Houston Open Preview: Daily Fantasy PGA Picks & Analysis

by Aidan Reilly of www.golfpredictor.com – Know golf to a tee.

The Course/Tournament

In an effort to attract stars the week before the Masters, the 7,441-yard, par-72 Golf Club of Houston is set up like Augusta as much as possible with firm, fast greens, closely mown grass and fairways cut from the green back to the tees.

 

Winners since its inception in 1946 is a veritable who’s who of post-war golfing greats, including Byron Nelson, Bobby Locke, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Phil Mickelson. One noticeable absentee from that list is Tiger Woods, who has never played the event, even before it became the final tune-up before the Masters.

 

The weather isn’t expected to be much of a factor, with warm temperatures, lowish winds and no rain forecast during the four days of competition. There is a possibility of rain on Wednesday, which would soften the course up and lead to easier putting and consequently lower scores for the first day or two.

Recent Winners

Despite its heritage of legendary winners, the Houston Open hasn’t produced many big name winners in recent times. This is no doubt to the preference of the bigger names to not play the week before The Masters. The notable exception to this trend is Phil Mickelson, a recent winner in Mexico and a winner here in 2011.

2017     Russell Henley
2016     Jim Herman
2015     J.B. Holmes
2014     Matt Jones
2013     D.A. Points
2012     Hunter Mahan
2011     Phil Mickelson
2010     Anthony Kim
2009     Paul Casey

Horses for Courses

Many golfers like playing certain tracks and this is reflected in their usually good performances at the venue. The following golfers have good records at the Golf Club of Houston in recent years:

Russell Henley
Rickie Fowler
Phil Mickelson
Jordan Spieth
Matt Kuchar
Charles Howell III
Keegan Bradley
J.B. Holmes
Scott Piercy
Cameron Tringale

Region Specialists

Some golfers play well in certain regions, perhaps because of the climate, affinity with the local area, grasses used on the golf courses or time of year the tournaments are played there. The following golfers have good records playing in Texas in recent years:

Russell Henley
Rickie Fowler
Phil Mickelson
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Jordan Spieth
Matt Kuchar
Daniel Berger
Sean O’Hair
Charles Howell III
Bill Haas
J.B. Holmes
Scott Piercy
Sung-Hoon Kang
Bud Cauley
Danny Lee
Kevin Tway

Form Golfers

When a golfer is playing well, you have to make hay in your PlayON contests! The following golfers have been playing well lately:

Justin Rose
Phil Mickelson
Henrik Stenson
Luke List
Seung-su Han
Shubhanker Sharma
Kelly Kraft

Coming Into Form Golfers

Identifying golfers who are starting to play well and jumping on them before everyone else can you an edge in your PlayOn DFS contests. The following golfers are showing signs of coming into form:

Rickie Fowler
Matt Kuchar
Charles Howell III
Harris English
Paul Dunne
Ian Poulter
Abraham Ancer
Corey Conners

Similar Strength Events

Certain golfers only play well in events with weaker fields, while others shine when the opposition is more severe. The following golfers have played well at events with similar strength fields to the Houston Open in recent years:

Justin Rose
Brandon Harkins
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Phil Mickelson
Rickie Fowler
Jason Dufner
Shane Lowry
Bill Haas
Henrik Stenson

Long Cut Streaks

It’s vital to get as many of your line-up into the weekend if you want to succeed in your PlayON DFS contests. The following golfers with the longest cut streaks in the field may be solid choices to maximise your points scored this week:

Matt Kuchar (24)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (14)
Emiliano Grillo (14)
Justin Rose (13)
Dylan Frittelli (12)
Thomas Pieters (12)
James Hahn (12)
Rory Sabbatini (8)
Martin Kaymer (7)
Luke List (6)
Seung-Su Han (6)
Patrick Rodgers (6)
Tyrone Van Aswegen (6)
Nick Watney (6)

Most Strokes Gained Putting 

As the greens will be set up like those at Augusta, putting prowess will be very important this week (assuming the course isn’t softened up by pre-tournament rain). The following golfers  have the best strokes gained putting (per round) in the field on the US Tour:

Phil Mickelson (1.082)
Greg Chalmers (1.034)
Justin Rose (1.022)
Meen-Whee Kim (0.825)
Chris Stroud (0.794)
Nicholas Lindheim (0.742)
Ben Crane (0.664)
Brandt Snedeker (0.655)
Peter Malnati (0.652)
Patrick Rodgers  (0.586)
Seamus Power (0.572)
Daniel Berger (0.531)
Emiliano Grillo (0.498)
Matt Kuchar (0.474)
Johnson Wagner (0.470)

Most PlayON Average Points Per Game 

This important metric shows the average points scored by each player in PlayON contests this season. High values indicate golfers who have consistently delivered in contests and therefore could be good choices. The following golfers have the best PlayON average points per game in the field:

Shubhankar Sharma (297)
Phil Mickelson (261)
Justin Rose (239)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (235)
Scott Piercy (235)
Chez Reavie (235)
Brandon Harkins (233)
Tony Finau (232)
James Hahn (231)
Nate Lashley (231)

High Salary PlayON Picks ($15m & Up)

Normally, the golfers in this category are in the top echelon and therefore have the best stats. Based on the above lists and/or their average points per game, the following players stand out:

Justin Rose
Phil Mickelson
Rickie Fowler
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Shubhankar Sharma
Matt Kuchar
Russell Henley

Mid Salary PlayON Picks ($10m-$14.9m)

It is usually possible to find some good mid-range picks for a tournament, as some golfers tend to be undervalued relative to their stats (of course, the opposite is also true!). Based on the above lists and /or their average points per game, the following players stand out in this category:

Brandon Harkins
Scott Piercy
Bud Cauley
Kelly Kraft
Harris English
Kevin Tway
Patrick Rodgers

Low Salary PlayON Picks (Below $10m)

It’s tougher to find picks in this category, as it usually contains the lowest tier golfers with the worst stats. Based on the above lists and /or their average points per game, the following players are worth considering in this category:

Corey Conners
Tyrone van Aswegen
Nick Watney
Cameron Tringale
Seamus Power
Lanto Griffin
Nate Lashley

Summary

Hopefully, you can identify some good picks for your PlayON contest using this article. Check out Golf Predictor for more great data and analytical tools for the Houston Open. In addition to many useful stats and charts, you can filter the field by over fifty metrics, including PlayON salary and average points scored, and create your dream PlayON line-up!

Play in the $2,000 Guaranteed Houston Open game, starting Thursday at PlayON

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