The First Look: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open
November 07, 2021
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
- Brooks Koepka is set to compete at Memorial Park Golf Course. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
The Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open begins Friday from Memorial Park Golf Course and will boast many of the game’s top players.
FIELD NOTES: Brooks Koepka will head back to Houston – and the course he had a hand in shaping – to find his game after some continued struggles saw him miss the cut in Mexico… Koepka is joined by 13 other major champions in the Houston field… Matthew Wolff, who held the 36-hole lead in Mexico, is teeing it up… Texas native and U.S. Ryder cup team member Scottie Scheffler is in the field after sitting in second place halfway through last week’s World Wide Technology Championship… Adam Scott, who won in Houston in 2007, is returning to action after a T5 at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT… Sponsor exemptions include Arizona State senior Cameron Sisk, Houston-area residents MJ Daffue and Shawn Stefani, and Brooks Koepka’s younger brother, Chase Koepka… Sisk earned his spot by winning the Maridoe Intercollegiate. He is 18th in the PGA TOUR University ranking. Sisk has finished in the top 5 in all three of his starts this season, including a win and runner-up.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Memorial Park Golf Course, par 70, 7,412 yards. This municipal course underwent a dramatic renovation by famed architect Tom Doak, with consultation from Brooks Koepka, before returning to the PGA TOUR after an absence of nearly six decades. To prepare for the TOUR’s return, holes were both shortened and lengthened, and trees were removed. The course boasts strategic bunkering, and unique green contours with dramatic short-grass runoffs – making it a second-shot golf course.
STORYLINES: The Houston stop is the penultimate event on the PGA TOUR schedule in 2021… With just one more event left after Houston, this is prime time for many to earn valuable FedExCup points. Sixteen of the top 30 players on the FedExCup standings (as of Nov. 6), including leader Sam Burns, will tee it up in Houston. Three past FedExCup champions (Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker, and Henrik Stenson) are scheduled to play… Ortiz is looking to become the first golfer to defend his title in Houston since Vijay Singh in 2004-05… While there hasn’t been a playoff in Houston since 2018, the event has still seen playoffs 23 times out of its 74 editions – the second most of any in the TOUR’s history 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 (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).
Memorial Park Golf Course record: 63, Hideki Matsuyama (4th round, 2020), Talor Gooch (4th round, 2020)
LAST TIME: Carlos Ortiz finally broke through to win on the PGA TOUR (after winning three times on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2014) after a final-round 65 in Houston. He became the first Mexican player in 42 years to win on the PGA TOUR. … Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama tied for second, then went on to win the next two Masters. Johnson won 2020’s unique November Masters the following week and Matsuyama won in the tournament’s return to its traditional April date … Ortiz needed two putts to win on the 72nd hole, but drained a 20-footer for birdie to finish in style. Matsuyama and Johnson finished tied for second, two shots back of Ortiz. Talor Gooch finished fourth, while Brooks Koepka and Sepp Straka rounded out the top five. Koepka had a role in redesigning the tournament’s host layout, the Memorial Park Golf Course. The 2020 Houston Open was the first domestic PGA TOUR event that allowed spectators since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2,000 tickets sold per day.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Featured Groups)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).