Houston Open Golf Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
The Houston Golf Club, Tournament Course - Humble, Texas - Par 72, 7,440 Yards
Houston Golf Club is a relatively new venue, designed in 2005 by Reese Jones with help from local Tour pro David Toms and Greg Muirhead. Sitting 15 miles north east of Houston, the Tournament course has wide open Bermuda fairways, and traditionally short rough. With the low scores of the past few years in mind, organisers have made some changes this year with the rough grown up around the fairways, meaning greater punishment for inaccurate shots.
The course is fairly long at 7,440 yards, and the greens are big and fast bermuda grass in the same style as Augusta National. This event was formerly set up to be played the week before The Masters, and the organisers felt that creating as similar a challenge as possible would help bring stronger fields to this part of Texas. However, with the change of date, the quality of the fields has steadily reduced and that is unfortunately seen again this week. Nonetheless, the greens remain fast with significant runoff areas and with the thicker rough, Houston could become a far more testing venue this week.
Water is in play on ten holes here, although there are usually bailout areas where players can easily avoid it, so it provides more of a theoretical than practical hazard as might be the case at venues such as Sawgrass or PGA National. The best defence for the Tournament Course remains the elements. If the wind is low, players should be able to find the fairways and greens with relative ease, however if it gets up, and the forecast this week is that it will, things can get far more interesting. The key stats this week will be greens in regulation, three putt avoidance on the large surfaces, and most likely good wind management so strong players with a low ball flight could be at an advantage here.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
Sweden's Henrik Stenson (8/1) is a regular visitor to Houston near where he has made his US base in Arizona, and has had success on almost all occasions that he has visited The Tournament Course. Since 2009, he has played this course on seven occasions, finishing inside the top six four times, including runner up finishes in both 2013 and 2016. Stenson has the perfect game for this venue. He hits a strong, low ball flight off the tees with his three wood, and keeps the ball in play. He is also a master of greens in regulation, and it has been his putting that has dictated his finishes. The low ball flight will again be important this week, and Stenson should contend, but he is hard to read given that he has played so little golf recently. Henrik did not make the Fedex Cup playoffs in a season that has been largely plagued by injuries, although his two most recent starts on the European Tour in the last three months have yielded impressive finishes of 3rd and 17th. With the depth of talent on the PGA Tour these days, I am minded to leave Henrik alone, and the price is too short. He isn't for me.
Brian Harman (20/1), Daniel Berger (20/1) and recent winner Cameron Champ (20/1) sit next in the market. Harman is one of the most consistent players on Tour and has top 20 finishes in four of his last five events. Houston has however proved a problem for him in the past with four missed cuts and no top 50 finishes on his previous six visits here. He is easy to look past. Dan Berger seems far more inviting at the same price. He is a very streaky player who can go low on his day, and over the past couple of weeks he has started the 2020 wraparound season with two top 25 finishes, and his game is in good shape right now. Berger had back to back top 5 finishes here in 2016 and 2017, and has never been outside the top 25 on four visits. he certainly looks like one that could contend here. Champ won the Safeway Open at Silverado two weeks ago, and looks once again capable of fulfilling his huge potential. He can hit the call a very long way, but is another who can be inconsistent. He followed that win up with a missed cut at The Shriners, and at a venue he has never played before, I am happy to leave him this week also.
Russel Henley (22/1) has a fantastic record here having won the event in 2017, and finishing in the top 8 in his other four most recent appearances. He is another who has been improving over the past few weeks, and a 37th last week was his best finish for 10 weeks. His course form cannot be overlooked, and I would expect a strong week from Henley. Scottie Scheffler (22/1) makes his first appearance in Houston on the back of his first win on the Korn Ferry Tour, and a host of strong finishes on the PGA Tour. He should suit the course as he hits the ball long, and is similarly streaky like Berger, but I don't quite see him as ready to contend over four days yet, and is another I won't be backing here.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Keegan Bradley is a player who has been tipped up here before, and after a few weeks of making the cut without really challenging for titles, I feel now is his chance to lay down an early marker for the new season here in Houston. Bradley is a major champion, having won the USPGA at the Atlanta Athletic Club back in 2011, and has several World Golf Championships and high finishes in other majors to back up his abilities. Recently has been more of a struggle, but towards the end of the last season he finished 2nd at The Travelers, and has only missed one cut in 9 subsequent events. Bradley is long, and has a great short game. His weaknesses have come in greens in regulation and proximity to the hole, however he has a great game around the greens. With a bit of wind and tougher scoring this year, Houston should set up perfectly for Keegan.
In eight previous appearances at this venue, Bradley has posted three top 10 finishes including a 4th and a 5th, and has a subsequent top 15 showing that he clearly has the game to suit the Tournament Course. With the quality of the fields diminishing, and Bradley's game once again on the up I feel there is a lot of scope for him to match and improve those high placed finishes of a few years ago. The winds will be a levelling factor in terms of his sometimes erratic long game, and this will further enhance his chances this week. I recommend 3 points e/w at 40/1.
Other Betting Tips
Cameron Tringale has had a bit of a love affair with The Houston Golf Club. In an otherwise mixed career, this venue has provided him with a haven of strong results; posting finishes 4th, 10th, and 5th between 2012 and 2015; interestingly the same years that Bradley posted high finishes, and where scoring was more challenging. Tringale has had some encouraging results this year with top 5 finishes at the low scoring Rocket Mortgage Classic and the Zurich Classic. He also finished in the top 10 at the Canadian Open which was won by Rory McIlroy.
Tringale generally struggles off the tee, similarly to Bradley, but has a good swing, and is another that could be helped by the more challenging conditions. With this stat negated, he can look to use his strokes gained on the approach shots, and his strokes gained putting and around the greens; both areas where Tringale is in the top 40 on Tour; far above his overall scoring average. These performance statistics show quite clearly why this venue has been such a successful one for Tringale, and with him having such strong finishes this year I am keen to have him on side to challenge here once again with 2 points e/w at 50/1.
Twenty Four year old American Beau Hossler has been enjoying a successful third season on the PGA Tour recently. He is an exciting young talent, and has posted top 15 finishes at the Genesis Open and the Shriners as he continues his improvement and grows in confidence as he enters his third successive year as a fully fledged member of the PGA Tour. Hossler is a big hitter and similarly to our other two selections, off the tee is where he most frequently encounters problems. What he does have to his advantage, and what is continuing to improve, is his putting and his strokes gained around the green. Hossler has moved into the top fifty for both these performance rankings, and seems to be fast developing a favourite course type on which he will be successful.
The type of venue where Hossler will excel is typified here on the Tournament Course in Houston. Off the tee, he will be afforded a little more leeway, and he will be able to show his class against the field in the scoring zones on and around the greens. In his two previous starts here, Beau has finished 39th and 2nd. Given that he generally has been a mid table performer in his early Tour years, these are real stand out results. I have every confidence that Hossler is set for a big year on the PGA Tour, and i will be backing him here with 2 points e/w at 50/1.
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