The money list: Our 5 top tips for the Shell Houston Open
A two-time runner-up in East Texas, Stenson looks poised to go one better this weekend...
Henrik Stenson –
A week off and a weakened field means Stenson is poised for a high finish in Houston.
The Swede has played sporadically this season, but aside from a withdrawal in Mexico and a missed cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he is yet to place outside of the top 10.
That includes a second place at the Dubai Desert Classic – a tournament he really should have won – and another at the Hero World Challenge.
He also has a fine record in Houston, finishing third or better in three of his last five appearances.
The greens have been designed to emulate Augusta in preparation for the Masters, and Stenson is equipped to deal with the extra speed.
Only Tyrrell Hatton ranks higher in shots gained from putting on the PGA Tour.
Russell Henley –
Few players in this field combine decent recent form with an impressive course history.
The 27-year-old has finished seventh, fourth and fifth in his last three appearances in Houston and has never missed the cut.
He’s also recorded five top-16s in his last nine starts, and would have gone close at the Valspar earlier this month were it not for his third-round 75.
That the American ranks inside the PGA Tour’s top 20 in shots gained from putting and total shots gained suggests he will thrive on the extra-fast greens, too.
JB Holmes –
Holmes is something of a course specialist here.
The American has an excellent record in Houston, finishing 12th or better in four of his last five starts here.
He won this event in 2015 and was the runner-up in 2009.
Masters form is typically a decent barometer for success at this event, and Holmes finished tied for fourth at Augusta a year ago.
Holmes has not played particularly well this season, although he did finish 12th at the WGC Mexico and has not missed a cut since August.
Currently ranked 15th in total shots gained on the PGA Tour, he has the game to go close and even win again this weekend.
At , there is good value in backing him for a top-five spot.
Charles Howell –
World No. 64 Howell has made a decent start to the year.
He’s earned five top-15 finishes in eight starts, including a second place at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
The 37-year-old was again in good form at the WGC-Match Play last week, winning his group with two victories before being knocked out by eventual finalist Jon Rahm.
Howell hasn’t won a PGA Tour event since 2007, but this course gives him the best chance of getting back on the board for the first time in a decade.
He has finished inside the top 10 in three of the last four years, with his best result a fifth place in 2015.
Howell is a decent bet for a top-10 spot at .
Rafael Cabrera-Bello –
Cabrera-Bello has always had trouble getting over the line, and it is no surprise that he is such a big price, given that Paul Casey is the only European to have ever won in Houston.
The Spaniard has played consistently well this season, though, and has made 11 consecutive cuts in a run dating back to last year.
He has picked up five top 20s and three top 10s in eight starts, and looked capable of going far in the Match Play last weekend before losing a five-round play-off to Charles Howell.
Cabrera-Bello’s T17 at the Masters last year suggests he can deal with speedy greens, as does the fact that he is currently ranked 17th in shots gained around the green this season.
With odds boosted to , he’s a decent shout for a top-10 finish.