The First Look: Houston Open
October 04, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Jhonattan Vegas attends Houston Astros Golf Night
After an adjustment to the PGA TOUR schedule, the Houston Open returns after an 18-month break with a new spot during the season.
The longtime lead-in to the Masters is now part of the fall stretch of tournaments in 2019-20, and will return to the Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament course for this year for the final time before shifting to a new course in 2020.
A former FedExCup winner, past Houston champions and multiple major winners headline the field in Humble, Texas.
FIELD NOTES: Sanderson Farms Championship winner and current FedExCup leader Sebastián Muñoz will play his fourth tournament in a row to start 2019-20. Muñoz has Lone Star state connections, as he went to the University of North Texas. … 2013 FedExCup champion Henrik Stenson returns to the Houston Open after finishing T6 in the last edition. He was also runner-up in 2016. … Cole Hammer, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world and current Texas Longhorn, has received a sponsor exemption and will make his first non-major PGA TOUR start (he played the 2015 U.S. Open as a 15-year-old). … Safeway Open winner Cameron Champ will be making his third start of the season next week. … Past Houston Open winners Jim Herman, Russell Henley, D.A. Points, Johnson Wagner, Hunter Mahan and Matt Jones are teeing it up. … Jimmy Walker, who is one of six golfers who hold the course record at the Golf Club of Houston (63) is one of trio of major champions in the field (the others being Stenson and Jason Dufner). … After making his first PGA TOUR start in more than two years at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Graham DeLaet is set to play again in Houston.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points
COURSE: Golf Club of Houston (Tournament), 7,441 yards, par 72. The course plays host to the PGA TOUR for the 13th time.
STORYLINES: The 2019 edition of the Houston Open is the first of a five-year agreement between the PGA TOUR and the Houston Astros Foundation. The tournament will move to Memorial Park Golf Course next October after the course finishes at $13.5-million renovation. ... The Houston Open was long known as the pre-Masters tune up, but this year it moves to the fall for the first time. It remains to be seen if the course will be set-up as it has been in the past (as comparable as possible to Augusta National). … After 2018’s edition, there has now been a playoff 24 out of 73 times at the Houston Open. Only the U.S. Open has had more playoffs on the PGA TOUR. …There are a ton of Texas connections in the field at the Houston Open including university alums and locals with Texas ties. Multi-time TOUR winner Jhonattan Vegas, Beau Hossler and Kramer Hickok went to the University of Texas and Scottie Scheffler (the Korn Ferry Tour’s top golfer for 2019) is a Dallas resident.
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).
18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Ron Streck (3rd round, 1981 at Woodlands CC), Fred Funk (3rd round, 1992 at TPC Woodlands). Golf Club of Houston record: 63, Johnson Wagner (1st round, 2008), Adam Scott (1st round, 2008), Jimmy Walker (1st round, 2011), Phil Mickelson (3rd round, 2011), Scott Piercy (1st round, 2015), Sung Kang (2nd round, 2017).
LAST TIME: The last time the Houston Open was played in April 2018 it delivered a big-time result. Ian Poulter drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Beau Hossler. The Englishman made a slippery par putt on the first playoff hole to top Hossler (who made a triple-bogey 7) and earn a spot in the Masters the following week. Poulter closed with a 5-under 67 and his Houston Open title was his third on the PGA TOUR. Jordan Spieth shot a final-round 66 to finish T3 alongside Emiliano Grillo. Sam Ryder rounded out the top five.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 8:15 a.m.- 7 p.m. ET (Featured Groups)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m.-7 p.m. ET. Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).