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The Golf Club of Houston Tournament Course hosts the last tournament before the US Masters. Half of the top ten players in the world skip this event to rest and groove their games for the first major championship of the golfing year.
For the ones that will play, it's their last chance to tune their games or get in the Masters' field by the skin of their teeth.
Shell Houston Open Betting Review & Course Summary
With 4 of the world's top 10 players in the field this week - Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson - the Shell Houston open boasts a stronger field than the Puerto Rico Open last week. Of course, this means that for the golfing punter the odds just got a lot healthier and the choices that much more varied. But where is the smart money going when it comes to betting on the Shell Houston Open?
Here's how we rate their chances:
World number 1 (the hottest player in golf at the moment) Dustin Johnson was confirmed to play but pulled out on Monday claiming "fatigue". No doubt he wants to be fresh for Augusta next week and we can't blame him: coming off 3 straight victories and playing 36 holes for five days straight at last weeks World Match play.
The man he beat in the final last week, PGA Tour Rookie Jon Rahm, will play this week - no doubt he's as tired as Johnson but his young legs can take the punishment. Rahm ranks 25th in world, won his first PGA tournament at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and is making his first appearance at the Shell Houston Open.
Also teeing off this week are Jason Dufner, Chris Wood, and no 13 in the world Justin Rose who is enjoying great form this year. Veteran Phil Mickelson is a past champion of this tournament and is making his 10th consecutive appearance. Phil always likes to play the week before a major but might be tinkering with his game too much to get ready for the Masters so won't be on the leaderboards.
Major champions Jimmy Walker, Lucas Glover and Keegan Bradley are also in the field along with some more distinguished major winners -Most of whom are playing ceremonial golf these days rather than posing any serious threat of winning: Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera. Although Goosen did finish tied second last week, his best finish on the PGA Tour since 2009, so you never know.
The tournament course at Houston is a par 72 and will be set up to emulate the conditions at the US Masters next week. This means little rough, firm and fairways and large, undulating greens. The winner at both courses needs to hit greens in regulation and can be wayward off the tee despite scoring well. This makes Jordan Spieth and ideal bet and rules out Rafa Cabrera Bello & Justin Rose who don't putt well enough to do well here or at Augusta.
Outside picks for the week
Story of the week is PGA Tour rookie Grayson Murray asking model Lindsey Pelas on Twitter to caddie for him at the Masters Par-3 Contest should he qualify for the tournament. She said yes but won't have to get measured for a caddie's uniform just yet - Murray's only chance of getting in the Masters is to win the Shell Houston Open. But Murray has made just four cuts in 11 starts this season and has missed the last five in a row. - See the full story here
Grayson Murray asked model Lindsey Pelas - viaTwitter - to caddie for him at the Masters Par-3 Contest. She said YES! But sadly for everyone else it appears the chances of Grayson making the cut are up there with the chances of this writer scoring a date with Ms Pelas!