Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open Odds: Sam Burns, Scottie Scheffler Favored
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open Odds: Sam Burns, Scottie Scheffler Favored
This week, the PGA Tour returns to the mainland, as we head to Houston, Texas for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open.
Last year was the first time since 1946 that we saw the recently renovated, Memorial Park host this event, after years of being hosted by The Golf Club of Houston.
A decent field has assembled for what is the penultimate event on the PGA Tour in 2021.
Brooks Koepka, who had a hand in re-routing this course headlines, as his Ryder Cup buddy, Scottie Scheffler joins him to lead the Texan contingent. Other notables include recent winner, Tony Finau, a resurgent Matthew Wolff, the seemingly ever-present, Sungjae Im, and former Masters champion, Adam Scott who is just one of thirteen major champions in the field. Carlos Ortiz returns to defend his title.
How to watch the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
Thursday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Featured Groups)
Qualifying criteria for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
- Winner - PGA/U.S. Open Championship
- Winner - THE PLAYERS Championship
- Winner - Masters Tournament
- Winner - The Open Championship
- Winners of the Arnold Palmer, Memorial, Genesis (Last 3 Years)
- Tournament Winner in Past Two Seasons
- Career Money Exemption
- Sponsor Exemptions - Korn Ferry Tour Finals Category
- Sponsor Exemptions - Other
- PGA Section Champion\Player of the Year
- Past Champion of Respective Event
- Top 125 on Prior Season's FedExCup Points List
- Major Medical Extension
- Leading Points Winner from Korn Ferry Tour & KFT Finals
- Three-Time Winner from Korn Ferry Tour
- Top 50 Finishers Korn Ferry Tour Finals Category (2021)
Last Year's Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
This was the first event on US soil that allowed fans following the pandemic last year, and they were treated to an exciting week.
It was Mexican, Carlos Ortiz who secured his first PGA Tour victory, holding off two players that went on to win the next two Masters, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.
A final-round 65 was enough to hold off the challenge of two major winners, with a two-putt birdie on the Par 5, 16th the deciding hole in the end. Ortiz had two putts on the last to win, but only needed one as he holed from 20-feet to seal what felt like an emphatic victory for the maiden winner.
Sam Burns was the 54-hole leader here last year, and was one ahead of Jason Day and Ortiz going into Sunday. Neither Burns nor Day were factors in the deciding round, but given Burns’ recent ascension in the game, expect him to come back and play well again.
The Favorites - Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
Sam Burns @ +1800
Sam Burns was the 54-hole leader here last year, and while he slipped into a tie for 7th that week, there’s every reason to suspect he can win for a third time on Tour here.
It’s been a huge transformation for Burns who this time last year was in search of his maiden PGA Tour title at this event. Since then, he’s won twice, finished 2nd a further two times and a 3rd at the Genesis where he had a five-shot lead thru 36 and a two-shot lead thru 54.
A different beast now, Burns deserves to be favorite here, and he could well win in Texas, after finishing 2nd and 7th in this state in the past.
Scottie Scheffler @ +1800
Scottie Scheffler has yet to excel in his home state, but there’s no reason to think this course won’t suit, and with a 4th place finish to build on last week, there’s a lot to like.
Scheffler will expect to break his PGA Tour duck sooner rather than later, and I cannot see him making his way through 2022 without at least having a strong opportunity to win.
We know it’s tough to get the job done out on TOUR, but Scheffler constantly reminds how talented he is whenever he tees it up, with his outstanding rookie Ryder Cup performance a highlight of that.
Sungjae Im @ +2400
Sungjae Im has a top-10 finish in Texas to his name, courtesy of a T10 at Colonial last year, and he’ll look to add to that this week.
Im doubled his PGA Tour tally recently at the Shriners Open, and followed that up with another T9 finish at the CJ Cup, so he’s coming in hot this week. He’ll hope to better his T50 finish from last year.
His final round 67 here 12 months ago was his best of the week and maybe that will give him some confidence heading into this week.
Matthew Wolff @ +2900
Matthew Wolff continues his comeback on the PGA Tour, and is off to a hot start this season.
He was 2nd at the Shriners, where he couldn’t get going on the final day, and a T5 in Mayakoba last week was further evidence that this budding superstar is close to his best again.
This course could well be better suited to him than last week’s, especially if there’s anything in the link between this event and the 3M Open, where has 1st and 12th place finishes.
