The Golf Club of Houston will host the Houston Open one last time.
Will they take it easy on the golfers or go out with a maniacal laugh?
That's yet to be determined but we do know a few things will be different this time around, compared to the April date.
First, the grass will not be overseeded so it's just pure bermuda this week which makes the rough more penalizing. As for green speeds, they will be targeting a 12-foot reading on the stimp instead of a 12.5, letting their foot off the gas just a bit in that regard.
The conditions may be slightly different this year but the sightlines are still the same. The also remains the same for DFS gamers. Get 6-of-6 golfers through the cut line (top 65 and ties) while gravitating as many of those golfers toward the top of the leaderboard.
Let's have a look at some course-fit angles to see if we can find some bargain-bin plays to help accomplish our goal this week...
Thursday (R1): Sunny with a high of 86 degrees. Patchy rain possible. Winds at 6 MPH increasing to 13 in the PM.
Friday (R2): Patches of rain with a high of 75 degrees. Winds at 5 MPH increasing to 15 MPH in the PM.
The threat of heavy winds can never be ruled out in Texas. Scott Piercy is also on the record of saying the wind really plays a big part at this course specifically, even at speeds of around 10 MPH. The tee-time waves look pretty even right now but games that allow daily subs should try to target the morning waves on Thursday and Friday with winds projected to be freshening in the afternoons.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
Brian Harman (63.15 Projected Pts): Course history isn't everything but I do take note in extreme cases. Harman is 3-for-6 at this event with nothing better than T52 on his resume. Not worth a top-5 pick in my opinion.
Jhonattan Vegas (58.83 Projected Pts): A home game for Vegas this week but that hasn't worked wonders in the past. He has finished outside the top 45 in 6-of-8 starts in Houston. He also has 11 straight finishes outside of the top 30. Nothing that screams top-10 pick this week.
Scottie Scheffler (44.05 Projected Pts): They've actually given him a boost this week but he's still sitting way too lower on the DRAFT board. Scheffler was the Player of the Year on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and he's a Dallas native. Returning to the Lone Star State should provide some sparks.
Cole Hammer (25.00 Projected Pts): The young Houston native is still an amateur but he has big game. You don't need to stretch this far in small or mid-sized contests but if you play in those 8 or 10 team DRAFTS then Hammer becomes an interesting pick toward the back end of rounds.
A move to October means pure bermudagrass this week in Houston. Let's have a look at golfers that like the grainy grass.
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance on bermuda greens over the last three 3 years (PGA, KFT, Euro Tour) the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on bermuda (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
A couple of young Southerners and ole' reliable, Patty Perez. Shelton has done most of his bermuda damage on the Korn Ferry Tour but also has some good results to start the new season. Burns is still trying to play his way back into form after the ankle injury. Perez is coming off a strong finish in Vegas which features bermuda tee-to-green but bentgrass greens.
Tom Lewis: The Englishman is trying to balance his schedule across both tours right now. We've seen many golfers try to do this in the past and if they spread themselves thin on both fronts then it becomes a battle to keep their card. As for Lewis, he was originally committed to play in Houston and Rome this week but chose Houston in the end. If we look at strength of field adjusted performance over the last year then Lewis is arguably top 5 in this week's field but he's priced below the average price of a golfer. Will bermudagrass hold him back? Well, he grabbed a pair of top 10s earlier this season on bermuda in the Middle East. Plenty of value here.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!