2022 Houston Open Final Round Odds & Picks: Tony Finau Set to Capture 5th Win
Pictured: Tony Finau. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
It was a long day of golf on Saturday at the Houston Open as about half of the field had to finish the second round before rolling into Round 3. Tony Finau held the lead throughout the day and has a four-shot lead going into the final round.
Finau didn't have the dominant 62 that he shot on Friday, but he stayed steady and posted a solid 2-under round to climb to 15-under on the week. He is four shots ahead of Ben Taylor, who had the round of the day with a 5-under 65. There were just 15 rounds posted under par on Saturday as the course and conditions played the toughest they have all week. The field averaged 1.28 shots over par during the round.
The lead for the World No. 15 is four shots over Taylor, but more importantly, he is seven shots clear of the group of players at 8-under. He essentially has one player to track on Sunday and he'll be playing right alongside him. I expect to see Finau close this one out, so we'll mainly be looking for some others who can move into position for top finishes.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has 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, SG: Ball Striking and SG: 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 are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
Everything has been working for Finau this week. He ranks third in the field in SG: Tee to Green, seventh Off the Tee, fifth on approach and second in putting. This has all led to a dominant week for Finau. I expect he will keep the train rolling on Sunday en route to his fifth career victory.
Gary Woodland has been improving with each and every round he plays this week. He started a bit slow, losing strokes to the field with his ball striking in his opening round, but has gotten better with his game in each round since. He gained better than two strokes on the field with his irons on Friday, then stepped it up even further with 3.04 shots gained in the third round. Woodland will be one of my favorite plays for Sunday Showdown contests and in any placement markets as I see him as a great play for a top-5 finish this week.
I'll double down on Adam Hadwin in this spot. He simply can't continue to putt this poorly, can he? It could just be a course where he doesn't get comfortable on the greens, but even with 2.81 shots lost putting in Round 3, he held to an even-par round and was the best player in the field tee to green. The ball striking is usually where Hadwin falls a bit short, but this week it's definitely the flatstick that is failing him. I'm going to keep chasing it with the Canadian.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
Ben Taylor is certainly an unexpected name near the top of the leaderboard and while I certainly want to root for a story like his, I just can't put any money behind it. He has played 44 PGA Tour events, dating back to his amateur days in 2014. Taylor has posted three top-25 finishes, but nothing inside the top 10 and now he will be teeing it up alongside Finau and Justin Rose in the final group on Sunday. It's a tall ask to expect the 30-year-old to be able to hold himself together and compete with these two superstars. That is the main reason for my fade going into the final round.
Wash, rinse, repeat. The numbers just always seem to point to Mackenzie Hughes in the fade category. He is losing strokes to the field in both aspects of his ball striking this week and making up for it with the best putter in the field. It'll probably continue into Sunday, because that's how he does things, but that won't scare me off of going full fade on this Canadian.
I was in on Alex Smalley to start this week and I still believe in his talent, but the numbers on Saturday point to a fade. He lost more than two shots to the field with his ball striking during the third round and needed more than 3.5 shots gained on and around the greens to stick within the top 15. He may bounce back to the sharper ball striking he had to start the week, but I just can't rely on that after the lackluster performance he showed in Round 3.