Cameron Smith @ +2500
Cameron Smith is in great form, finishing inside the top-9 three times in his last five starts and this course looks perfect for him.
Finishing T9 in his first start of the new season, at the CJ Cup, Smith will now come into the Houston Open in good spirits. This is likely to be his to be the last start of 2021, and he will want to carry some momentum into the early part of next year.
Smith has correlative form which you will see below and there’s every chance he adds to his win tally here.
Brooks Koepka @ +3000
I was very clear last week about Koepka’s chances being slim in Mexico, while acknowledging he’s the type to win when you least expect it.
He’s still not in form, after missing the cut again last week, but he’s now returning to a course that he had a hand in redesigning, and if last year’s T5 is anything to go by, he could easily go well here again.
The Course at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston, Texas
Length: 7,412 Yards
Designer: John Bredemus (Re-designed by Tom Doak, assisted by Brooks Koepka)
Course Record: 63 (Hideki Matsuyama, Mackenzie Hughes & Talor Gooch, all in Round 4 last year)
Correlating Courses & Events
Texas form in general has always held up well across different events, and those that had played the Houston Open well before playing this new course, continued to impress.
Carlos Ortiz, Sepp Straka and Talor Gooch all tied for 4th at the last renewal of this event at the Golf Club of Houston, before finishing 1st, 5th and 4th here respectively last year.
Dustin Johnson already had a win in Texas to his name, while Brooks Koepka had lost a playoff there.
Sam Burns has finished 2nd at the Byron Nelson since finishing T7 here last year.
Jason Day was a winner in Texas before finishing T7 here.
Mackenzie Hughes finished T8 at Colonial before finishing T7 here.
Adam Long had a T19 at Colonial but also a 4th place finish at the Greater Dallas Open on the KFT back in 2015.
Aaron Wise’s sole PGA Tour victory came at the Byron Nelson, before finishing T11 here.
Patton Kizzire finished T11 here, and had two T3 finishes in Texas in 2021.
Like Augusta, Riviera Country Club that hosts the Genesis Open, features firm and fast conditions and long iron approaches. The last five winning scores there have also been -12, -11, -14, -12 and -17 which is a similar line of scoring to what we saw here last year, and should see again this week.
Dustin Johnson is a two-time winner at Riviera and twice a runner-up, and finished T2 here.
Hideki Matsuyama loves Riviera, making 5/7 cuts there and posting finishes of T4, T5, T9, T11 and T23.
Before becoming a PGA Tour winner, Carlos Ortiz had T26, T20 and T9 finishes at Riviera, so it was one of his favorite stomping grounds. Given the field that assembles there, those are strong results and provide crossover.
Talor Gooch has T10 and T12 finishes at Riviera and finished 4th here last year. Like Ortiz, given the field strength and at the time his lack of experience at the top of PGA Tour leaderboards, that is pretty telling.
Sam Burns held the 36 and 54-hole lead at Riviera this year and the 54-hole lead here last year. He also finished T23 at Riviera in 2020, despite opening with a 73.
Francesco Molinari finished T8 at Riviera this year, despite always struggling there in the past, and also finished T15 here last year when out of form.
Carlos Ortiz’s last two finishes read T4 and T25 in Phoenix, and he won here 12 months ago.
Hideki Matsuyama LOVES Phoenix. Two of his seven PGA Tour victories have come there, and he also has a T2 a T4 and two more top-16’s there. He finished T2 here last year.
Brooks Koepka is a two-time Phoenix Open winner and finished T5 here last year.
Adam Long was 5th going into the final round in Phoenix in 2020, but a poor final round saw him fall to 8th.
Of those that finished inside the top-20 here last year, nine of them also had top-18 finishes at the 3M Open. Whether there’s any real correlation remains to be seen, as we only have one year of evidence here, but some of the players in particular are quite noteworthy.
Carlos Ortiz finished T5 at the 3M before breaking through here.
Sam Burns finished T7 at the 3M Open and was the 54-hole leader here.
Sepp Straka and Talor Gooch both had T18 finishes at the 3M. It may not sound great, but given their lack of top-20’s on Tour at that time, it’s notable. They both finished in the top-5 here 12 months ago.
Adam Long finished 2nd at the 3M before finishing T11 here last year.
Michael Thompson won the 3M Open in 2020, then struggled on Tour until arriving here, where he finished T15. He’s also finished T7 at the Genesis back in 2017.
Maverick McNealy finished T16 at the 3M this year, but was going 2nd after 54 holes there. This was after finishing T20 here last year, posting back-to-back 67’s over the weekend.
