After a wild week weather-wise at the Valero Texas Open, the tour now heads down the road into Houston for the Shell Houston Open. This event will be the final tune-up tournament before the years first major of the year, the Masters.
The course the Players will be on this week is the Redstone Course at the Golf Club in Houston. It’s a par 72 that plays at 7400-7500 yards depending on setup and has been the host course for this tournament for the past ten years. As this is the week before the Masters the course is usually setup in several different ways to mimic the conditions at Augusta, the most notable of which is the fast greens that are traditionally a staple here. The course also has a lot of water, as it comes into play on ten holes. The fairways in general are quite wide and do not punish inaccuracy as severely as last week.
As the course plays quite long big hitters have traditionally done well here. This trend may be even more magnified this week as rain is in the forecast that could soften the course up and make it play longer than usual. As such I’ve looked at driving distance to help me make some decisions this week. I’ve also used player rankings in par 5 scoring and strokes-gained putting to help decide on my choices this week. Winning scores here have traditionally been between 12 and 18 under par and so the players will have to score to keep up with the field. Players who have had a hot putter and can dominate the par 5’s will be extra valuable this week.
This is the final week before DraftKings massive 2.2 million guaranteed Masters tournament. Use this week as a warmup by taking part in DraftKings 27$ 100k guaranteed and use our selections below to help with your rosters.
DraftKings Shell Houston Open Tiered Picks
Top Shelf (10000 and above)
Matt Kuchar (11700): After getting stuck in the poor end of the draw last week, Kuchar comes back to an event he has really taken to over the past few years. In his past 3 visits to Houston, Kuchar has posted a 2nd and two 8th places finishes. While Kuchar does not possess the power that some of the other players in the field possess, he can still blitz a golf course with his accurate wedge game and great scrambling ability. I expect Kuchar to make another run at this title and let people know he’s a serious contender for the years first major.
Patrick Reed (11400): Patrick Reed has really had a phenomenal last year or so. His last event saw him come from way back on Sunday to nearly win in a playoff vs Jordon Spieth and Sean O’Hair. After a couple weeks off Reed comes to a golf course that he doesn’t have much history on, but I personally would not let that scare you from playing him this week. Reed should be primed and ready for a big week heading into Augusta and should draw added inspiration from seeing Spieth contend once again last Sunday. Expect Reed’s competitive side to come out and propel him to another good finish.
Second Tier (8000 to 9999)
Louis Oosthuizen (9300): Oosthuizen has been wrestling with back problems for the past few years but now finally seems healthy. When he is on he is one of the longest hitters in the game and can really dominate the par 5’s. Oosthuizen has put up some very nice results lately having posted two top tens in his last three tournaments. When Oosthuizen is on he is quite simply one of the best players in the game, With Augusta looming, I expect his A game to be on display this week in Houston.
JB Holmes (9300): Holmes is another player I am targeting on Draftkings due to both his power and his terrific record at this event. Holmes has made the cut in each of his past four visits to Houston and in 2009 lost in a playoff to Paul Casey for the outright win. Holmes has been one of the best players on tour period this year and will want to wipe the taste of a missed cut two weeks ago from his mouth before teeing it up for Augusta. He should dominate the par 5’s here and could quite easily be last man standing on Sunday afternoon.
Lee Westwood (9200): Westwood has quietly been having a very solid season. In all of the US PGA tour events he’s played in Westwood has yet to finish lower than 26th place. Even better, Westwood has shown very improved play with his putter as he currently ranks 17th in strokes gained putting on the year. Westwood typically loves this time of the season as he always seems to contend at Augusta. In his past 5 visits to Redstone, Westwood’s worst finish is a T30 and he has booked strong finishes of 11th, 10th and 8th in that span as well. I think Westwood is quietly primed for a big week here and am recommending him for use in cash and gpp lineups on Draftkings.
Paul Casey (8000): Paul Casey should be in a great mood this week as he recently found out he will get to join the rest of the world’s top players at Augusta next week. Casey comes into Houston after missing the cut at Bay Hill, but has had success in the past in at this event having won it back in 2009. Casey is a big hitter who currently ranks 7th in par 5 scoring on the year. I expect him to swing freely this week and challenge the par 5’s. He is one of the best value plays on Draftkings as he offers similar upside to those ranked much higher than him in price.
Third Tier (6000 to 7999):
Shawn Stefani (7700): There’s certainly a lot to like about Shawn Stefani this week. Stefani comes into this event having made 7 of his last 8 cuts on tour while not posting worse than 26th place in his last three events. Stefani is a Texas native who came to Houston last year in need of a big finish to fulfill a medical exemption and got it finishing 5th. There’s a lot of good vibes around Stefani this week and to add to them he currently ranks 13th in par 5 scoring and was 3rd in strokes gained putting at the Valero. He’s a great value play this week that can be used across all your lineups.
Russell Henley (7000): Henley often goes under the radar, but there are few players his age who have enjoyed as much success as he has had on tour. Henley has made 6 of 6 cuts on tour this year and, even though he hasn’t posted a top finish for a while, comes into this event with good prospects for a big week. Henley finished 7th here last year on the strength of his excellent putting and underrated distance off the tee. One of the best with the flatstick on tour, Henley makes for a great under the radar play this week as he gets in his final prep for Augusta.
Scott Piercy (6400): Piercy returned to action after a short layoff at the Valero and played solid enough by simply making the cut in some pretty horrid conditions. He has played at Houston 4 times and made the cut all 4 appearances. Piercy has good distance as he ranks 39th in distance of the tee and also ranks 30th in par 5 scoring. He seems to suit the course and at his very reduced price makes for one of the best plays under 6500 this week on Draftkings.
Robert Streb (6100): Streb has endured some tough times as of late but should be primed for a rebound here. Streb is one week away from his debut the Masters and will want to build some confidence by making the cut and putting together four solid rounds of golf. Streb has played in the Houston event once before finishing a strong 22nd. This week his price is extremely discounted on Draftkings due to his recent struggles and I’m suggesting you take advantage. Streb has the distance to take advantage of the par 5’s and has been putting solidly all year. He could really bounce back in a back way this week and land you a lot of fantasy points.
Bottom Feeders (under 6000):
Angel Cabrera (5900): There’s no one player who is harder to predict for fantasy purposes than Angel Cabrera. Always capable of winning any golf tournament Cabrera has been quiet so far this season but did flash some form at early season events. Now one week away from his favorite major of the year, Cabrera returns to the Shell Houston Open where he has actually posted some consistent results in the past, making the cut in 4 of his last 5 visits while posting a 16th and a 21st place finish. He ranks 7th in par 5 scoring and has the length to overpower this course. I like Cabrera this week as a sneaky gpp play and to possibly even contend as he gets ready for Augusta.
DA Points (5100): Points is a former winner of this event who recently posted a very nice 13th place finish at Bay Hill where he also ranked 3rd in strokes gained putting for the week. Points drew the bad end of the draw last week at the Valero and missed the cut but it’s hard to fault him too much as the conditions for his wave were awful. Points is another streaky player, but when he is on he really can bring it, especially with his putter. I think Points makes for a decent value play this week given his history at the event and fact his game seems to be headed in the right direction.
This week offers up some big names in the field as players look to steady their games before Augusta. Look for those players who might be looking to up their confidence level heading into the years first major or possibly looking to breakout on a course they had some success on in the past.