Golf Club of Houston (Tournament Course) - Par 72 - 7,441 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $7.5M
The Houston Open used to generate buzz as the final opportunity to qualify for the Masters each spring, but the event's brief transition to the fall slate is accompanied by an underwhelming field, which is an understatement to say the least. The headliner is none other than Henrik Stenson, while other massive attractions such as Jason Dufner and Nick Watney will also be in attendance. The tournament is slated to experience another changeup next year when Memorial Park Golf Course takes the place of the Golf Club of Houston. The latter venue is extremely scorable when the Texan wind remains somewhat tame, while massive putting surfaces emphasis the importance of proximity on approach shots. Let's get into our value picks for Yahoo contests this week.
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Birdie or better percentage
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Henrik Stenson - $47
Stenson is the lone representative from the Official World Golf Rankings' top-40 at the Golf Club of Houston, and he's also the only entrant with betting odds any better than 25/1 according to golfodds.com (10/1). The Swede, who elected not to participate in the FedEx Cup Playoffs upon the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular season, instead traveled back to Europe in late August where he tied for third at the Scandinavian Invitation before adding another top-20 at the BMW PGA Championship. He owns four top-6 results in seven career trips to the Houston Open, including runner-up honors in 2013 and 2016.
Bradley's historically provided a solid floor at the Houston Open with just one missed cut in eight showings at the venue, but he's also collected a trio of top-10s here. It might be rare to see Bradley reach the $40 mark in terms of price, but career-wise he's very easily one of the best players among this week's pedestrian field. Bradley struggled mightily on the front nine during Sunday's final round at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open as he ultimately posted his worst score of the week by five shots, though he managed to play his last nine holes of the tournament in bogey-free fashion while adding three birdies along the way. Just last season, Bradley ranked 19th on Tour in SG: Approach and 10th in proximity.
Berger has finished no worse than tied for 25th in each of his first four appearances at the Golf Club of Houston, notably posting back-to-back fifth-place results here in 2016 and 2017. He gained over four strokes off the tee last week at TPC Summerlin, ultimately ranking T15 or better in both driving accuracy and distance. Another similar driving performance could be lethal, but he'll need to finish much higher than just T55 in GIR percentage this week. Through eight measured rounds this season, Berger is 16th in SG: OTT and sixth in birdie average.
The FedEx Cup standings don't matter in the slightest at this point in the season, but Harman is ranked 10th through three events played thanks to finishes of T3-T14-T18 from A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier to the Shriners Open, where he gained just over four strokes on approaches while rising to ninth on Tour in this metric. He's also seventh in scoring average, 25th in proximity, seventh in scrambling and ninth in one-putt percentage through 12 measured rounds. His course history is crummy, but that may aid in limiting his ownership as a handful of casual gamers place too much of an emphasis on this somewhat questionable denominator.
Russell Henley - $31
As THE undisputed horse for the course this week at the Golf Club of Houston, Henley figures to be an uber popular play at such an affordable price. He's racked up five consecutive top-10s here, including a three-shot victory in 2017 at 20-under-par. Henley hasn't missed a cut since the 3M Open in early July and he just gained over seven strokes on his approach shots at the Shriners Open, good enough to rank third among the field en route to hitting 83.33 percent of greens in regulation. On the season, Henley is 11th in proximity from 50-125 yards and 30th in par-4 scoring.
Lanto Griffin - $30
Griffin is on a roll to begin the 2019-20 campaign since tying for seventh at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship with four straight top-20s from The Greenbrier to the Shriners, ascending to 176th in the OWGR and 11th in the FedEx Cup standings. Griffin's precision both off the tee and with his irons was a bit of a concern last week in Las Vegas, but he made up for it by ranking ninth in scrambling as he got up and down at a rate of 73.68 percent. His ball striking has otherwise been just fine, gaining strokes from tee to green in five consecutive PGA Tour events dating back to the Wyndham Championship.
Cameron Tringale - $29
Tringale finished in double-digit red numbers in four consecutive Houston Opens from 2012-2015, tallying a pair of top-5 performances in the process before regression here over the past few years. He's back to playing quality golf, however, making the cut in nine of his last 10 starts dating to the AT&T Byron Nelson. Through 12 measured rounds this season, he's 30th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 28th in proximity from 125-150 yards and 26th in scrambling.
Denny McCarthy - $28
McCarthy's ordinary $28 expense reflects sleeper status, but he's unlikely to slip through the cracks after notching a T9 at the Shriners Open last week when he racked up a tournament-best 28 birdies and gained over nine strokes with the flat stick. Variance issues can easily arise when it comes to the putter, but McCarthy leads this week's field in SG: Putting over his last 50 rounds, so that's no fluke. Aside from the red-hot putter, McCarthy also ranks 26th on Tour in GIR percentage.