The Golf Club of Houston has been home to the Houston Open since 2003 and the lengthy 7,457-yard has produced big name winners including Vijay Singh, Adam Scott, Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson. With pristine fairways, challenging bunkers and several water hazards it provides a stern test, with the winning total generally around the 16-under mark – the winner had scored either 15 or 16-under in five successive editions prior to last year, when our 40/1 selection Russell Henley won with a total of 20-under. Henley won by three strokes to succeed Jim Herman as the winner of this tournament, while other recent champions include JB Holmes, Matt Jones and DA Points.
Six members of the world’s top 20 will tee it up in Houston and five of them dominate the betting with the sixth, world number 20 Matt Kuchar, out at 40/1* after some indifferent form. After recording 13 top 10s in his last 15 starts, Justin Rose is the marginal favourite at 10/1* with most firms, with Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth at 11/1* with Paddy Power and Bet365 respectively. Phil Mickelson, the 2011 champion who won the recent WGC-Mexico Championship, is a 12/1* chance with Coral and Paddy Power, while Henrik Stenson, who finished fourth at the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational, can be backed at the same price across the board. There’s a big leap to the remainder of the market, with Daniel Berger and Luke List rated by the bookmakers as the best of the rest. Bet365 make Berger a 28/1* chance, with List in to a best of 33/1* with Paddy Power after proving popular in the early betting. Defending champion Henley is a 35/1* shot with Bet365.
Houston Open Tips
Rafael Cabrera-Bello failed to make any impression at the Dell Match Play event at the weekend, but he was third in Mexico prior to that and the in-form Spaniard – who also finished sixth in Dubai earlier in the year – looks like one to follow here at odds of Back him at 75/1 with Bet365. The world number 22 hasn’t missed a cut since August and was fourth on his first appearance here in 2016.
We backed Russell Henley last year on the basis that he is a course specialist at the Houston GC and that argument is only strengthened by his subsequent victory – he has now finished in the top 10 in four successive editions. The fact that his price is almost the same as it was a year ago is down to his less than stellar form, although he has only missed two cuts in 19 starts and he was 15th at Pebble Beach a few weeks back.
JB Holmes took the title here three years ago and has enjoyed a number of other strong performances at this tournament, including finishing second in 2009 and eighth in 2012, and he looks to be one of the better outside chances this week. His good results have been a little thin on the ground of late but he was fourth at the Farmers Insurance Open, another event where he has a good track record. Back him at 75/1 with Bet365*.
*Odds are subject to change