The final tournament before The Masters takes us to Humble, Texas and the Shell Houston Open. This will be the thirteenth consecutive year that the Golf Club of Houston has hosted this event. Last year’s event featured a dramatic finish as Matt Jones chipped in on the first playoff hole to defeat Matt Kuchar. Henrik Stenson, the world’s #2 ranked player, headlines a field that includes 11 of the top-20 players in the world.
My picks for this week:
**UPDATE**: After making my picks, Henrik Stenson withdrew do to an illness. My replacement pick for this week is J.B. Holmes. Holmes has top top-10’s in three of his past five starts, including two runner-up finishes. Holmes tied for 8th at the Shell Houston in 2012 and tied for 12th last year.
1) Matt Kuchar (0) – After struggling for a few tournaments, Kuchar seemed to put it together last Sunday. Kuchar shot a final round 69 at the Valero Texas Open to finish in a tie for 15th. Kuch has not finished outside the top-10 in any of his last three appearances at the Shell Houston Open. After tying for 8th in both 2010 and 2011, Kuchar lost in a playoff to Matt Jones last year.
2) Henrik Stenson (2) –In his last three starts on the PGA Tour, Stenson tied for 4th at the Cadillac, finished solo 4th at the Valspar Championship, and was runner-up to Matt Every at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Stenson has two-5’s in four career trips to the Shell Houston Open. Stenson’s best finish came in 2013 when he shared 2nd.
1) Louis Oosthuizen (1) – Dating back to late 2014, Oosthuizen has top-10’s in five of his last six starts. Sweet Lou’s best finish came at the Alfred Dunhill Championship where he finished solo 2nd. Although he missed the cut last year, Oosty has top-16 finishes in three of his last four trips to the Shell Houston Open. Oosthuizen finished solo 3rd in 2012.
2) Matt Jones (1) – After three straight top-15 finishes, Jones finished in a share for 26th last week at the Valero Texas Open. Jones was actually in contention heading into Sunday, but a final round 75 dropped him out of it. Jones picked up his first career PGA Tour victory last year at the Shell Houston Open.
1) Lee Westwood (3) – This will already be my fourth time using Westwood so I need to be careful. However, in five 2015 starts, Westwood has not finished outside the top-25. In his last start, Westwood shared 17th at the Valspar Championship. Westwood has also never missed a cut at the Shell Houston Open. In his last three trips, Westwood T21 in 2012, T10 in 2013, and T17 last year.
2) Brendan Steele (1) – Steele has top-15’s in three of his last four starts on the PGA Tour. Last week at the Valero Texas Open, Steele shared 8th. Steele will be making his fifth career trip to the Shell Houston Open. His best finish came in 2013 when he tied for 38th.
Other Golfers Considered:
Jordan Spieth (Tier A): Spieth is on quite roll as of late. After winning the Valspar Championship, Spieth finished runner-up to Jimmy Walker last week at the Valero Texas Open. After tying for 50th in 2013, Spieth missed the cut last year at the Shell Houston Open.
Jason Kokrak (Tier B): Kokrak just missed out on his third straight top-10 last week at the Valero Texas Open. A final round 74 dropped him into a tie for 11th. In three career trips to the Shell Houston Open, Kokrak has two missed cuts and a solo 9th finish.
Brian Davis (Tier C): Davis’ had his second top-10 of the season three weeks ago at the Valspar Championship. Davis missed the cut last year, but had top-10’s in each of his prior two trips to the Shell Houston Open. Davis tied for 4th in 2012 and tied for 6th in 2013.