Augusta is almost here, but first we must play a few events in Texas starting with the Houston Open held at Memorial Park. This course stretches out to over 7,400 yards as a par 70 and features large fairways and minimal rough and bunkers. Distance off the tee will be a large advantage this week as it will allow players to use shorter clubs into these difficult greens without much penalty for a slightly errant tee ball.  From there, players will be forced to hit very precise iron shots onto the correct quadrant of the green or be faced with very difficult two putts. Missed greens will mean tough up-and-down recoveries, too.

The most important skills needed this week are pretty simple:

  • Driving distance (accuracy not needed as much)
  • Above average approach play from 150+ yards

Let’s take a look at three top-20 wagers:

Will Zalatoris Top 20 +105

Zalatoris seems to finally be both fully healthy and fully adjusted to his new putting technique. This is a great buy-low spot for him before he contends at Augusta. He is very comfortable playing in his home state of Texas, he’s also an elite ball-striker which is what is needed to succeed this week. Prior to his missed cut at The Players, he finished 13th or better in three straight events, all of which had much stronger fields than this. Look for Willy Z to be in contention on Sunday.

Sahith Theegala Top 20 +125

Theegala ranks second overall in my data model this week behind, you guessed it, Scottie Scheffler. Theegala’s only weakness is a driver that can be erratic at times. He excels on courses that allow him some room off the tee which is what we have this week. He is an above average iron player and is one of the best putters on Tour. He has five top-20 finishes in eight starts in 2024, including four top 10s.

Jake Knapp Top 20 +225

We are getting a discounted price on Knapp here based on his last two performances where he finished 45th at The Players and 57th at Bay Hill. The 57th at Bay Hill was mostly caused because of recording a double digit score on a par 5 on Saturday due to a few overaggressive tee shots. The 45th at The Players came on a course that does not suit his game very well. This week we have a course that arguably is one the best on Tour for him and very similar to the setup at the Mexico Open, which he won earlier this year. He bombs it off the tee and is above average with his mid to long irons. +225 seems like a high top-20 price for a player who has three top-four finishes in his last six starts.