SHELL HOUSTON OPEN BASIC INFORMATION
Course: Golf Club of Houston, Tournament Course (Hosted since 2006)
Yardage/Par: Par 72, 7,441 Yards
Scoring Expectation: Medium-High, winner has been a pretty consistent -15/16 over the past four years but has reached as high as -20 under good conditions.
Weather: Reasonably good, conditions should be relatively soft as there will be a lot of rainfall on Wednesday, but there’s supposed to be a pretty consistent 10-15 mph wind throughout the event which could prevent scores from getting too high. Sunday could be a problem!
Unlike last week at the PRO where the FantasyDraft lineup construction strategy was to hold on tight and pray, this week presents substantially more options while still forcing us to make some pretty tough choices. It’s certainly more reasonable than the $7,200 Bill Lunde we’re seeing over at DraftKings!
The Shell Houston Open provides a reasonably fair test of golf with a Par 72 of moderate length (7,441 yards) and a reasonably good warm-up for Augusta. It’s also the last chance that anyone not previously qualified will have to get into this year’s Masters tournament – just ask Jim Herman how big of a deal that was last year. It’s mostly for that reason that we have a rather impressive and international field with plenty of interesting options.
For the first three days, the weather looks reasonably good, albeit with some breeze that could make the course play a bit more difficult, particularly with water coming into play on half of the holes. Sunday, however, is looking like an absolute disaster with an 80% chance of thunderstorms all day. Monday’s forecast looks clear, but it does cause some concern that perhaps they might rain-shorten the tournament due to the fact that there are quite a few players in the field who have already qualified for Augusta and will not want to have to arrive late to get their preparation started. Unfortunately, there’s really no good way to strategize for such an outcome – we’ll just have to hope that either the forecast changes, or they plan ahead for a Monday finish.
Overall, you’re looking for a reasonable combination of shot-making and length, with length probably a bit more important than normal on account of rainfall Wednesday softening the fairways and wind coming into play. Players who succeed here don’t tend to fall into any one single category, but they all tend to hit high percentages of greens (as always on higher-scoring tracks) and manage the course effectively in order to stay out of hazard trouble.
FANTASYDRAFT PICKS FOR CONSIDERATION
Adam Scott ($19,300):
If you’re committed to paying up this week, Adam Scott is one of the better values on the board with one of the best overall tee-to-green games in the business. He’s also a past champion at this event (2007) who may not stand out as much due to the fact that he plays such a limited schedule and hasn’t really contended yet this year. The SHO would be a good bet for him to remind us why he’s still one of the best in the world.
J.B. Holmes ($18,900):
Unlike Mr. Scott, I would expect Mr. Holmes to be exceptionally popular. Also a past winner (2015), Holmes sets up very well for this course and has played reasonably solid golf this year, albeit a bit nerve-wracking around the cut line. He’s certainly a reasonable bet to card at least a good-not-great finish, but he’s always got the scoring upside to make a big contention run.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello ($17,500):
Easily one of the more generous FantasyDraft pricings this week, RCB comes into the SHO playing reasonably strong golf as he prepares for Augusta next week. He quite clearly demonstrated his ability at the SHO last year with a superb solo 4th finish, and I would definitely give him reasonably good odds to repeat a similar outcome.
J.J. Spaun ($15,900):
While I really don’t take a whole lot of stock in PRO performances, I definitely think that Spaun has proven himself enough to warrant every-week consideration. He’s got big length, a pretty outstanding iron game, and outside of a bad draw at Pebble and a bad fit at Valspar, he’s demonstrated his ability to hang with the bigs virtually anywhere. I would compare his “A” game to that of J.B. Holmes, so don’t be surprised if he pops up on the weekend and makes a run at it.
Good luck in your contests this week, stay disciplined, and trust your process! Be sure to get into the FireDFS FantasyDraft 50/50 this week!