Golf betting tips: Preview and tips for the 2022 Houston Open
The Houston Open began in 1946 and historically has been played at several Houston venues. This will be the third year that the Houston Open will be played at the recently renovated Memorial Park Golf Course.
From 2007 to 2018, the Houston Open was the pre-Masters warm up, but in 2019 the event was moved to the fall seris of tournaments. Shell Oil Company sponsored the event from 1992 through 2017.
When the end of Shell’s sponsorship was announced, Houston Astros owner, Jim Crane, led a group of new sponsors. They signed a five-year deal with the PGA Tour to ensure that the event stayed in Houston. The tournament is now operated under the Astros Foundation, under the umbrella Astros Golf Foundation.
Memorial Park Golf Course was originally constructed in 1912 as a nine hole course, expanding to 18 holes in 1936. It is currently Houston’s most popular municipal course and hosts some 60,000 rounds per year.
Tom Doak designed the privately funded $15 million renovation of Memorial Park. His brief was to make it an exciting venue for the PGA Tour’s Houston Open, while keeping the course playable for the recreational golfer. The project was funded by the Astros Golf Foundation.
What we’ve done is a complete renovation. We dug up every hole, every green, every tee box. We took out the old irrigation system and old drainage system and put in new irrigation, new drainage.”Giles Kibbe, President of the Astros Golf Foundation
Doak was joined by player consultant Brooks Koepka in redesigning the municipal course. Koepka advised on ideas and subtle nuances to make the course more challenging for the world’s best golfers. The course will play as a 7,412 yard Par 70, with five Par 3’s and three Par 5’s.
Memorial Park Scorecard
Memorial Park is a typical Doak design, generous fairways and alternate paths to get to the greens. There is a good selection of varying hole lengths including some challenging Par 3’s.
Tee boxes and fairways were moved to bring the ravines into play on the front nine. Some greens were moved also so that trees could be an obstacle for players who drive in the rough.
The number of bunkers were reduced from 50 to 19, three of which are on the 18th hole. Fairways were re-contoured and more undulation introduced to the greens. Green orientations, shapes and sizes were all changed making for a better and more varied choice of pin-placements.
The irrigation pond located between holes 11 and 16 was tripled in size. The result is that water is now a factor in the closing holes especially on the Par 5 16th with water all along the right hand side. It also has water across the front of the green and to both sides.
2021 Houston Open | Jason Kokrak
Last year, Jason Kokrak made four birdies on the back-nine of his final round to win by two strokes from Kevin Tway and Scottie Scheffler. His victory in the Houston Open was his third in 27 starts having captured the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek and the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas.
On the green is where Kokrak excelled. He finished the week 3rd in the Strokes Gained Putting category, gaining 8.682 strokes on the field average for the week. His approach play was dialed-in also, finishing 2nd in Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green. Other stats for the week include T36 for Driving Accuracy, 20th for Driving Distance, T4 for GIR and 2nd for Putts per GIR.
2020 Houston Open | Carlos Ortiz
The 2020 champion, Carlos Ortiz, shot a bogey-free -5 (65) in the final round for a -13 (267) total and his maiden PGA Tour victory. The 29 year old needed two putts for the win on his 72nd hole but only required one. He holed a 20-foot birdie putt for a two-stroke victory over Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama. With the win, he became the third player from Mexico to win on the PGA Tour.
“I made some huge putts on the front nine, that kickstarted my round, and after that I played really good, I didn’t miss many shots, and it was awesome finishing with the birdie on 18.”Carlos Ortiz
Greenside is where all the magic happened for Ortiz. He finished 3rd in Strokes Gained Around-The-Green which equated to a gain of 5.684 strokes. He also finished 5th in Strokes Gained Putting which yielded a gain of 6.111 strokes or just under 40% of his overall gain. Other stats include T76 for Driving Accuracy, 27th for Driving Distance, T9 for GIR and T57 for Putts per GIR.
Like most weeks, those players hitting full shots while in tune with distance and accuracy should rise to the top.
Scoring will ultimately be influenced by two key factors. How fast the greens run on the stimpmeter and the Texas winds.
Expect players in the mix to have a high percentage of greens in regulation, top-notch putting and a low scoring average on the Par 5s.
Houston Open Tips & Predictions
Aaron Wise 18/1 (E/W) – sticking with the 26-year-old again this week. Has played the last two editions of the Houston Open played at Memorial Park which have yielded a T11 (2020) and a T26 (2021). Followed a T6 in the CJ Cup with a T15 in last week’s World Wide Technology Championship. His solid play is reflected in his stats, placing inside the Top 20 in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also currently 26th on Tour for Scoring Average and 19th for Strokes Gained Putting. Dangerously close to putting four rounds together thanks to improving work on greens. Best value at top end of market.
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