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The PGA Tour returns to Memorial Park Golf Course for this year’s edition of the Houston Open, sponsored by Cadence Bank. This will be the 3rd time the event is hosted at the recently renovated Memorial Park, with no players in the field having won the event here. 2021 Champion Jason Kokrak and 2020 Champion Carlos Ortiz have departed to LIV Golf, leaving a first time winner at Memorial Park up for grabs. Russell Henley (+2200) did win the event back in 2017, but it was not held at Memorial. The favorite in the field, and the No. 2 ranked player in the world, Scottie Scheffler (+550) returns to Memorial after a T2 finish in 2021. Other top contenders by listed odds are Sam Burns (+1200), Aaron Wise (+1600), Tony Finau (+1700) and Hideki Matsuyama (+2200).
Tony Finau (+1700) – I’m back on the Finau train after a disappointing performance at Mayakoba last week. It never really looked good for Finau after he triple bogeyed his 3rd hole of the tournament. Of the entire field, over their last 20 rounds, Tony’s statistics are glaring. He leads the field with a total strokes gained of 2.49. Second place isn’t even close, with Taylor Montgomery coming in at 1.98 (foreshadow – we’ll see Taylor next). Memorial requires distance and precision, with 5 par 3’s of varying distances, and a handful of long par 4’s. Right in Tony’s wheelhouse.
Taylor Montgomery (+2700) – Certainly the favorite for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year this season, Montgomery has been off to a fantastic start in his first full member season. 3 Top 10 finishes, sits 3rd in strokes gained putting on Tour, 7th in birdie average, 18th in scoring average and 25th in driving distance.. I mean.. what’s not to like? I watched him fire a final round 62 at the CJ Cup, and I’m convinced this kid (27 years old but who’s counting) is going to win on Tour this year.
Sahith Theegala (+4100) – I’m not explaining myself here. Take it or leave it.
Harris English (+5500) – English looked as if he was back to his old ways of the 2020-2021 season on Thursday last week, firing an opening round 64 at Mayakoba. He couldn’t keep up throughout the weekend, as he finished outside the Top 30, but Harris is close to getting back to form. Despite it not being the best course fit for his style, the number is too high here for me to not have a ticket.
Top 5 Finishes
Russell Henley (+500) – Coming off his dominant victory in Mexico, Henley is in a good spot to be in contention come Sunday. Reminder again; he won the Houston Open in 2017. Over the last 12 months, he’s among the Top 7 ball strikers in the world statistically. I don’t love the outright value as he doesn’t necessarily have the distance off the tee Memorial Park is going to demand, but due to his momentum currently it’s a good value for Top 5.
Taylor Montgomery (+550) – “Outright insurance” if you will. Montgomery is a beast. However, it takes time to learn how to win on Tour against the best players in the world. I can see Montgomery having a chance and coming up just short on Sunday. In due time, Rook.
Top 10 Finishes
Tony Finau (+185) – Finau is one of the hottest golfers on the planet over the last 6 months. The course fits his style. Aside from Scheffler and *possibly* Burns, Tony is the best player in the field. Max play this week. 3 units.
Matthew Nesmith (+450) – Off to an ideal start this year, Nesmith already has 3 Top 10 finishes including a runner up at Shriners. Has taken a couple of weeks off since his T9 finish in Japan. Expect Nesmith to come out refreshed and shoot a low round on Thursday. Maybe sprinkle in a first round leader..
Cam Champ (+700) – Not to beat a dead horse, but, what does Memorial Park demand? Distance. Who better with distance than Cam Champ? He’s a guy who needs to put together the short game and putting to win, but a couple hot rounds and he could land in the Top 10. I love the course fit. I love the price.
Top 20 Finishes
Russell Henley (+120) – Welcome back, Russell. I don’t usually have two max plays in one tournament… but here we are. 3 units.
Sepp Straka (+300) – For a guy who’s won on Tour and took Will Zalatoris to a playoff in a FedEx post-season event, the price is worth it for a Top 20 finish.