Houston Open Picks and Predictions: Back On American Soil

Memorial Park is always one of the toughest non-major tests each year - it only took Carlos Ortiz 13-under to win here in 2020. We see driving and scrambling being big indicators of success this week, so don't miss our Houston Open picks to find the value.

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2021 4:20 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Houston Open begins Thursday at Memorial Park Golf Course, a muni getting its second shot as a PGA Tour venue. Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and a few of the other top players in the world will be there along with a decent field of players hunting for early season FedEx Cup points. 

Houston Open picks

Picks made on 11/9/2021 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Memorial Park Golf Course betting stats that matter

Memorial Park is a par-70 playing 7,400 yards with Bermuda grass tee-to-green. Carlos Ortiz went -13 to win last year on this tough track that ranked 5th in difficulty for non-major courses on tour. Length off the tee will be needed to score on a bunch of long par fours, and scrambling ability on Bermuda will also be a big factor. Ortiz ranked second in scrambling for the win. 

  • Driving distance combined with accuracy.
  • Bermuda putting and scrambling.
  • Recent form.
  • Strokes gained approach.

Houston Open matchup predictions

Leish has a big distance advantage in this matchup. Over the last 24 rounds on courses over 7,400 yards, the Aussie ranks 5th in total strokes gained while Henley is 73rd. Leishman is also in much better form recently with two Top 5 finishes in September while Henley hasn’t cracked a Top 20. Russ may be a better Bermuda putter historically, but we’ll take plus money on the guy who should create more scoring chances from the tee. After all, Leish is 26th in the field in birdie opportunities vs. 89th for Henley. 

Tringale’s ball striking and putting magic has worn off a bit recently, plus he has a history of losing strokes off the tee on longer courses. Seamus Power is on fire coming off three great finishes. In 13 starts since the beginning of May, he has racked up nine Top 20s. Power is a better scrambler and a better putter on Bermuda too. We think Seamus gets another big money wire on Wednesday and Tringale slams the trunk. 

Finau is not in great form right now coming off back-to-back 45th place finishes at CJ and Mayakoba. The putter has been a big problem for Tony and he ranks 89th in the field putting on Bermuda over the last 24 rounds. He could still have a decent showing in Houston, but we’ll back the much hotter player. Sungjae Im is a terrific Bermuda putter and has been scrambling his butt off lately; gaining 5.6, 2.5 and 5.6 strokes around the greens in his last three starts. Im could bank a third straight Top 10 this week.

Houston Open top finisher predictions

This is a shorter number than we’ll usually take but it should be a stress-free bankroll builder with how well Aaron Wise is playing. Statistically, no one is performing better than Wise right now in the field. He may not be the longest player in the field, but he’ll make up for that with his stellar approach play and score on those long par fours. Wise ranks second in this field over the last 24 rounds in par 4 scoring, 13th in overall proximity to the hole and Top 50 in scrambling.  

Hitting it a mile and scrambling - that’s what Keith Mitchell does. So, he should perform well on this course where the long ball and getting up and down are rewarded. Mitchell ranks 14th in the field in recent driving distance, 48th in fairways gained and 14th in scrambling. He’s also Top 20 in scoring opportunities created and birdies gained over the last 24 rounds. If he can putt even half as well as he did last month at the CJ Cup, then he’ll finish inside the Top 20 in Houston. 

This is an awfully long number for a guy who had one bad round last week and still finished 5th. That’s back-to-back Top 5s for Wolff, who does his best work on Bermuda, hits the ball very far and has shown recent flashes of improved scrambling skills. We’ve seen Wolff excel at the U.S. Open and several other majors now, so there is no reason to think he can’t play well on this long and difficult course. In this field, he ranks third in recent driving distance, second in scrambling and 10th in birdies gained. That’s the recipe.

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