Course Preview – Houston Open

Previous Winners

  • 2017: Russell Henley -20
  • 2016: Jim Herman -15
  • 2015: JB Holmes -16
  • 2014: Matt Jones -15
  • 2013: DA Points -16

Course

Bay Hill – 7,381 yards / Par 7

Let’s dive right in.  The Shell Houston Open is held at the GC of Houston, a Par 72 coming in at 7,457 yards. Being carved out of woodlands, there will be plenty of trees the player’s drives will be flirting with.  The Par 5’s on the course all average under par which will give the players plenty of chances for scoring.  The key focus this week again will be Par 4 scoring.  There are several Par 4’s, (Holes 5,6,11,17, 18) that average over par.  The efficient Par 4 players should gain an edge on these holes.  Water is also predominant on at least half the holes, so we do not want to see the shot tracker stalling in an attempt to find the ball.

It is important to note that with one week left until the Master’s, there will be plenty of players trying to get that win to gain entry to one of the most prestigious golf tournaments around.  The players that have secured their berth will want to improve on their game so that their form is in top shape. If the player is playing poorly, however, we may see some withdrawal’s so they can take more time to right the course.

Yet again, the key metric we are looking at is SG: Tee to Green. This statistic allows us to target the best ball strikers.  In another tournament where birdies will be plenty, we are going to want the best ball strikers that will be able to gain strokes off the tee and getting to the green.  For those of you that haven’t read our past articles, SG: Tee to Green combines Off the Tee, Approach the Green, and Around the Green.  The best SG: Tee to Green players will put themselves in positions for many birdies.  With a course carved out of woodlands, the best ball strikers should be able to avoid trouble.

The toughest holes on the course are the Par 4’s.  The Par 4 18th hole is considered one of the toughest finishing holes on Tour.  With 5 of the Par 4’s averaging over par, we are going to want to target the best Par 4 Scorers.  While over half the field will be losing strokes on these holes, we want the players that will be shooting par or better.

I feel like I could have just copied last week’s article and pasted.  With another tournament featuring a birdiefest, we are going to want to target the best Birdie or Better % (BoB%).  The tournament has featured the winner coming in at no lower than -15 in the last 5 years.  In order to take down a large GPP, you are going to need players that will keep up with the birdiefest.

Another key statistic that I look at is Greens in Regulation.  This is somewhat factored into SG: Tee to Green since the players gaining strokes with their ball striking are likely hitting more greens in regulation.

Key Stats Ranked

  1. SG: T2G
  2. SG: Approach
  3. Par 4 Scoring
  4. GIR%
  5. SG: Ball Striking
  6. BoB%

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