Walker set to continue his run in Texas?
With just a week to go to The Masters you may have thought that the world’s best players may be taking a break ahead of the first Major of the year.
Not a bit of it: there is a very strong field heading to the Golf Club of Houston this week for the final few rounds of competition golf before the battle for the Masters commences.
Keep reading for our preview of this weekend’s event.
Golf Club of Houston prepared as a primer for Augusta
The Shell Houston Open has been held at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble since 2003. It’s common knowledge that tournament officials at the club prepare the 7,441-yard, par 36-36=72 course as a primer for Augusta National, meaning that players have to be precise and creative.
For six consecutive seasons, Golf Club of Houston has ranked as the hardest course in scrambling from the rough. The average was 37.05 percent in 2014, meaning around three out of every eight greens were missed in regulation. Strong GIR stats and good putting are likely to be crucial this week.
The favourites in the betting
Jimmy Walker‘s mid-career purple patch continued last week at the Valero Texas Open. Having earned $7.3 million in the first 12 years of his professional career, Walker has now earned $9.26 million in the last two seasons.
He has led the FedEx Cup rankings for 47 of the last 61 weeks and is now at a career-high of 10 in the world rankings.
Walker has already won twice on the Tour this season and has made the last five cuts at this event. Placed T24 in 2015 he can go well again this week at 12/1.
Three weeks ago we tipped Jordan Spieth to win the Valspar Championship and the young American duly obliged at 15/1. On current form we suggested that you follow him again last week and despite a run of birdies towards the end of the Valero Texas Open he ended up in solo second place – his fifth top ten finish in seven starts.
Spieth’s putting has been excellent in recent weeks and this could be a huge advantage both this week and at Augusta. The 21 year old is the 15/2 favourite.
Patrick Reed finished second on his last start a couple of weeks ago and the young American is on a run of 16 consecutive cuts. Ranked second in scrambling from the rough, Reed is someone who will clearly make a Major breakthough at some point soon and it won’t be long before he is ranked in the world’s top ten.
The 24 year old Texan has a Tour win under his belt already this season and can go well at 16/1.
Outsiders’ odds to watch
Lee Westwood’s recent good form has rather flown under the radar but the Englishman has been in decent touch and has an excellent record at this event.
The Ryder Cup star has recorded seven consecutive top-25 finishes worldwide and he has finished in the top 25 in each of the six PGA Tour events he has played in the 2014/15 season.
If you add that five of his last six trips to Houston have resulted in top 25 finishes then it’s clear he is both in consistent form and has a good record at this event. Back him at 34/1.
Brendan Steele‘s T8 finish last week was his 15th consecutive cut made and also his third top 15 result in his last four starts. He ranks T5 on Tour in par-4 scoring and 10th in strokes gained tee-to-green, stats which should serve him well in Humble this week.
Steele will be 32 years old on Sunday – what better way to celebrate his birthday than winning his second PGA Tour title? He is a 49/1 chance.
This is essentially the home event for Shawn Stefani who, despite never winning a Tour event, is in decent form and could well break his duck this week at the GC of Houston, Humble, TX
The 34 year old started the year well with a T6 in Hawaii and after missing a couple of cuts has recorded three top 26 finishes in his last three events. He is currently ranked 18th in the FedEx Cup standings and finished solo 5th at the Houston Open in 2014. Stefani looks good each-way value at 49/1.
Check out all our pre-tournament odds on the 2015 Shell Houston Open over at our main site now and have a punt today by clicking the button below!