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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Texas Children's Houston Open (2024)


Formerly part of the PGA Tour’s Fall Swing, the Houston Open finds its new home on the PGA Tour Schedule replacing the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.


Along with the new placement in the schedule, the Houston Open has since replaced title sponsors. In the 2022 playing, the event was sponsored by Cadence Bank but will now operate under the name of the Texas Children’s Houston Open.


Prior to Cadence Bank’s one year run as the event’s sponsor, this tournament operated under the sponsorship of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in 2021, Vivint in 2020 and went unsponsored in 2018 and 2019. It endured a sponsorship with Shell from 1992 to 2017.


With the list of changes to the event, the course remains the same as this year’s event will be played once again at the Memorial Park Golf Course. This will be the fourth consecutive year that the public course in Houston, Texas has host the event.


The Field

This week’s field is drawing some of the bigger names of the sport as they use this event as the final stop before The Masters in just two weeks time.


Texas native and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler headlines the field as he comes in on the back of back-to-back victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship.


Joining him is the man who placed runner-up to Scheffler in both of those previously mentioned events in Wyndham Clark.


Other notable names teeing it up this week and within the top 30 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) are Sahith Theegala, Tony Finau, Jason Day, and Will Zalatoris.


Finau is the defending champion of this event, winning by four strokes in 2022.


Other former winners of this event in this week's field include Lanto Griffin (2019) and J.B. Holmes (2015.)


The Course

Memorial Park Golf Course is actually a public course that sees upwards of 30,000 rounds played by amateur golfers each year.


The course was overhauled in 2019 by Tom Doak who used Brooks Koepka to consult on.


Koepka’s influence is present as this course now plays much like that of a major event. The course emulates major conditions with its combination of length and difficult green-side runoffs.


It was in disrepair and was on the verge of losing its place on the Tour until the revitalization came along.


Memorial Park Golf Course now plays as a long par 70 at 7,412 yards and will test every aspect of each golfer’s game.


It plays very untraditionally with five par threes and just three par fives. Although there is a decrease in the number of par fives, they still play crucial in any potential winner’s game.


The par threes too play long at this course, as that is the case for everything at this golf course.


The only real chance at consistent birdies here come on the par fives and as previously mentioned, must be capitalized on for anyone hoping to win.


Approach play will be key here, especially with the long-iron approach shots. The course on paper already plays long but plays even longer than what it advertises.


Half of the ten par-fours featured this week play over 490-yards as well.


Only five holes on this golf course feature a scoring average under par. The five 490-plus yard par-fours and the 237 yard par-three are the most difficult holes on this course.


Even looking back to the 2021 and 2022 playings of this event at Memorial Park, the shortest par-three, par-four and par-five each played with a scoring average over par as well.


There isn’t much in terms of bunkers, water hazards or out-of-play areas, but the thick rough that too offers difficult lies can derail any hole.


Due to Koepka’s influence, this course features major-esk greenside run-off areas that will see greens hard to hold. Due to this, golfers must come with a competent around-the-green game this week as well. 


Greens in regulation will be crucial as well, simply because any hopeful winner cannot leave any strokes out on the course.


Recent run of form will be hard to use this week as the conditions and type of course is unlike anything we’ve seen on Tour. However, last week’s Valspar Championship is relatively similar to this week’s event.


In all, golfers will be facing firm conditions, tight runouts around the green and the unpredictable gusting Texas winds that all make this golf course play much more difficult than the scorecard may suggest.


The Weather

As of the time of writing this, we may actually get four clear days of golf this week, which would be a welcome sight to what we’ve seen thus far on the PGA Tour this season. There is a zero-percent chance of precipitation for all four days. Winds will be at the lowest on Thursday at just seven miles-per-hour before climbing to 12-or-13 miles-per-hour for Friday through Sunday. Temperatures will begin at 73-degrees on Thursday before climbing to 80-degrees on Sunday. In all, it appears we’re in line for a great week of golf.


