Horses for Courses: Houston Open
October 08, 2019
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Houston Open Preview
The Golf Club of Houston hosts for a 14th and final time this year as this event is moving from Humble to Memorial Park Golf Course downtown next season.
Dating back to 2006, this event was the last tune-up before the Masters and the winner, if not already eligible, would claim the final spot in the year's first major. Last season the new schedule didn't have room so the event landed in fall for the new season.
For the second consecutive week the field of 144 will have massive green complexes and pesky water hazards to navigate as 500 FedExCup points and $1.35 million await the winner.
Even though the winning scores average around 17 under par, there is plenty of trouble lurking off the tee boxes and into the undulating Miniverde Bermudagrass greens. The par-72 tips at 7,441 yards and rounds above par need not apply. J.B. Holmes is the only winner here with a round over par since 2005. Keys to success will involve keeping it dry and keeping the three-putts off the card.
2018: Ian Poulter (-19, 269)
Taught young Beau Hossler a lesson as he rolled in a big putt on the last hole to force a playoff that he would go on to win. ... Played a stretch of 49 consecutive bogey-free holes. ... Led the field in Par-4 scoring as have three of the last four winners. ... The last five winners have been in the top 10 GIR (T4). ... Only winner of the last five to be outside top 11 in Strokes Gained: Putting and to have needed less than four previous tries as he won in his third attempt.
Notables: Hossler led after 36 and played in the final group with Poulter. ... Henrik Stenson joined Hossler as two of three players to post all four rounds in the 60s. ... Johnson Wagner is the only one of six who has shot 63 (course record) in the field this week. ... Poulter joined J.B. Holmes as the only winners since 2006 to have a round above par (73) for the week.
2017: Russell Henley (-20, 268)
Trailed by four after 54 holes before circling 10 birdies and posting 65 to win by three. ... Tied Phil Mickelson's tournament record as he holed 541 feet of putts. ... Posted 27 birdies for the week as he led the field in both Strokes Gained: Putting and Birdie-or-Better conversion percentage. ... T8 was 10 behind his total so it wasn't as easy as he made it look! ... Only winner of the last five younger than 32 (27).
Notables: Luke List (T3) joined Henley in the penultimate group. ... Zac Blair (T8) rolled in 505 feet of putts and had a 75 in Round 3. ... Michael Thompson (T12) didn't have a bogey in his final 37 holes.
2016: Jim Herman (-15, 273)
Playing out of the final group Sunday, held off Dustin Johnson (3rd) and Stenson (2nd), who began the final round one back. ... Only winner in five years to crack the top 29 in proximity #LawnDarts. ... Only winner in the last four who did NOT lead the field in Par-4 scoring. He was T2. ... Joined Matt Jones (2014) as first-time TOUR winners at this event in the last five years.
Notables: Henley (T5) also began the final round one back. ... Daniel Berger (T5) led the field with 23 birdies but also had a 74.
Key stat leaders
Top golfers in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.
* - previous top 10 finish here
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
22 *Henrik Stenson
27 Jhonattan Vegas
32 Russell Knox
36 *Keegan Bradley (T5, 2015)
40 *Bud Cauley (T8, 2012)
50 *Matt Jones (Win, 2014)
Strokes Gained: Putting
1 Denny McCarthy
3 Dominic Bozzelli
6 *Aaron Baddeley (T4, 2011)
7 Patton Kizzire
10 *Beau Hossler
14 *Pat Perez (T8, 2008)
15 Harris English
18 *Johnson Wagner
22 Patrick Rodgers
23 *Sam Ryder (5th, 2018)
32 Peter Uihlein
(last four winners first or T2)
7 *Cameron Tringale
8 Brice Garnett
8 *Sam Ryder
8 Josh Teater
8 Dominic Bozzelli
23 Sepp Straka
23 Harris English
23 Talor Gooch
23 *Aaron Baddeley
Russell Henley: Six cashes from six events with the last five all T8 or better. Closed his last two visits with 65.
Henrik Stenson: Three podium finishes from seven events but is seeking the elusive first win. T6 in 2018.
Daniel Berger: T25 on his first trip but backed that up with T5, solo fifth and T18 the last three years. 43 under over that stretch.
Johnson Wagner: 2008 champ was T2 in 2015 and shares the course record of 63. He's rattled off four straight here and nine of 12 total.
Cameron Tringale: Had a stretch from 2012-2015 where he cashed T8, T16, fourth and T5 before cooling off the last three editions.
Keegan Bradley: Eight starts have cashed four T15 or better, including three top-10 checks.
Kyle Stanley: In six starts he's cashed five times but his last two, T19 and T8 in 2016 and 2017 are his best two.
Bud Cauley: T18 or better in three of four stretching back to 2012.