Texas Children’s Houston Open Predictions: Will Zalatoris & 4 More

Texas Children’s Houston Open Predictions: Will Zalatoris & 4 More article feature image

Via Getty Images/Action Network Design. Pictured: Joel Dahmen (left) and Will Zalatoris (right).

No one saw a win coming from Peter Malnati last week at the Valspar Championship. Golf is so different than any other sport in that anyone in the field can win if they string together four solid rounds.

I felt confident heading into the weekend, as Justin Thomas and Lucas Glover were two of the top-three betting favorites. They were paired together on Saturday and put on an absolute putting clinic by losing nearly 10 strokes putting between the two of them as they combined to shoot eight-over par. We got skunked last week, which means the starting bankroll of $1,000 is down to $616. We have some ground to make up.

We say goodbye to the Florida swing and hello to Texas. From what I hear, everything is bigger there. This week’s course (Memorial Park Golf Course) is certainly a big one. It is a par-70 that measures 7,435 yards. It is a unique par-70 layout that features five par-3s and three par-5s.

This will be the fourth consecutive season it has been featured on the PGA Tour and the first time in the spring. The first three editions were all played in the fall, so the biggest difference between the seasons will be the grass on the greens. Rather than pure Bermudagrass, the greens will feature Poa trivialis overseed this week.

If we assume the course will play similarly as it did in the first three editions, the field is going to have its hands full. This has ranked as 11th, ninth and eighth in difficult on Tour. The winning score has been between -10 and -16 as the three winners were Tony Finau, Jason Kokrak and Carlos Ortiz. All three are fairly long off the tee and solid with long irons.

The fairways here are average in size and are lined with trees. In 2022, we saw an average Driving Accuracy of 57% and an average Greens in Regulation of 63%.

One unique feature about this course is that it only features 21 bunkers. This is a municipal course that hosts nearly 60,000 rounds of golf per year. The shortage of bunkers makes the course easier for amateurs and more difficult for professionals. The greens feature closely mown runoff areas, which creates a lot of tight-lie chip shots when golfers miss the green. A tidy short game will go a long way this week.

Ultimately, I'm looking for golfers who are solid from tee to green and have a strong track record playing in Texas.

  • Starting bankroll: $1,000
  • Last week: -$100
  • Current bankroll: $616

Texas Children's Houston Open Predictions

Houston Open Outright Predictions

Will Zalatoris to Win +2000 (DraftKings)

Bet $20 to pay $420

Scottie Scheffler has won each of his last two events. While it's scary fading the best golfer in the world when he's playing elite golf, I can't bring myself to bet a golfer at +250 to win outright. Instead, I'll pivot to another golfer who lives in Texas.

When it comes to tee to green play, there are few that have been better than Zalatoris over the last few years. He's a strong driver of the ball, he's elite with his approach game, and he's underrated around the green. His short missed putts get a lot of attention on social media, but he's actually a decent putter from more than 10 feet out.

He loves difficult golf courses, and this is one of the toughest non-majors of the year. He's coming off a missed cut at THE PLAYERS, but prior to that, he finished fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and second at The Genesis Invitational.

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Joel Dahmen to Win +9000 (FanDuel)

Bet $20 to pay $1820

2024 is the year of the longshot winner, and very few are striking the ball as well as Dahmen is right now. He gained 9.2 strokes ball-striking at THE PLAYERS and then gained 10.0 strokes ball-striking last week at the Valspar Championship. He lost 7.5 strokes putting in those two events, but we have seen bad putters perform well at this course over the years.

I'm encouraged by the way Dahmen is hitting the ball and by the fact that he has tied for ninth and fifth at this event in his last two appearances. It will take some luck with the flatstick for him to actually win this week, but bad putters have a better chance of winning on tougher golf courses like this one that are more demanding from tee to green.

Houston Open Placement Predictions

Nate Lashley Top 10 +1200 (DraftKings)

Bet $20 to pay $260

I typically go the safer route with my placement bets, but my model is a huge fan of Nate Lashley this week. He has been far from consistent this year, but he has flashed some upside. He's played in seven events this year and has missed five cuts, but in the two events where he made the cut, he tied for third and 13th.

While there are some big names up top, this is actually a fairly weak field. Lashley's statistics compared to the field are actually pretty solid all-around, especially when it comes to his ability to make birdies. His ceiling makes him an interesting top-10 bet at +1200.

Aaron Rai Top 20 +200 (bet365)

Bet $20 to pay $60

Even though course history hasn't been very productive at this particular course, it's certainly not a negative that Aaron Rai has tied for seventh and 19th in his last two appearances here. He's coming off of a missed cut at the Valspar Championship but had finished in the top 35 in his previous three starts (with some excellent ball-striking numbers).

As you can tell by my betting card thus far, I would rather target a strong ball-striker than a golfer who relies heavily on his putter for his success. Let's hope Rai can continue his success at Memorial Park Golf Course.

Doug Ghim Top 20 +225 (bet365)

Bet $20 to pay $65

Ghim was a bit of a letdown on the weekend at the Valspar Championship, but he made the cut and has been playing some excellent golf this season. Before last week, he had rattled off five straight top-20 finishes. During that stretch, he gained over 20 strokes ball-striking, so he should be a great fit for Memorial Park Golf Course.

He's never played this event, but as noted in the course preview, golfers don't need to have seen the course to play it well. His tee to green play alone might lead him to a top-20 finish in this field.

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