Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open: PGA Tour preview with strokes gained data, players to watch and more

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Enjoy it, folks. Breathe it in because, in a few weeks, the PGA Tour is going on a nearly month-long hiatus.

In the meantime, it’s time to go down to Texas for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open. Defending champion Carlos Ortiz, just a week after Viktor Hovland defended his title in Mexico, was hoping to do the same in Houston. However, he withdrew from the event Tuesday due to a left shoulder injury. He came into the week in good form grabbing a solo runner-up in his home country of Mexico last week.

Brooks Koepka may be the biggest name in the field, but the world No. 15 is struggling to begin this season and will look to turn that around in Houston. Last year, Koepka tied for fifth at this golf course.

Golf course

Memorial Park Golf Course
Par 70
7,412 yards
Bermuda greens

Weather

Day

Conditions

Percent chance of rain

Wind & Direction

Tuesday

Partly Cloudy

6 percent

9 MPH (SE)

Wednesday

Partly Cloudy

24 percent

13 MPH (SSE)

Thursday

Partly Cloudy

24 percent

11 MPH (NNW)

Friday

Sunny

8 percent

8 MPH (NNE)

Saturday

Sunny

0 percent

9 MPH (N)

Sunday

Mostly Sunny

9 percent

11 MPH (S)

Key stats

Driving distance: Data Golf has driving distance as the second-most important stat for the week (behind Strokes Gained: Approach). Recent champions, though, don’t quite reflect that. Carlos Ortiz and Lanto Griffin, both not known for the long ball, are the two winners at Memorial Park. However, at a par 70 golf course measuring over 7,400 yards, distance off the tee doesn’t hurt.

Bermuda putting: I say it every week the guys are on Bermuda greens – some players love ’em, some hate ’em. Look for players who thrive on lightning Bermuda.

Data Golf information

Course Fit (compares golf courses based on the degree to which different golfer attributes — such as driving distance — to predict who performs well at each course – DataGolf): 1. Albany (home to Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge), 2. Detroit Golf Club (home to the Rocket Mortgage Classic), 3. Southern Hills CC

Trending (among the players in the field): 1. Sungjae Im (last three starts: T-13, 1, T-9), 2. Cameron Smith (T-34, T-14, T-9), 3. Sam Burns (1, T-14, T-5)

Percent chance to win (based on course history, fit, trending, etc.): 1. Sam Burns (4.7 percent), 2. Scottie Scheffler (4 percent), 3. Sungjae Im (3.9 percent)

Betting odds

Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds a full list.

Sam Burns (+1300)

Cameron Smith (+2000)

Scottie Scheffler (+2000)b

Sungjae Im (+2000)

Adam Scott (+3000)

Tony Finau (+3000)

Tyrrell Hatton (+3000)

Brooks Koepka (+3000)

Talor Gooch (+3000)

Aaron Wise (+3000)

Betting card for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open

(Last week at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba: 3-5 record, +430, or +4.3 units)

Talor Gooch – Top 20 (+170)

Talor Gooch plays his shot from the eighth tee during the third round of the Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on October 12, 2019 in Humble, Texas. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Gooooooch. Is his name fun to say? Yes. Is that why he’s on the card this week? No, but it is one reason. Gooch has played well this season: T-4, T-11, T-5, T-11. He’s not overpowering golf courses, but he’s getting it out there far enough, 306 yards on average, while finding the short grass 75.69 percent of the time, good enough for 15th on Tour.

The last two seasons at Memorial Park, Gooch was fantastic: T-4 (2019), 4th (2020).

Aaron Wise – Top 20 (+165)

Aaron Wise lines up a putt on the 2nd green during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

Have to ride with the hot hand. Wise’s only win came in Texas back in 2018 at the AT&T Byron Nelson, so he’ll be comfortable in Houston. Last season at this event, he finished T-11. Over his last three events, Wise has finished T-8, T-5, and T-15.

Russell Henley – Top 20 (+220)

Russell Henley
Russell Henley

Russell Henley (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

This is my value pick for the week. One bad round in Mexico cost him a chance of a high finish, a Saturday 76. His other two starts this season? T-21 and T-25. He’s on the verge of a great start, and it may just be in the city in which he got his last win. He’s driving it nearly 300 yards on average, long enough to get around Memorial Park. He’s hitting 78.7 percent of fairways, which ranks third on Tour, while ranking first in SG: Approach.