2020 Houston Open at Memorial Park Betting Picks: Our Favorite Outright Bets For the Tournament
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Scheffler
- The 2020 Houston Open is the last PGA TOUR event before the Masters.
- Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and Tyrrell Hatton highlight this field but bettors are left to wonder if they will be looking ahead to Augusta.
- Instead, our GolfBet analysts think there's value on players like Si Woo Kim, Sungjae Im and Scottie Scheffler:
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, the Houston Open could be bizarre.
Here are our favorite outright bets for this week’s PGA TOUR action:
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.
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.