Thanks to a great week by Martin Laird we all cashed in at 38/1. Let’s continue this into the Shell Houston Open taking place this week in Humble, Texas. The field is one comprised of many players who flew over from Europe to prepare for the Masters next week. They will be joined by a long list of players just hoping to have the opportunity to participate in the Masters. To do so they will have to win this week in Texas.
Redstone Golf Club is a 7457 Yard Par 72 gem of a course. Scrambling is at a premium this week as Redstone finds a way of forcing players to work harder than they should have to. With 13 Water hazards and 60 bunkers the course penalizes players who hit errant tee and approach shots. The greens are average sized with some large undulations and subtle breaks.
The Course record at Redstone is a 63, fired by Adam Scott in 2008. Unfortunately for Adam this 1st round score was all for not as he was forced to withdraw from the tournament just a day later. Look for the players to take advantage of the Par 5`s this week as they have ranked as the easiest holes on the course over the years. The Par 4 18th however is a completely different story.
Par 4 18th – Has ranked as the most difficult hole on the course and for good reason. This finishing hole could decide the championship thanks to its lake bordering the left side of the hole. At 288 yards the players are forced to either take a gutsy line over the water or be left with an extremely long 2nd shot.
4 of the worlds to 10 players will be participating in the Masters tune up this week. There are 32 players competing this week who are currently eligible to play in next weeks Masters. As this is a tune up for some, look for certain players to have more on the line than others (not saying Lee Westwood doesn’t want to win this week but I can guarantee you he is thinking about how bad he wants to win his first major.)
Past winners of the Shell Houston Open include Anthony Kim (2010) Johnson Wagner (2008) Stuart Appleby (1999, 2006) Fred Couple (2003) Robert Allenby (2000). I feel that Redstone is a track where players who have played well previously understand the holes they can take advantage of and which ones they need to play for a Par on.
STEVES SIX PACK PICKS
We are mixing a bit of past knowledge with players who have recently been playing well for this weeks picks.
Charl Schwartzel 23/1 – To the average golf fan this name could be slightly uncommon to you. But over in Europe this year Charl has been playing lights out golf. He has only played 4 events in the United States this year, with his best result coming at the Honda Classic (T14). I feel this course sets up well for his game and like him to be there on Sunday.
Steve Marino 44/1 – I was glad he made a mess of the 15th, 16th and 17th last week but I look for him to bounce back. He is too good of a player to not win on Tour and for someone playing as well as Steve, 44/1 is a gift. He has also fared well at Redstone (finished in Top20 last two times).
Jason Day 50/1 – One of the brightest young talents on Tour. Though I wish he was entering this tournament playing better, Redstone may just be what Day needs to turn his game around. He placed T8 here in 2008 and should utilize and excellent short game to get around this course with ease. Also of note is that he ranks 10th on Tour this year at Scrambling.
Stuart Appleby 47/1 – Not one of my favorite players on Tour because he cost me big time when he fired a 59 to beat Jeff Overton, but feelings aside, he looks great this week. Stuart has won this event twice, has an excellent short game and knows how to sink clutch putts.
Webb Simpson 100/1 – Look who it is again. Webb was our long short from just two weeks ago who missed out winning his first event by 1 shot. Webb Simpson is another bright young talent on the PGA Tour. Through watching his short game I know he can take advantage of what Redstone will offer. Also he is playing well and may just play himself into the Masters this week.
Johnson Wagner 125/1 – You could be thinking who Johnson Wagner is? That’s understandable to tell you the truth. But he’s already won on Tour this year, he’s won this event before and at 125 to 1 he is our long shot of the week. *note: odds have lowered significantly to 80/1 at some sportsbooks, but I still like it as a pick*
Good luck to all our picks this week and enjoy the Shell Houston Open! Also be sure to leave your comments below