Shell Houston Open Preview – Fantasy Picks and Sleepers
The Shell Houston Open takes place in Texas this week, an event that is the final PGA tour event before the Masters. As such, this tournament is the final chance for many to grab a spot at the first major of the season, as the winner will head to Augusta next week – this being the final spot in the Masters field. It is something of a strange week for golf, as this tournament is already being overshadowed by the Masters on social media, but this week already has some fascinating aspects. The main story surrounds Texas born Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth, who went head to head at the Texas Open last week, Jimmy Walker coming out on top. Both play again and are this week joined by other Texan Patrick Reed – will be very interesting to see how this sub plot plays out.
Here are my selections for the week
Jimmy Walker – Jimmy Walker just cannot be ignored this week. Last week in the Texas Open he looked in full control of every aspect of his game and never wavered, even on Sunday, when so many players struggle to cross that line. He is now a top ten player in the world and is the only player with multiple wins on the PGA tour season – both of these wins coming in dominant fashion. If he dominated again this week, it would be no shock.
Henrik Stenson – Stenson has done everything but win this year. He followed up a solid T4th at the WGC Cadillac Championship with another 4th place at the Valspar Championship and went into the Arnold Palmer invitational as rightful favorite. Having led for much of the tournament, he fell one shot shy with a bad run late on Sunday afternoon. However, it’s only a matter of time before the world number two wins again and this could certainly be the week.
Matt Kuchar – Kuchar has to be considered in pretty much every event he plays in, being of the most consistent players on tour. He started the year in fine form with a 3rd and a 2nd, but a five week break saw his form drop a little. With finishes of 23rd, 33rd and 15th his game is clearly there and he’ll be very encouraged by his 69 at the difficult Texas Open on Sunday. He finished 2nd here last year.
Ryan Moore – Ryan Moore is perhaps one of the most under-rated players on the tour, his world ranking of 27 outstripping many players who might be more well-known. Unfortunately Moore has got himself into the habit of being bang in contention and letting it slip in recent events – although finishes of 9th and 5th in his last two outings certainly show great form. Moore is another player who will certainly win soon.
Lee Westwood – This former world number one has shown great consistency in recent weeks without quite hitting the heights. He has made the weekend of every event since the Open Championship of last summer and in his three events on the PGA tour this year has a worst finish of 25th. He also has form at this event – solid top twenty showings in each of the last two years.
Matt Jones – The defending champion comes in this week in great form and would love to defend and return to Augusta for a second consecutive year. Jones has made the cut at every tournament so far this year and his last four events have seen finishes of 7th, 14th, 3rd and 26th – certainly a player you have to consider this week. Returning to the tournament he won last year will be a big mental boost for him, so it could make for an interesting week for the Australian.
Shawn Stefani (sleeper) – Stefani finished 5th at this tournament last year and comes in on a good run of form, with top 30 finishes in each of his last 3 events. This 33 year old golfer hasn’t exactly set the world alight in his career and is yet to win on the PGA tour, but he is making steady progression in the world rankings, his current ranking of 90 being a career high.
Cameron Tringale (sleeper) – For a small salary player you could do a lot worse than Tringale. With only one missed cut this year (back at the beginning of February) he is a very solid player, but what makes this pick is his form at this event. Last year he finished 4th and was in the top twenty in 2013.
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