Others players who have had top-20’s here last year and at the 3M:
- Matsuyama (T2 here, T7 3M)
- Hovland (T15 here, T13 3M)
I purposely didn’t write these two up, as talent alone just has them finishing high in both, whereas the others suggest a pattern.
I don’t necessarily like the 3M as a correlation in isolation, but anyone that has shown previous there and at the other correlating events should be considered.
Ok, this one might be a stretch, but there might also be some logic to it. The two players that shared 2nd here last year, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, went on to win the next two renewals of the Masters at Augusta National.
Augusta National features tightly-mowed run-off areas around the green and so does this course, thanks to Brooks Koepka suggesting to Tom Doak that these made more sense than greenside bunkers, which pros make mincemeat of. Doak is also an avid fan of Alister Mackenzie’s work, the man responsible for Augusta National. This fandom stretched as far as Doak writing a book alongside James Scott and Raymond Haddock about Mackenzie’s golf designs.
Koepka who finished T5 here last year has three top-11 finishes at Augusta, while Jason Day who finished T7 here last year, has four top-10’s at Augusta.
It won’t hurt to look at someone who’s enjoyed success at one of the world’s most famous courses, especially as it requires a similar amount of long irons into the greens there.
Key Stats at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
A staple, always, especially on a course we still don’t know that well. With some long par-4’s it is important to be good with your irons from a range of distances.
With a -13 winning score last year, which was two strokes better than those in second, it was important for Carlos Ortiz to limit the mistakes.
So often scores get around the -20 mark or better on the PGA Tour, so when it is closest to single digits, its obvious there’s some challenging holes on the course. This course is there to be scored on, but there’s some tough risk/reward holes that keep the field honest. Expect a similar winning score this year, which means keeping the big numbers off your card.
For the first three rounds of the week last year, 65 was the best round each day, but they made the course more scoreable on the final day to allow the trio of 63’s. The scoring in general was major-esque, with the tough Par 3’s and 4’s, and I think that’s the sort of attitude players will need to take here.
Par 4 Scoring
Like last week, scoring is going to occur on the Par 5’s, that’s just a given, but it’s how you cope with the tougher Par 4’s here, especially the longer ones that require approaches of 200+ yards. With six Par 4’s coming in at over 450 yards, including three that exceed 500 yards, it will pay to look at golfers that excel on these longer Par 4’s relative to their peers. Look to last season for more evidence.
Back on Bermuda this week after the field had to contend with Paspalum in Mexico, the better putters for the week should come to the fore here.
Incoming Form (Last 8 weeks)
Top-10 for adjusted score average in this event and their results.
- Sungjae Im - 31-1-9
- Sam Burns - 1-14-5
- Matthew Wolff - 17-2-5
- Cameron Smith - 5
- Talor Gooch - 4-11-5-11
- Aaron Wise - 26-8-5-15
- Marc Leishman - 4-3-38
- Adam Scott - 35-5
- Lanto Griffin - 66-MC-6-7
- Martin Laird - MC-11-22
Event Form (Last 10 years, 2020 was at this course)
Top-10 for adjusted score average in this event and their results.
- Ian Poulter - MC-1 (this is his debut here)
- Tyrrell Hatton - 7
- Sepp Straka - 4-5
- Jason Day - MC-7
- Adam Long - 11
- Brooks Koepka - MC-5
- Russell Henley - 45-7-4-5-1-8-61-29
- Carlos Ortiz - MC-MC-4-1
- Aaron Wise - 32-11
- Erik Van Rooyen - 20
Players with multiple top-10’s in this event in last 10 years
- Sepp Straka - 4-5
- Russell Henley - 7-4-5-1
- Carlos Ortiz - 4-1
- Talor Gooch - 4-4
- Stewart Cink - 6-9
- Cameron Tringale - 8-4-5
- Henrik Stenson - 2-2-6
Past Champions (10 Years)
- 2020 - Carlos Ortiz
- 2019 - Lanto Griffin
- 2018 - Ian Poulter
- 2017 - Russell Henley
- 2016 - Jim Herman
- 2015 - J.B. Holmes
- 2014 - Matt Jones
- 2013 - D.A. Points
- 2012 - Hunter Mahan
- 2011 - Phil Mickelson
Early Leans - Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
Talor Gooch (+3300) is bound to get his maiden victory at some point soon and has back-to-back 4th place finishes here, and Aaron Wise (+3300) looks set to double their tally in the near future, but I will instead overlook them in the hope those victories come when their prices are bigger in 2022.
