2020 Houston Open at Memorial Park Betting Picks: Our Favorite Outright Bets, Sleeper Picks, Matchups and Props For the Tournament
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Si Woo Kim
- The 2020 Houston Open is the last PGA TOUR event before the Masters.
- Will the top players in the field at Memorial Park be motivated? Does the looming trip to Augusta create value on some players further down the odds?
- Our GolfBet analysts share their favorite bets for the Houston Open:
The 2020 Houston Open will be a peculiar tournament to handicap for a couple of reasons.
Most notably, the looming trip to Augusta presents bettors with the unenviable task of trying to figure out which players — especially those who fancy their chances at donning the Green Jacket — are just taking the trip to Houston to get their game in order for next weekend.
Adding more fuel to the variance fire is the fact that Memorial Park hasn’t hosted a TOUR event since 1963 and I’m pretty sure they didn’t have shot-link data back then. With no course history to go off of and Augusta just over the horizon, things could get bizarre this week in Space City.
Here are our favorite outright bets, sleeper picks and props at the Houston Open:
Sungjae Im (+3000)
When he plays well, guys like me bloviate over the myriad ways this 22-year-old is destined to become a superstar in this game sooner rather than later. When he doesn’t, Im largely becomes an afterthought amongst the game’s top young players. In recent months, we’ve heard and read more about Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Doc Redman and Joaquin Niemann than Im, despite the fact that he has as much upside as any of ‘em.
While he owns results of 41st-45th in his last two starts, Sungjae was top-30 in the previous four, which suggests he’s still in some semblance of form. He also owns a palatable price this week and as a guy who plays nearly every week, he shouldn’t be the type who is only looking ahead to next week’s Masters.
Sobel and I are on the same page this week, which is probably bad news for poor Sungjae. But as mentioned above, motivation will be key this week and Sungjae appears to be one of the players who doesn’t get too far ahead of himself.
Additionally, Sungjae is a great driver with above average length and accuracy and he’s been gaining ground with his approach for a couple months now. This week we get him on Bermuda greens, which has been his preferred surface to this point in his young career.
Scottie Scheffler (+2200)
It took a while for Scottie Scheffler to find his form again after being forced to withdraw from the U.S. Open when he tested positive for COVID-19. He started to show the good form he closed out last season with at the Zozo Championship where he was dominant off-the-tee. He gained 8 strokes on the field tee-to-green that week, with 6.9 of them being from the tee box, and everything about Memorial Park Golf Course appears to play into the hands of long hitters.
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In fact, Memorial Park really looks like a longer version of Sherwood Country Club which hosted the Zozo, as it also features five Par 5s, where Scheffler ranked 21st in Par 5 Scoring Average last season. He also ranked 7th in Birdie-or-Better Percentage, which bodes well on a course that sets up to see a lot of low scores this week.
Scheffler is ready to break through for that first TOUR win and there’s no place better to do it than in his home state of Texas.
Si Woo Kim (+4500)
We last saw Si Woo at the CJ Cup where he gained 5.3 strokes on approach and 7.7 tee to green en route to a 17th-place finish. He would have finished much higher if it weren’t for a poor putting performance (-3.3).
Both of Kim’s PGA TOUR wins have come on Bermudagrass greens (Sedgefield CC and TPC Sawgrass) and I see some similarities between Memorial Park and Sedgefield Country Club. The primary defense on both courses are difficult greens with tightly mown run-off areas.
Si Woo has been successful at those types of courses because of his stellar around the green game. He ranks first in this field in Strokes Gained: Around the Green which will definitely play a major factor this week. Another strong corollary course for Memorial Park is Harbour Town where Kim finished 2nd in 2018.
If Si Woo can maintain his strong iron play and make some putts this week he has a great shot to win in Houston.
