Shell Houston Open preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
After the shenanigans of the match play last week it’s back to proper golf – 72 holes of stroke play – the only real golf people!
Proper golf allied to a well-established PGA Tour gem. Shell and Golf are long-term bedfellows and while the Houston Open has moved around, it’s firmly established in the modern era as the precursor to the Masters. This extends to the course set up with increasing efforts to mirror elements of Augusta.
The week before a major conundrum will rear its head this week but it did Jordan no harm last year.
The Tournament Course at Golf Club Houston is a 7400+ Par 72 with quick greens and slick aprons – the Augusta effect. The par 5’s all offer birdie chances but the final 2 holes are long par 4’s.
Recent history suggests a tight finish and those that finished near the top of the leader board all hit top form tee to green last year.
Some contenders? Jordan at 7/1 makes no appeal as his long game is so wild. He’s so competitive and his putting, even when below par, keeps him there or thereabouts but his price is based on memory.
Ricky is flying but his current form, hi tops and trousers have combined to see him going off too short for us.
Our stable of JB, Patrick and Harris have all shown glimpses of the form we thought they could produce but we’ll let them out for a spell.
Dustbin played some fine golf at the Matchplay but he’s the US Garcia for me and too short (and yes we do plump for Sergio further down).
Oosthuizen is ranked 11th in the world, is flying, but is a serial non-winner (1 win in 104 starts) and way too short in the circumstances.
Keegan Bradley: His long game is solid hitting 70.24% GIR this season and while his putting verges on abysmal he has had his days. A 36th last time out followed a missed cut – where he led after the first round. With 3 top 10’s in five appearances we are speculating that this mad as a box of crackers former major winner is inspired by Adam Scott’s transition to the new putting rules and can put in 4 consistent rounds on the greens.
Cameron Tringale: similar form figures to Bradley both around here and recently, he comes here having broken par 15 times in the last 4 years. He must love the place. He finally found a bit of form last time out after a wretched run and while he looks less than a killer on the course well take him at the huge price.
Sergio Garcia: A man who has publicly doubted his ability to win a major may just come here with a more focused attitude. Right up there this season in scoring (69.82 for 4th) and greens in regulation (72.53%) he’s doing so much right it has to pay dividends some time. With a 2nd, 7th, and 11th in recent outings Garcia finished 3rd here first time out in 2014 and while his 37th last year looks weak he was close to the leaders heading into the last round finishing with a lame 74. So Sergio…Go Sergio!
Jamie Lovemark: On past Houston Open form you couldn’t have him but he’s posted 4 top tens from 13 starts this year and his solid all round game suggests a big showing. He can murder par 5’s and will get his chance this week. Not stellar in any department it’s the sum of the parts allied to maturity and the confidence of performing recently at near the highest level that interests us.