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The First Look: Cadence Bank Houston Open

3 Min Read

The First Look

    Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley

    All-time shots from the Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Scottie Scheffler leads the way at the Cadence Bank Houston Open as he looks to find the winner’s circle after a tie for second a year ago.

    There is just one more event left on the fall portion of the 2022-23 PGA TOUR schedule after a visit to the Lone Star State.

    FIELD NOTES: Scheffler is coming off a final-round 62 and T3 finish at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. The Texas resident, No. 2 on the Official World Golf Ranking, has a chance to regain the world No. 1 position with a win in Houston … Fellow Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is set to tee it up … World No. 12 Sam Burns returns to action after a T7 at THE CJ CUP in South Carolina. Burns finished T7 in Houston a year ago … Other major champs teeing it up include Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker … Among the sponsor exemptions are some Texas-connected college superstars in Cole Hammer, Walker Lee and Travis Vick along with DP World Tour member Johannes Veerman, who went to Texas A&M. Hammer and Vick were teammates on Texas' 2022 NCAA Championship-winning squad. Hammer finished No. 5 on the 2022 PGA TOUR University Velocity Global Ranking, and Vick stands No. 6 on the current ranking … Russell Henley, who won in Houston in 2017, makes his return. Henley is fresh off his fourth TOUR title at last week's World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. He won by four strokes over Brian Harman … Tony Finau is back in action after a missed cut at Mayakoba … Mackenzie Hughes, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship in October, will join Henley as early winners this season set to tee it up.

    FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.

    COURSE: Memorial Park Golf Course, par 70, 7,412 yards. A municipal course that can trace its origins to 1912, it underwent a dramatic recent renovation before welcoming the PGA TOUR back after nearly 60 years. Holes were both lengthened and shortened and trees were removed as the course prepared for the TOUR’s return. Players can expect unique green contours with dramatic short-grass runoffs plus strategic bunkering.

    The course played nearly a shot over-par a year ago. Winner Jason Kokrak took advantage of his fabulous iron play en route to victory (he was third in greens in regulation and second in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green), while four of the top-five finishers were inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Putting for the week.

    STORYLINES: After the TOUR’s stop in Houston, there is just one event left on the schedule for this portion of the 2022-23 campaign. This marks yet another prime event to earn FedExCup points … No player has defended his title in Houston since Vijay Singh in 2004-05 … Will there be a World Series trophy on site this week? The Astros Golf Foundation – formed in 2018 after Houston Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane agreed to take control of the Houston Open – is a key part of the tournament, and the Astros themselves are just one win away from winning the World Series (as of Nov. 5) … There hasn’t been a playoff in Houston in six years, but the event has seen extra holes in 23 of its 74 editions, the second-most on TOUR (after the U.S. Open).

    72-HOLE RECORD: 266, Curtis Strange and Lee Trevino (1980 at Woodlands CC), Vijay Singh (2002 at TPC Woodlands). Golf Club of Houston record: 268, Phil Mickelson (2011), Russell Henley (2017).

    Memorial Park Golf Course record: 267, Carlos Ortiz (2020)

    18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Ron Streck (Round 3, 1981 at Woodlands CC), Fred Funk (Round 3, 1992 at TPC Woodlands). Golf Club of Houston record: 63, Johnson Wagner (Round 1, 2008), Adam Scott (Round 1, 2008), Jimmy Walker (Round 1, 2011), Phil Mickelson (Round 3, 2011), Scott Piercy (Round 1, 2015), Sung Kang (Round 2, 2017).

    Memorial Park Golf Course record: 62, Scottie Scheffler (Round 2, 2021)

    LAST TIME: Jason Kokrak was nine back of the lead through 36 holes at last season’s Cadence Bank Houston Open, but his 9-under 131 score over the weekend was the lowest in the field by four shots. That helped Kokrak to capture the title by two shots over Kevin Tway and Scottie Scheffler. It was Kokrak’s third TOUR win in a span of 28 starts. It took Kokrak 232 PGA TOUR starts before he finally broke through for a victory, but he then rattled off three TOUR titles in a span of 13 months, including last season in Houston. Scheffler held the 54-hole lead and still had it through nine holes of the final round. However, he made bogey on Nos. 10 and 11 and another on the par-4 14th. Making birdie on two of his final three holes wasn’t enough for Scheffler, who shot the tournament course record in the second round. Kramer Hickok finished fourth while Joel Dahmen and Martin Trainer finished tied for fifth – Trainer’s first top-10 result on the PGA TOUR since his victory in Puerto Rico two years prior.


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