Golf Rankings for Houston Open
The Houston Open is one of my favorite events on Tour. The course is fantastic, and we have a stacked field of guys tuning up for the Masters. We have Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, and Henrik Stenson, to name some headliners.
The golf course for the Houston Open is Golf Club of Houston, a par-72 that stretches out to 7,441 yards. One cool thing about this event is that the venue does its best to replicate the course conditions that players are going to see next week at the Masters. Greens will be running around a 12 or 13 on the stimpmeter, and if the wind picks up (which it will) and the course can stay dry, the greens could get extremely greasy by Sunday. Distance will be at a premium this week because the rough isn't too long and bad drives won't be as penal as errant shots on some other courses. Also, many of the holes favor a draw for right-handed players or a fade for the left-handers (another similar aspect to Augusta).
One other thing to consider this week is Narrative Street. This week's winner will earn a spot into the Masters next week. Some of the high-caliber players who are not yet in the field at Augusta include: Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Ian Poulter, and Emiliano Grillo. Keegan Bradley is one that most intrigues me, but I'll be taking a close look at these players.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): Ball-striking, especially with irons, is going to be a major key for players this week. With high winds expected here, controlling iron shots into the greens will be extremely important. Also, scoring is typically low here, so the players are going to need to back a bundle of birdies this week. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained approach are Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Luke List, Joel Dahmen, Scott Piercy, Brandon Harkins, and Rickie Fowler.
Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee (SG:OTT): Every week, off-the-tee play is a main target. Guys who can hit it long and straight have a huge advantage over the rest of the field. It makes courses shorter, and allows them to hit approach shots from shorter distances, setting up birdies. Houston typically has short rough, so bombs away! The best off-the-tee players in recent weeks are Luke List, Byeong-Hun An, .Corey Conners, Jordan Spieth, Jason Kokrak, and Hunter Mahan.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are really not many weeks where we aren't going to target birdie or better percentage, because that's what fantasy golf scoring is all about. This event should lend itself to low scores, with some short par-4s and reachable par-5s. The best players in this field in recent birdie or better percentage are Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, James Hahn, Jason Kokrak, Chesson Hadley, and Lanto Griffin.
Par-4 Scoring (P4): All three tracks this week are par-72s, which means par-5 scoring will be a major differentiator. Players who can attack these holes and rack up birdies and eagles will be leading throughout the week. This could mean bombers, or it could mean elite wedge players. Some of the best par-5 scorers in this field are Kevin Na, Jon Rahm, Brian Harman, Nick Watney, Bill Haas, Harold Varner, and J.J. Spaun.
Rickie Fowler - World Ranking: #9
Phil Mickelson - World Ranking: #24
Justin Rose - World Ranking: #13
Jordan Spieth - World Ranking: #6
Russell Henley - World Ranking: #55
Luke List - World Ranking: #128
Tony Finau - World Ranking: #67
Byeong Hun An - World Ranking: #58
Henrik Stenson - World Ranking: #7
Charles Howell III - World Ranking: #70
Keegan Bradley - World Ranking: #120
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