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Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
Memorial Park Golf Course - Par 70 - 7,412 yards
Field - 132 entrants
Purse - $7.5M
The PGA Tour's rookie class of '19 continued its dominance last week as Viktor Hovland successfully defended his title at Mayakoba, firing four consecutive scores of 67 or better while racking up 28 total birdies en route to his four-shot victory. This ultimately allowed the 24-year-old to join the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his young career.
Par-breakers will be much tougher to come by this week, however, as Memorial Park Golf Course not only features just three par-5s to five par-3s, but it also played as one of the most difficult venues on Tour last season while hosting the Houston Open for the first time since 1963. A three-over-par cut line demonstrates demanding scoring conditions, which can be exaggerated by the typical Texan winds.
Unlike the aforementioned Hovland situation, we won't get to see a title-defense effort this week as 2020 champion Carlos Ortiz was unfortunately forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.
2020 - Carlos Ortiz (Memorial Park Golf Course)
2019 – Lanto Griffin (Golf Club of Houston)
2018 – Ian Poulter (Golf Club of Houston)
2017 – Russell Henley (Golf Club of Houston)
2016 - Jim Herman (Golf Club of Houston)
2015 – J.B. Holmes (Golf Club of Houston)
2014 – Matt Jones (Golf Club of Houston)
2013 – D.A. Points (Golf Club of Houston)
2012 – Hunter Mahan (Golf Club of Houston)
2011 – Phil Mickelson (Golf Club of Houston)
Key Stats to Victory
Proximity: 150-200+ yards
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Sam Burns - $44
Burns is the favorite this week for a reason, as he paces the field in a number of statistical categories over his last 12 rounds, including SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Tee-to-Green and Par-3: 200-225 efficiency. He's also No. 2 in SG: Approach, birdie or better percentage and bogey avoidance during this recent stretch that dates back to his win at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The $44 salary isn't even close to being a lineup detriment, especially for someone with such a high ceiling and rising floor as Burns has become much more reliable this year.
Matthew Wolff - $38
Hidden beneath potential popular selections such as Scottie Scheffler ($42) and Cameron Smith ($40), Wolff is sandwiched between Max Homa and Cameron Tringale on the salary board, who are both 50-1 or worse to win the tournament. Wolff, who's coming off back-to-back top-5s at the Shriners Children's Open and the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, is underpriced in this spot. He's obviously one of the longest hitters on Tour, but is also second in scrambling over his last 24 measured rounds and ninth in bogey avoidance throughout his past 12.
Aaron Wise - $36
Wise just continues to produce for us, racking up 18 birdies and two eagles on the way to a T15 last week in Mexico. He's surged 40 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking since the Sanderson Farms Championship, placing T15-T5-T8-T26 in four starts this season. Throughout his past 12 measured rounds, Wise ranks fourth in SG: Around-the-Green, fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green and ninth in birdie or better percentage. The 25-year-old tied for 11th here at Memorial Park in 2020.
Talor Gooch - $34
Now you might notice the Glue Guys section mirrors that of last week's, as Gooch also returned value with a top-15 finish and 20 par-breakers of his own despite falling from contention during Sunday's final round. He's ascended to a career-best 51st in the OWGR, posting results of T11-T5-T11-T4 since the season opener in Napa. Gooch enjoyed a top-5 result at the Houston Open last year when he closed with a seven-under 63 on Sunday. He's also top-5 among this week's field in SG: Approach and SG: Around-the-Green over his last 12 measured rounds.
Luke List - $23
List's salary questionably rose $3 after his missed cut at El Camaleon Golf Club last week, but he's still worth targeting down in this range thanks to his ball-striking upside and possibly reduced rostership with two MCs in three starts dating back to the Shriners Children's Open. Over his last 24 rounds, he's top-15 in both driving distance and GIR percentage. Reducing the sample size to 12 rounds, List ranks seventh in proximity from 175-200 yards, seventh in birdie or better percentage and 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Sahith Theegala - $20
The three-time NCAA All-American has made the cut in three of four starts to begin his rookie campaign, highlighted by a T8 at the Sanderson Farms Championship where he gained 6.8 strokes from tee to green while also picking up three shots on the field with the flat stick. Theegala profiles as a GPP dart throw, as he resides 12th in Par-4: 450-500 efficiency, sixth in bogey avoidance and sixth in SG: T2G over his last 12 treks around the course.