The PGA Tour is returning to Memorial Park golf course for the second straight year for the playing of the Houston Open. There is at least some data now that we can use to make some assumptions about the course, but it is a small sample. Carlos Ortiz was the winner at -13, and Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama finished T2 at -11.
The first thing I noticed when looking at the PGA Tour’s data from the basic stats from the 2020 event was that the average driving distance was 303 yards and driving accuracy was 53% for the field. Looking at the larger view, it appears that distance is preferred, and nothing stopped the field from holding back on the tee box. Again, we will learn a lot more this year with four more rounds of data on a full field, but when in doubt, distance is the largest advantage off the tee.
The last thing that stood out was the number of strokes gained around the green. I do recall, when interviewed last year, Brooks Koepka mentioning the lack of bunkers and thicker rough around the green will test the field and it appears that those with some touch around the greens could pick up a couple strokes throughout the tournament if this trend stays true. It’s not something I believe needs to heavily baked in however it should be noted and perhaps used to differentiate some golfers.
Below are two of my favorite bets I’ve already made for the Houston Open. Some of the lines have moved, but the subscriber discord was alerted when the wager was made and entered on my picks page. This is the best way to make sure you can find the best numbers available. If you’re not yet a member, sign up now and use promo code “Axis” to get 10% off!
I’m not sure what prompted FanDuel to open this line here, but we hit it quickly and it’s currently sitting at Scheffler -142, which I would not bet. In other words, this is a huge reason to become an FTN Bets member, because members could have seen this bet on the Bet Tracker and capitalized. I made Scheffler -128, so I was quite surprised to see +112 as the opening line. I understand Gooch has been playing some splendid golf and I’ve backed him quite a bit through this run, but I prefer Scheffler’s profile at Memorial Park and think he deserves a better adjustment. Gooch has relied heavily on some stellar chipping and Schefflers OTT numbers are depressed to start the 2022 season. This can be deceiving though because last week’s World Wide Tech Championship did not have strokes gained data. If you look at Scheffler’s basic stats from last week, his distance gained and accuracy imply he would have in fact gained strokes OTT. Gooch did finish fourth at this event last season, with a majority of his gains coming on the green, so I think that can be a bit deceiving as well.
Vegas is coming off a missed cut down in Mayakoba, but that course plays to the complete opposite of his best skill set, which is smashing the ball as far down the hole as possible. The distance should give him a leg up on the tough par 4’s that Memorial Park has, with five of them coming in at 490-plus yards. Vegas has been the same player his entire pro career so what we are backing isn’t a mystery and considering his skill set, he’s one of the better putters of the “bomb and gouge” types he gets lumped with. We don’t see him push for victory often, but he does seem streaky and has excelled on courses in the past that allow him to hit driver 14 times per round at full power.
Bryan DeCorte, better known as Axis, is a PGA & Euro golf analyst for FTN. Axis has been deep diving golf stats for 5+ years and before joining FTN he was a part of Fantasy Golf Bag. He specializes in 72-hole match up betting and Euro Tour DFS.