This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Course: Memorial Park Golf Course (7,432 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,260,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The Houston Open used to be the tournament the week before the Masters at the Golf Club of Houston, which was set up with Augusta National in mind. Last year it was moved to the fall portion of the schedule for one final trip at GC of Houston. Now a fresh Tom Doak redesign of Memorial Park will await some of the top players in the world this week who are getting their final competitive reps in before heading to Augusta next week. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson will be making his return this week after battling COVID-19. Brooks Koepka will also be in the field. The four-time major champion was someone that Doak consulted when redesigning this municipal course. Tyrell Hatton, Tony FInau, Hideki Matsuyama, Viktor Hovland, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth complete most of the notables who will look to take home the trophy in Houston. The conditions will be pretty favorable for scoring this week with temperatures in the upper-70's and relatively moderate winds. There's a chance we might see a shower over the weekend, but other than that expect the field to take advantage of a course that features a number of good scoring opportunities.
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- SG: Putting
- GIR Percentage
When Tom Doak reached out to Brooks Koepka for some input on this re-design, one thing he stressed was less bunkers. It will make this municipal course easier for the everyday golfer, while also still challenging the best in the world. Rough that can grow up to three inches in length will line these fairways. With it being relatively open sightlines from the tees, the bombers that can keep it on the map should have an advantage. This still projects as a second shot golf course, however. The greens while on the larger end, will play much smaller due to a number of humps and hills that run through them. It will create added importance on hitting the ball on the correct quadrant of these bermudagrass greens, which should be rolling at 12+ on the stimpmeter. Scores are projected to be relatively low, so players who have putted well early in the season should draw consideration as well.
FanDuel Value Picks
Dustin Johnson ($12,200)
A bomber who eats up par-5s and has had a phenomenal last few months on the greens? This is your easy favorite on a course that sets up perfectly for his skill set. The only question really is if he will be affected at all after a couple weeks off due to a positive COVID-19 test. Johnson hasn't finished worse than T12 in his last six starts.
Tony Finau ($11,500)
Another bomber who is coming back from a positive COVID-19 test, Finau recorded six top-11 finishes in his last nine starts. Unlike Johnson, Finau was able to return at The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, where he placed T11 and ranked T2 in GIR and 16th in SG: Putting. Combine that with his prodigious length, and you have your champion's profile.
Russell Henley ($11,200)
There's no reason to stop riding him now. Henley is coming off a T3 at Shadow Creek and a T4 at Sherwood in fields that were much stronger top to bottom than this one. He ranks top-15 this season in SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-green, driving accuracy, GIR percentage, scrambling, birdie average, and scoring average. $11,200 may seem like a lot for World No. 61, but Henley is very appropriately priced this week looking to take home his second Houston Open title.
Doc Redman ($10,400)
Redman is coming off a terrific week in Bermuda where he posted his second top-five of the season. Much like Henley, the Clemson product has come on the last couple months with some fantastic ball striking. Redman currently ranks 28th in SG: Off-the-tee, 21st in SG: Approach, 17th in GIR percentage, and 10th in scrambling. His first win feels like it could come at any time.
Longer Shots with Value
Lee Westwood ($9,500)
The 47-year-old may have fallen the radar of elite players in recent years, but his last 12 months have been very impressive. Westwood owns 11 top-25's over his last 18 starts, including top-20's in six of his last seven starts. The Englishman's putting has gone from detriment to strength this year, as he is currently seventh on the European Tour in putts per GIR.
Stewart Cink ($9,400)
Speaking of 47-year-old's playing well, Cink has already topped his total top-10's from the last two seasons combined. After a win at the Safeway Open, Cink has followed with a T12 at the Sanderson Farms and a T4 at last week's Bermuda Championship. His ball striking is locked in as he co-led the field in Bermuda in GIR.
Wyndham Clark ($9,200)
Clark will be motivated after being edged out in a playoff last week in Bermuda. That strong performance in which he ranked top-five in both GIR's and putts per GIR came on the heels of a top-15 in Las Vegas. The Oregon product is one of the longest hitters on Tour that nobody talks about. Clark's short game and putting have always been very clean for a young player, but this season he's starting to hit his scoring clubs better.
Martin Laird ($8,300)
It's been a few weeks, but Laird will be making his first start since notching a playoff victory at the Shriners Open. His dependable ball striking should excite those looking for some pop at the bottom of their roster, as Laird currently ranks 13th in SG: Approach, 20th in SG: Tee-to-green, and sixth in GIR percentage.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
There are a few elite options at over $11,000 who I really like, but I don't yet trust Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler is way too high based on his recent form, and Adam Scott leaves me with too many unknowns. Other than Redman, there is nobody in that next tier between $9,600-$10,900 that really excites me this week. I think you're better off taking a pair of tier one options and Redman, then trying to fill out the rest of your roster in the $8,500-$9,400 range where I see a lot more value. As I mentioned earlier, favor the long hitters at this relatively wide-open course off the tee that features a number of good scoring opportunities. Unfamiliar greens should force SG: Approach/GIR percentage numbers to take a slight precedent.