2021 Houston Open Final Round Betting Preview: Scottie Scheffler in Position for First Win
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Scheffler.
We haven’t seen a week like this in quite some time, as through three rounds, the leader is still single digits under par. Memorial Park Golf Course has proven to be a great test for the golfers this week, as the field played the course more than a shot over par on Saturday. It was fairly predictable that the 36-hole leaders struggled due to their lack of recent experience in this position, but it was surprising to see so many others have the same issues.
Once the dust settled on Saturday, it was Scottie Scheffler alone at the top after his 1-under 69. He takes a one-shot lead into the final round as he seeks his first win on TOUR, but it won’t come easy with five players, including Matthew Wolff, in the group just behind him. One shot further back are TOUR stalwarts like Jason Kokrak and Russell Henley, who will all be pushing the young Longhorn in his final round.
There are 17 players within four shots of the lead going into the final round, and with the difficult course, they are all arguably in the hunt. Let’s get right into the data and find our winner for Sunday.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
If you’re asking me to pick the winner on Sunday, for me it is Scottie Scheffler. However, I can’t advise a bet on him here as at +250. There are just too many players with better odds that could get in the mix. Still, he’s been really good throughout the bag since his slow start in the first round and ranks second in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green on the week.
The putter has been the interesting part of the game for Scheffler. He’s had two rounds losing more than a stroke to field on the greens, but in his second round he gained a crazy 3.6 strokes. Obviously, if he can find the putter that helped him turn this thing around on Friday, he will likely lift the trophy on Sunday evening, and at the least he will need to be more steady. Scheffler will have many big putts playing from the final group, and it’s likely the flat stick that will tell the tale.
The first player that stands out to me with some betting value going into the final round is Luke List. He has shown some flashes of good golf lately, and he seems to be putting it all together this week.
List is the leader on the week in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and it’s not particularly close. He leads Scheffler by .81 strokes in that category, and as is typical, it’s just the putter that is holding him two shots back on the leaderboard. List has been sharp throughout his bag, even with a down Saturday on approach, and he is the type of ball-striker I would expect to bounce back. If he can find something on the greens on Sunday, I really like the value we get at +2000 on FanDuel for him to post a number from a few groups ahead of the leader.
I’m going back to Marc Leishman one last time here as we get +2000 on the Australian as well on FanDuel. He has had a really interesting week as he was clearly the best player on Thursday, struggled on Friday, and then struggled to find his way home on Saturday in a 1-over round.
Despite those struggles, he finds himself just three shots back of the lead in a tie for 10th. Leishman has shown in the past that he thrives in this spot, as the final round was his best scoring round last season, and he improved his position in all three tournaments where he was in the top 10 going into that final round.
Leishman was nothing short of abysmal around the greens on Saturday, but his 1.72 strokes gained on approach are a sign that the game is still there for him. I don’t expect his struggles to carry into the final round, and if he can piece it all together, he may find himself in the mix for the win down the final few holes.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
It’s rare that you see a player in contention despite losing strokes on approach in every single round. Matthew Wolff has accomplished that this week as he is just one shot back of the leader, despite three negative rounds with his irons. The numbers and the way we should logically look at this tells me that Wolff is a fade on Sunday, but I would caution that a player of his caliber may actually be more likely to flip it around than continue to struggle. He’s a fade on the numbers, although I am not going out of my way to target him.
I made a fade on two of the players in the final group on Saturday, and they will play together again from the penultimate threesome in the final round. I am going right back to the well here as the moment was clearly a lot for both Martin Trainer and Kevin Tway in the third round, and I don’t expect that to change on Sunday.
The two players each lost more than two shots to the field on approach, and more than a stroke around the greens. Tway lost 2.9 strokes total tee to green in his 3-over round, while Trainer dropped four shots and was the fourth-worst player in the entire field, tee to green. I would love the story for either player to be in the mix for the win on the back nine on Sunday, especially Trainer, but the reality is that they are more likely to be fighting for a top-20 type of finish.