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Ball Striking

  • Average Driving Distance

  • Proximity to the Hole from 200-Plus Yards

  • Par Five Average Scoring

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green

  • Scrambling

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda)

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Par Three Average Scoring

  • Bogey Avoidance


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

Scottie Scheffler leads the way, as assumed, at $13,000. An insane number and one we may have never seen before in DFS. With that being said, I’ll opt for his second fiddle in Wyndham Clark ($10,900.) Still a bit pricey but what Clark has done on Tour this season, most notably as of late, can’t be ignored. As previously mentioned, he placed second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T2nd at THE PLAYERS Championship in his last two outings. He also has a victory on the season, winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February. I fear that for Scheffler’s price and him playing this week as more of a formality as it’s a bit of a “home” game, he won’t be fully involved. I think the opposite can be said for Clark, who looks to avenge his last two outings by topping Scheffler this week. Clark is also fourth on Tour in par five average scoring, 11th in GIR%, 13th in bogey avoidance, 17th in both SG: APP and average driving distance, 30th in ball striking, 32nd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 59th in SG: ATG, 62nd in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 65th in par three average scoring and 97th in scrambling. The ownership may be an issue with most opting off of Scheffler but I believe Clark will be firing on all cylinders. I’m also playing two units on him at +1400 on the betting card. Also consider Sahith Theegala ($10,300.) Theegala is a name I’m often not on but he models very well this week. He’s currently 14th on Tour in par five average scoring, 20th in bogey avoidance, 28th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 29th in GIR%, 44th in scrambling, 45th in par three average scoring, 51st in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 55th in ball striking, 59th in SG: APP, 63rd in average driving distance and 103rd in SG: ATG. That around-the-green number is a bit skewed as a lot of what Theegala does around the green can’t be put into a statistic. He’s also very quietly been in some great form heading into this week. He’s fresh off a T9th in his last outing at THE PLAYERS Championship and placed T6th a week prior at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He also placed fifth at the WM Phoenix Open and second at The Sentry Tournament of Champions this season. As a fan favorite the ownership figure may be worth monitoring but we can’t deny the way he matches up this week along with the form.


$9,000-$9,900

My favorite play in this price range is Alex Noren ($9,400.) Noren has been a guy I’ve been on in the DFS market as of late. He’s currently first on the entire Tour in scrambling, second in bogey avoidance, fourth in GIR%, 12th in ball striking, 24th in par five average scoring, 25th in par three average scoring, 30th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 42nd in SG: ATG, 72nd in SG: APP, 106th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards and 137th in average driving distance. What Noren lacks with distance off the tee, he makes up for in accuracy as he ranks ninth there. Noren too has been in some quality form coming into this week. He has three top 25 finishes on the season, including a T19th at THE PLAYERS Championship and a T9th at the Cognizant Classic. I’m playing a unit on him at +4500 as well. Also consider Keith Mitchell ($9,200.) Mitchell had a historic meltdown last week at the Valspar Championship, shooting a plus-six on Sunday after being the 54-hole leader by two strokes. However, he currently is first on the entire Tour in ball striking, fourth in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, sixth in GIR%, ninth in SG: APP, 24th in par five average scoring, 28th in average driving distance, 53rd in both par three average scoring and bogey avoidance, 122nd in SG: ATG, 137th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 141st in scrambling. Although he threw away the tournament last week, he still has five top-20 finishes on the season, highlighted by a T9th at both the Cognizant Classic and The American Express. I think this is a perfect DFS play as casual fans will opt off of him due to what he did on Sunday. He still matches up well statistically and is in some good form. 


$8,000-$8,900

My first play in this price range is Jake Knapp ($8,000.) Knapp offers some great value at the absolute bottom of this price range. Knapp of course has a victory on the season, claiming the Mexico Open at Vidanta. He also placed T3rd at the Farmers Insurance Open and T4th at the Cognizant Classic. He comes into this week making the cut in each of his last five events. Knapp is currently 20th on Tour in average driving distance, 21st in SG: APP, 47th in proximity to the home from 200-plus yards, 53rd in both scrambling and par three average scoring, 58th in ball striking, 64th in SG: ATG, 67th in GIR%, 70th in bogey avoidance, 85th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 116th in par five average scoring. In other words he’s above average in ten-of-11 statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Also consider Kurt Kitayama ($8,100.) Kitayama has been consistent this season, with three top 25 finishes and outside of a missed cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has a worst finish of T39th in six events. He’s currently third on Tour in par three average scoring, 11th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 12th in scrambling, 15th in bogey avoidance, 39th in average driving distance, 40th in SG: APP, 52nd in par five average scoring, 79th in GIR%, 87th in ball striking, 104th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 129th in SG: ATG. I’m also playing a unit on Kitayama at +6000.


