2020. It’s not exactly an A-List tournament, in terms of stature, but given the high regard of the state (Texas), and the number of players it boasts on tour, the event is generally well-attended.

Houston Open: The Course

We’re at the Memorial Park Golf Course in the city of Houston. Opened in 1912, the course was most recently re-designed by Tom Doak, with the help of Brooks Koepka. These changes lengthened some holes, shortened others, but also widened some fairways, and removed several trees. The 18-holes now play as a par-70, laid out over 7,412 yards. Judged on last year’s scoring, the players will face a fair test where good play will be rewarded.

72 hole record: 266, Vijay Singh (2002)

18 hole record: 63, Hideki Matsuyama & Talor Gooch(2020)

Houston Open: Past Winners

2020: Carlos Ortiz
2019: Lanto Griffin
2018: Ian Poulter
2017: Russell Henley
2016: Jim Herman

Houston Open: The Field

There’s a slightly reduced field this week, with 132 players on show. Sam Burns is the $13 favourite with TopSport

Houston Open: The Weather

A wet start to the week, but dry thereafter, with a daily precipitation forecast of 70%-10%-0%-0% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the mid-70s, with cloud cover on the first two days, but the skies will clear on the weekend. Wind speeds will range between 10-12mph over the four days.

Houston Open: The Bets
Gary Woodland $67 with TopSport

This week’s field in Texas simply doesn’t boast much depth once you skip past a few of the leading names. And given that players like Scheffler, Im, Finau, Wolff are hardly prolific winners, then the head of the market, like in Europe this week, should hold no massive fears. As such, value lies further down the lists, and Woodland, for starters, looks under-rated by the layers. His form has been patchy this year, but although his last seven starts include three MC’s, there’s also three Top 20’s in there as well, with a best placed 7th at the Barracuda. Don’t forget, Woodland is a 4-time PGA Tour winner, last seen winning the US Open in 2019. He has previous form in Texas, and remains a very consistent tee-to-green performer. If Woodland can bring his A-Game this week, I think he’s huge value.

Sebastian Munoz $81 with TopSport

The Colombian, Munoz, was last seen doing us a favour in the Zozo Championship, where he placed 4th at big odds. That effort, like previous Top 10’s through the Summer at the Tokyo Olympics, John Deere Classic and Charles Schwab Challenge, show that the 28-year-old from Bogota is more than capable of adding to his sole PGA Tour victory to date. Munoz isn’t an easy player to catch right, but when he’s in the zone, then his stats look hugely impressive. And I think he’ll take huge confidence from his recent showing in Japan, and as a player who has previously performed well in Texas, Munoz rates highly on my personal figures. In this week’s reduced field, and with it not being the strongest renewal, he warrants a small interest at the price.

The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020...

Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21

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