This week, the Tour heads to Texas for the Houston Open. The course is a good practice test for those who are playing at Augusta next week. The landing areas are wide with minimal rough. The greens can be some of the fastest on Tour and feature runoffs and collection areas similar to Augusta. With this event being stuck between the Dell Match Play and the Masters, I think some of the top studs may struggle this week. I would not be surprised to see a few of the top players miss the cut as they look forward to next week.
I plan to focus less on the studs this week and more on the value plays who have elite upside. Here are three such players:
Jamie Lovemark $7,300
Lovemark was the 54-hole leader at this event in 2016 and faltered to an 18th place finish. He has shown some flashes of game this year being in contention in a few events, such as the Honda Classic. This could be the week Lovemark breaks through.
JB Holmes $7,300
Just a few months ago, we were talking about how long it took JB Holmes to hit a shot into 18 at Torrey Pines. Now he is $7,300 and 75-1 to win on a course where he has been victorious before. In his last six appearances at this event, he has four top 12s, including a win in 2015. His ballstriking has improved as of late. He has gained strokes tee-to-green in five straight events, including over 10 shots in his last two events.
Scott Piercy $7,500
Piercy has had solid finishes at this event. He finished 19th, 10th and 21st in his last three appearances. He plays well in the wind and is a dominant player tee-to-green. He has gained a massive 26 shots tee-to-green over his last six events. He provides a lot of upside at that price point.
As mentioned above, I think there is a good chance some of the top players falter. I would save my studs for later in the year and use one of the three players below:
List finished third in 2017 at this event. Prior to last week’s match play event, he finished in the top 26 in six straight events. He ranks first on tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green over his last six events. His length should be a big advantage this week and might help him find the winner’s circle.
Henley, the 2017 champion, is the prototypical horse for this course. He has finished in the top seven in his last four starts at this event.
Bradley has quietly been rounding into form. He has been striking the ball great but has been faltering a bit with the putter. Over his last six events, he has ranked second in strokes gained: tee-to-green. He now heads to a course where he has had success. He has finished in the top 15 in four of his last six appearances at this event.
Seung Su Han (110-1 to win)
Some of you may remember him from his days as a college star at UNLV 10 years ago. But for the average fan, he is a complete unknown. Han finished fifth last week at Punta Cana, which got him into this week’s field. He has had success all over the globe this year. He finished fourth and 13th in his two European Tour starts prior to Punta Cana.
Shawn Stefani (250-1 to win, 22-1 top 10)
This is a home game for Stefani. He plays and practices at this course. He seemed to find his game last week at Punta Cana finishing 13th. He is the best value on the board for a longshot top 10.