$7,000-$7,900

In my opinion, this is an odd price range this week and there isn’t a ton I’m in love with but I do love Taylor Moore ($7,600) here. Moore is currently 14th on Tour in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 20th in GIR%, 29th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 48th in SG: APP, 54th in SG: ATG, 66th in bogey avoidance, 76th in average driving distance, 78th in scrambling, 81st in ball striking, 91st in par five average scoring and 143rd in par three average scoring. The par three scoring scares me a bit but I can look past that with what else he brings to the table. He also hasn’t missed a cut all season and is fresh off a T12th at last week’s Valspar Championship. I’m also playing a unit on him at +10000. Also consider Victor Perez ($7,000.) Right at the bottom of this price range, Perez offers some great value. He is currently third on Tour in GIR%, seventh in ball striking, 19th in SG: APP, 22nd in bogey avoidance, 54th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 87th in average driving distance, 107th in par three average scoring, 109th in par five average scoring, 117th in SG: ATG, 126th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards and 146th in scrambling. He did miss the cut last week but prior to that placed T3rd at the Puerto Rico Open and T16th at the Cognizant Classic. 


$6,000-$6,900

I’m all over Andrew Novak ($6,900) this week. If we throw out a missed cut at THE PLAYERS Championship, he has four straight events where his worst finish is a T17th at last week’s Valspar Championship. He had a run of events earlier this season where he placed T8th at both the WM Phoenix Open and Mexico Open at Vidanta and T9th at the Cognizant Classic. He is also ninth on Tour in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 11th in SG: APP, 14th in SG: ATG, 18th in GIR%, 31st in scrambling, 41st in both ball striking and bogey avoidance, 43rd in par five average scoring, 65th in par three average scoring, 75th in average driving distance and 127th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. He gained 1.106 strokes putting last week at the Valspar, however. If he can keep his putter in good form, he’ll have a chance this week. I’m playing a unit on him at +17000. Also consider Max Greyserman ($6,300.) If there’s one thing I’m certain of, the ownership on Greyserman will be minimal. He’s made three consecutive cuts coming into this week, highlighted by a T15th at the Puerto Rico Open. He’s currently 26th on Tour in SG: APP, 36th in par five average scoring, 39th in average driving distance, 47th in both ball striking and proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 53rd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 70th in GIR%, 73rd in scrambling, 83rd in bogey avoidance, 101st in SG: ATG and 136th in par three average scoring.


$5,900-

As DraftKings has introduced this new price range this season and it seems to be staying, as long as it’s available, I’ll be offering some super value plays in my weekly Out of the Rough articles. First up we have Rafael Campos ($5,200.) Campos offers some very good placement in many key statistics for this week. He’s currently sixth on Tour in ball striking, tenth in par three average scoring, 13th in GIR%, 29th in SG: APP, 34th in average driving distance, 54th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 83rd in bogey avoidance, 100th in par five average scoring, 112th in scrambling, 124th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 139th in SG: ATG. He’s made the cut in three-of-four events on the season, highlighted by a T18th at the Puerto Rico Open and T20th at the Farmers Insurance Open. Also consider Jhonattan Vegas ($5,600.) Like Campos, Vegas pops because he is very good in a few key statistics. He’s currently third on Tour in ball striking, fourth in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 13th in GIR%, 19th in average driving distance, 35th in SG: APP, 43rd in par five average scoring, 75th in bogey avoidance, 77th in par three average scoring, 128th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 165th in SG: ATG and 169th in scrambling. Of course these guys down here are going to have some red flags and with Vegas, that is scrambling and around-the-green work. Now, Vegas has missed the cut more than he’s made it this season but he did place T22nd at the WM Phoenix Open. 


Betting Card

  • Wyndham Clark (+1400) - 2u

  • Si Woo Kim (+3500) - 1u

  • Alex Noren (+4500) - 1u

  • Kurt Kitayama (+6000) - 1u

  • Taylor Moore (+10000) - 1u

  • Andrew Novak (+17000) - 1u

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