Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Houston Open - 2013

Another quality tournament in store this week on the PGA sees a quality field line up at Redstone GC in Texas. This event is normally played the week before the Masters but has swapped weeks with the Valero Open taking place next week as a result of those organizers having a clause that they wont finish a tournament on Easter Sunday. The switch seems to have upset Phil Mickelson, as he likes to play Houston the week before the Masters. This year he will have a week off in between. A lot of eyes will be on Lefty here this week as a good performance will see his odds slashed for Augusta. Same can be said for Rory McIlroy. Should he be in the mix this week his odds will come in for Augusta and perhaps Tiger will drift back out. But we'll have to see how it goes this week in Texas. One thing we also need to keep an eye on this week is any Masters fancies, as Redstone GC is very similar to Augusta in setup. Long course, almost identical in length and fast, very fast greens. Those players with good GIR and scrambling stats this week will head to Georgia in a good state of mind !

I have once again gone through quite a lengthy shortlist yesterday and today, whittled in down to 23 as of Tuesday morning, scratched a few off it and then put one or two back on it. Its an intriguing event but stats do tend to back up the trend that Texans can do quite well here in their own backyard, and those that have the length off the tee. Americans normally win this event too so Westwood, Oosthuizen, Stenson, McIlroy got docked marks when I went through my notes. I really fancied Stenson to go well this week as he went so close for the blog last week (if he had not found water on 16 at Bay Hill in the final round he may well have got us a place bu it showed he was going for it, and I always like that. But 50/1 is a bit short of what I was expecting for the former Players Champion so regrettably I am leaving him out. He needs a good result to make the Masters.

My first pick this week is a player that can certainly find length off the tee but can also putt and is a winner already on tour this year. Step forward Dustin Johnson. Winner in Hawaii back in January before a slip in form, DJ is a Major contender and will be out to tone his game for The Masters and wont be afraid to win here. He plays alongside Rory McIlroy and Bradley Keegan in an afternoon tee time Thursday. Its a grouping I think will help him. I'm taking the 25/1 with Paddypower as they are paying 6 places this week.

My second pick here is local boy Ryan Palmer @ 80/1 with Paddypower also. Two top 10s this year from 7 starts mixed with 2 MCs is his form reading coming into this. Its not often I back the Texan, but with no invite to the Masters he may not be under any pressure to perform, so hopefully he'll come in here nice and relaxed and have a good week. He arrives currently ranked 5th in driving distance and 22nd in GIR. 80/1 is just about value for me.

I'm taking a chance with my final pick. I wanted to have an interest in the youngster Jordan Spieth but the 50/1 didn't entice me. I say this with the possibility of having egg on my face come Sunday.The 19 year old is destined to be a big star. Two US Amateur titles,and a 21st placing at last years US Open complement what is already a good 2013 having finished runner up in Puerto Rico and 7th at Tampa Bay 2 weeks ago. Should he contend here this week I dont think we'll see 50/1 about him again for awhile. I mention him as he too is a native Texan, and should you, the reader, prefer to go with him rather than my actual final selection then its worth considering. My own pick is a chance punt on Ben Kohles. Tied 7th with Spieth at Tampa preceeded a T 14th last week at Bay Hill. The Dallas native may lack the length like most of the guys but he is deadly accurate off the tee. He is currently ranked 25th in putts gained. 100/1 shot he may be, but he's my 100/1 shot this week.


TIP 1: 1 pt e/w Dustin Johnson @ 25/1 Paddypower

Tip 2: 1 pt e/w Ryan Palmer @ 80/1 Paddypower

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w Ben Kohles @ 100/1 Paddypower