Matthew Wolff (+2900)
Matthew Wolff has been back to his brilliant best this season, and I think this is a great course for him to continue that form.
A knack for scoring well at majors, and enough distance in the bag to make long approaches easier, Wolff will make his debut at this course off the back of 17th, 2nd and 5th place finishes in his first three starts of the season.
If there is anything in the 3M link his 1st and 12th place finishes there add confidence and while he hasn’t got form at the other correlating events, I think he will play well on those courses in the future.
Carlos Ortiz (+3500)
I want to hear more about the extent of Ortiz’s shoulder injury that forced him to withdraw from the ZOZO and was apparently impeding his swing last week, before making a bet on Ortiz.
Given he finished solo 2nd last week and racked up five birdies on his last seven holes, I would imagine his shoulder has freed up somewhat and he now returns to an event he won last year, and finished 4th at in 2019.
Add to that the correlating form at Phoenix, Genesis and the 3M, and his knack for repeating form as highlighted by his continuous performances in the Mayakoba, and Ortiz looks a decent bet to defend his title admirably.
His price will be short enough given his status as defending champion, and his runner-up finish this past weekend, but he’s worthy of consideration.
Max Homa (+6000)
This is where the correlating courses could come into their own. If the courses identified have any bearing on results this week, one of the better fits in the field is three-time PGA Tour winner, Max Homa.
Homa has won at Riviera (2021) and finished 5th the year before, and he’s also finished 3rd and 6th at the 3M and Phoenix Open’s respectively in 2020.
His win at the Fortinet to start the season was the second of this calendar year and third since 2019 and he can add to that here in Houston.
He only managed a T48 finish here last year, but he was coming in off the back of some poor form, had just travelled from Bermuda and was playing in his first Masters the following week. None of that is the case this time around, and he can instead focus all his attention on this week, and is coming off a nice mini break.
James Hahn (+17000)
James Hahn followed up his 2015 win at Riviera with a T13 finish there last year, and also has two top-11 finishes at the Phoenix Open, an event he should probably have won earlier this year.
Hahn had a three-shot lead during the final round of the Phoenix Open at the start of this year, after making six birdies in his first ten holes, before finding water twice on the back nine. Given his knack to win when in contention, many thought he would get over the line again but he showed some fragility when leading for once, and instead dropped down the leaderboard. There was a lot of pressure on him that week as he was playing on a major medical exemption, after missing eight months of golf in 2019 due to an elbow injury.
Seemingly fit again and in good form (15th and 27th his last two starts), Hahn looks a good bet on a golf course that is right up his street. That 27th last week was probably as bad a result as he could have got out the week, as he bogeyed the last three holes to finished T27 instead of T11. Still that helps keep his price honest here in Houston.
Two top-5’s at the Byron Nelson suggests an appetite for Texas golf and his other win at Quail Hollow may not be insignificant due to the amount of long irons required to win around there as well. Six from seven in cuts made in this event suggest he can play well in Houston in particular as well, if not piecing four rounds together in that time.
Adam Scott is a Masters winner, a two-time winner at Riviera and loves this part of the country also. He’s a four-time winner in Texas, including in this event in 2007 and there appears no reason, given his 5th place finish last time out and 2nd place finish recently at Wyndham that he can’t win in Texas for a fifth time.
Cameron Tringale has finished 4th, 5th and 8th in this event in the past, and he finished T29 here 12 months ago, seeing the course for the first time.
Add to Tringale’s impressive record in this event, a T3 finish at the possibly correlating 3M Open, where he was the 54-hole leader, and my interest has certainly peaked on a player who’s overdue a maiden victory.
The last time we saw Tringale, he was finishing T2 at the ZOZO Championship, a title Hideki Matsuyama was destined to win.
Outside of that T2 at the ZOZO, he’s also had a T12 and T22 finished at the Sanderson Farms and the Fortinet this season, to suggest he’s in good enough form to play well in this part of the world.
On top of his form in Houston and the 3M Open, Tringale’s T8 finish at Riviera in 2017 where he was 2nd at the halfway point and 4th after 54 holes gives additional confidence.
Keith Mitchell was terrible here last year, with rounds of 78-76 to miss the cut, but I am willing to forgive that based on other indicators.