Austin Cook (+15000)
At last month’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, there was a three-way playoff between eventual champion Martin Laird, one of the tourney faves in Matthew Wolff and Cook, who will likely be the forgotten man of this group moving forward. He hasn’t played since then, but I’m willing to take a chance that Cook’s game has remained in solid shape.
If nothing else, he should be a solid play for top-10/20 props and a low-cost DFS option, having missed just one cut in his last nine starts.
Sam Burns (+10000)
My entire card is basically sleepers this week, so it’s tough to pick just one, but I’ll highlight Sam Burns here since he is really long and usually gains strokes with the driver, which should help him on a course with five par 5s. The LSU alum is also a great Bermuda putter. That’s been my target for the week, bombers who putt Bermuda well.
Burns’ results have been up and down and we’ve seen him at about half this price in similar fields, so this looks like a decent spot to buy low on him at a course that should fit his style.
Cam Davis (+7500)
As I noted in my pick of Scottie Scheffler, I am giving the edge to the bombers and the birdie-makers this week and Cameron Davis certainly fits that profile.
Davis has had a really solid run of golf to start the new season, topping out with a sixth-place finish last month at the Shriners. He has shown the ability a number of times to compete with the top players, especially in low scoring events. The Australian finished 14th in Birdie or Better Percentage last season, and 34th in Par 5 Birdie or Better Percentage.
He comes into the week playing some of the best golf of his career, and Memorial Park is course that should fit his game well.
James Hahn (+8000)
Hahn is coming to Houston riding some excellent form. He most recently finished fifth at Shriners while gaining 6.7 strokes on approach and 9.9 tee to green. His two starts previous to that he finished sixth at Corales and ninth at Safeway. To say Hahn is trending towards a win would be an understatement.
Hahn isn’t a great putter but the best putting performance of his career came last year at the Houston Open which was at a different course but I do expect the greens to be similar.
With two PGA TOUR wins under his belt, I don’t question the 39-year-old’s ability to get it done if he gets into contention.
Doc Redman Top-20 Finish (+200)
It would figure that the one time I don’t pick Doc to win, he’ll finally do it, so I’ll at least cover my bases here by listing him for a top-20. He’s cashed these bets in three of his last six starts, although that doesn’t really tell the entire story, as he’s actually finished top-five each of those times.
It can be a chore holding a Redman ticket and watching him continually leave birdie putts on the edges, but his terrific ball-striking should be enough to keep him in the mix on most weeks.
Sungjae Im Top-20 Finish (+140)
Im is my pick to win, so I’ll definitely back him to have a solid week at this price.
Motivation will be a big factor at the top of the board this week but that shouldn’t be a problem for Sungjae, who rarely takes a week off and is known as one of the TOUR’s preeminent grinders.
All signs point to the South Korean being a solid fit on this course and with many players having an eye looking ahead to Augusta National next week, this could be a good spot for the steady Im to take advantage.
Keith Mitchell Top-20 Finish (+700)
I always look to target Keith Mitchell on Bermudagrass courses as he has shown a tendency to play better on that grass type. He is also the long-hitting, scoring type that I am targeting this week in Houston.
Mitchell is coming off a made-cut at Bermuda where he closed out with a solid 5-under 66 on Sunday to carry positive momentum into this week. I am bullish that he can put together four good rounds this week to put himself in contention for a Top 20 at long odds.
Ollie Schniederjans Top-10 Finish (+1000)
Ollie looked great last week in Bermuda finishing alone in third place. The former No. 1 amateur golfer in the world has more talent than he’s shown in the past few years and I’m hoping last week’s performance was something that he can build off of going forward.
In 2017, Ollie had a pretty good run finishing second at Wyndham and third at RBC Heritage; which are the two courses I am using as corollary courses to Memorial Park.
“The Hatless Wonder” can really bomb it and should be able to take care of the five par 5’s the course has to offer. Ollie is a positive putter on Bermuda which in combination with recent form and course fit is enough for me to take a shot on the top-10 finish.