Brooks Kopeka is one of four recommended bets for this week's Shell Houston Open.
We return to the Houston GC for the starter to next weeks mains offering of the Masters. This event has become quite popular down the years with many of the first majors main principles as the course is set up as close to Augusta as they possibly can. They get the greens at a lightening pace and the mowed deep coloured green grass is always a fine effort in its quest to resemble the venue for the Masters. All this means plenty of the worlds best tee it up as they see these conditions and a tournament test as the best way to prepare for next week. JB Holmes is defending champion after he defeated Jordan Spieth in a playoff before Spieth romped away with his first major the following week.
Spieth turns up again and is somewhat backable at 6/1. Whatever happens this week I don't think he will win this years Masters. He is absolutely ruthless and it can not be ruled out but considering how his year has gone thus far and how hot some of the other golfing playboys are then he rates as a poor 7/1 poke. This week's 6/1 is more tempting on a course that suits his game although there are plenty in this field who will contend and he won't find this easy to win. Although I can't put my finger on exactly why, there is a correlation of results between the Phoenix Open and this tournament. Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson and JB Holmes have won both these events. Scott Verplank has a 2nd in both tournaments. Mahan and Bubba have both shown form on the two courses. It leads me to consider a number of golfers who have or possibly could perform at Phoenix. This will be in my mind when looking for this weeks winner.
Taking into account that link between the two tournaments and importantly how he swung the club last week, Brooks Koepka
rates as our best bet this week. The roll call of winners and placers here down the years have featured plenty of bombers and Koepka is as powerful as they come. He reached the last eight in the Matchplay before being banished by the eventual winner Jason Day. In the 2nd round he also knocked out an in form Matt Kuchar. I believe he may well become a specialist around Phoenix so I'm more than prepared to back him this week on his Houston debut. Brooks is out of the top drawer and he will go into Augusta with a live chance. This place should suit his swash buckling golf. Odds of 33/1 are more than fair.
Brooks Kopeka - 1.5pt e/w @ 33/1Lost -3pt
Given JB Holmes
fits the bill having won both the Phoenix and this tournament, I have to back him to play well here once again. With another 2nd and 8th placed finish at this track Holmes is probably the course specialist. As well as his win at the Phoenix he has a number of other good appearances there also. Doral and the Matchplay weren't exactly good fits for JB, but previous to that he finished 6th, 6th, 11th, 11th all at top venues. He is a form horse heading into this week and 28/1 is worth a few quid to bolster the pocket for next weeks major.
JB Holmes - 1pt e/w @ 28/1Lost -2pt
I just can't get away from Phil Mickelson's
chances this week and he must be supported heading into his favourite time of year. Phil has three top five finishes this calendar year and this is probably his best chance of winning a tournament all year. It is setup very similar to his beloved Augusta and given he is the same price this week as he is for next I rate him a better investment in this tournament. He has a win, a top five, and three other top 20 finishes on this track and comes here in better form than usual. Phil is usually fine tuning aspects of his game around this time of year in preparation for Augusta but most is working fine in 2016. He looked in good form last week before being dumped out by a red hot Patrick Reed on Friday. At 20/1 Phil represents value in this bracket.
Phil Mickelson - 1pt @ 20/1Lost -1pt
Despite some poor performances here down the years Aaron Baddeley
is another who is worth a small bet given his he has a 4th place here back in 2011, as well as a win at the Phoenix. The two courses are not very similar, but both are always in pristine condition and greens are always pure. There is one place left in the Masters for those not qualified so whoever wins this tournament will be booking accommodation in Georgia next week. Baddeley may just give this one a run and I'm prepared to back given his top ten performance last week in Puerto Rico.
I'll be back next week with a few previews for the Masters. I'll also be highlighting my best bets outside the outright win market.
Aaron Baddeley - 0.75pt e/w @ 150/1Lost -1.5pt