Mitchell has T3 and T6 finishes in the Byron Nelson and this event respectively and while the latter came at a different course I think it’s an indicator of what he could do here in better form.
When playing here last November, he had not had a top-20 finish since his 5th place finish at Bay Hill, with a T22 coming eight events prior this one, his best finish in that span.
This time around, he’s got a recent top-5 to his name (T3 at the CJ Cup) and has a further two top-8 finishes to his name in his last seven events. 5th at the potentially correlating 3M Open and 8th at The Northern Trust (FedEx Cup Playoffs), it looks like he’ll arrive in some form. The card says he finished T56 last week, but he played better than that for the most part, and it’s not one of his better spots anyway.
Mitchell looks an improving player, and he now returns to Texas where he’s played very well in the past. I think he’s more than worthy of a second look at long odds, especially considering his T16 finish in Phoenix in 2020 and his subsequent improvement all round.
Wyndham Clark seems to be finding his feet again after a tough spell and arrives at a course that should suit. He missed the cut on the number here 12 months ago, improving on his opening round 74 by five shots to give himself a chance on Friday.
Two of his top-9 best finishes according to OWGR have come at Riviera, where he’s finished T8 and T17 and his T5 at the 3M in 2019 is one of only two top-5 finishes on the PGA Tour for Clark.
T25 last time at the ZOZO and T30 to start the season at the Fortinet suggest there’s signs of some form in Clark’s game, and he will hope to put four rounds together here.
The Field at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
* Four Monday Qualifiers still TBD
- Paul Barjon
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout
- Joseph Bramlett
- Bronson Burgoon
- Sam Burns
- Stewart Cink
- Wyndham Clark
- MJ Daffue
- Joel Dahmen
- Cam Davis
- Jason Day
- Jason Dufner
- Tyler Duncan
- Tony Finau
- Dylan Frittelli
- Brice Garnett
- Brian Gay
- Talor Gooch
- Branden Grace
- Lanto Griffin
- Emiliano Grillo
- Bill Haas
- Chesson Hadley
- Brandon Hagy
- James Hahn
- Brian Harman
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Russell Henley
- Jim Herman
- Kramer Hickok
- Harry Higgs
- Lee Hodges
- Charley Hoffman
- Tom Hoge
- Max Homa
- Mackenzie Hughes
- Sungjae Im
- Stephan Jaeger
- Zach Johnson
- Sung Kang
- Russell Knox
- Brooks Koepka
- Chase Koepka
- Jason Kokrak
- Kelly Kraft
- Anirban Lahiri
- Martin Laird
- Andrew Landry
- Nate Lashley
- Hank Lebioda
- Marc Leishman
- David Lipsky
- Luke List
- Adam Long
- Shane Lowry
- Peter Malnati
- Denny McCarthy
- Tyler McCumber
- Graeme McDowell
- Maverick McNealy
- Gilbert Mendez
- Keith Mitchell
- Francesco Molinari
- Taylor Moore
- Trey Mullinax
- Sebastián Muñoz
- Matthew NeSmith
- Joaquin Niemann
- Seung-Yul Noh
- Henrik Norlander
- Carlos Ortiz
- Ryan Palmer
- C.T. Pan
- Taylor Pendrith
- Mito Pereira
- Pat Perez
- Scott Piercy
- J.T. Poston
- Ian Poulter
- Seamus Power
- Andrew Putnam
- Aaron Rai
- Chad Ramey
- Chez Reavie
- Doc Redman
- Patrick Reed
- Davis Riley
- Sam Ryder
- Scottie Scheffler
- Adam Schenk
- Matthias Schwab
- Adam Scott
- Greyson Sigg
- Cameron Sisk
- Roger Sloan
- Cameron Smith
- Brandt Snedeker
- J.J. Spaun
- Scott Stallings
- Kyle Stanley
- Shawn Stefani
- Henrik Stenson
- Sepp Straka
- Robert Streb
- Kevin Streelman
- Chris Stroud
- Brian Stuard
- Adam Svensson
- Hudson Swafford
- Nick Taylor
- Sahith Theegala
- Martin Trainer
- Cameron Tringale
- Kevin Tway
- Peter Uihlein
- Dawie van der Walt
- Erik van Rooyen
- Harold Varner III
- Jhonattan Vegas
- Jimmy Walker
- Nick Watney
- Richy Werenski
- Lee Westwood
- Vincent Whaley
- Danny Willett
- Aaron Wise
- Matthew Wolff
- Gary Woodland
Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!