The Texas two step comes to a close this week at the Shell Houston Open. The Shell Houston Open takes place at The Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas. The Masters may be a week away, but this week’s field is very strong, and there’s a reason for that. The Golf Club of Houston plays a little bit like Augusta. Players find it to be a good tournament to get ready for the Masters. Especially, the greens. The greens are very Augusta like. As a tip, if someone is putting really well on these greens they will usually putt well at Augusta.
While this is a strong field with a lot of the big names such as Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, etc. there’s a lot of under the radar guys that you don’t want to sleep on. And as we’ve seen this year, the big names haven’t won frequently this year. It’s been the year of the unexpected. So, with that said, let’s get started and try and find some golfers that might compete come Sunday that people might not expect.
Lee Westwood: I’m starting off with Lee Westwood because Westwood is in an interesting pick. Westwood is a big name, but in order to pick him in some of the fantasy games out there, you have to scroll down quite a bit and go through a couple of pages to find Westwood. So, with that, I believe Westwood is a very valuable pick. Westwood hasn’t had the best of years so far, but at the Shell Houston Open, Westwood steps his game up.
In recent history, going back to 2010, Westwood has made the cut in the last four years and he’s been in the thick of things in those four tournaments. Last year, Westwood finished T-10, in 2012: T-21, in 2011: T-30, and in 2010 Westwood finished T-8. This is a good barometer to see where Westwood is at. If he competes here at the Shell Houston Open, I believe he will once again compete at Augusta next week. If he struggles, if Westwood misses the cut, then perhaps Westwood’s time as a top tier golfer may be over. We’ll have to see, but I’m banking Westwood is fine. I believe he will finish somewhere in the top 25 and parlay that to being right in the thick of things come Sunday at The Masters.
J.B. Holmes: Holmes is still recovering from a rough 2013 where he had a lot of to deal with regarding injuries, but nonetheless, Holmes is playing some quality golf. He’s played in 7 tournaments this year and has made the cut in 6 of them. Just recently at Bay Hill, Holmes had his first top 10 finish this year. Holmes is starting to get back to where he once was. Holmes was a high quality golfer and he’s slowly, but surely getting back to that form.
Not only that, but, Holmes has a very strong history at the Shell Houston Open. In 2012, he finished T-8, in 2011 Holmes finished T-42, and in 2009 Holmes finished solo 2nd. With how well Holmes has been playing and given his history at the Shell Houston Open I believe Holmes is a great pick up. In some of those salary cap games, Holmes is a cheap pick up, and in my eyes he is a very high value pick.
Ben Crane: Looking at the fantasy games this morning, I couldn’t believe how far down Ben Crane was. To me, Crane has tons and tons of value. It’s a very cheap pick up for a golfer that has a very good history here at the Shell Houston Open.
Last year, Ben Crane finished T-4, in 2012 Crane finished T-29, in 2011: T-24, and in 2010: T-25. Crane has been a top 30 machine here at the Shell Houston Open. There’s just something about the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas that fits Crane’s eye.
While Crane hasn’t been all that good this year, it’s not much different from past years. Crane has usually struggled, but when it comes to the Shell Houston Open, he steps it up. If his play is any indication he should once again play really well here at the Shell Houston Open. He should finish somewhere in the top 30.
Cameron Tringale: Tringale isn’t the cheapest golfer on here, but I still feel he has value. Tringale has had a great year. Tringale has made the cut in nine straight tournaments and in those nine tournaments, he’s finished in the top 25 in 4 of those tournaments, and top 41 in six of those nine tournaments. Tringale has been in great form and when you factor in the fact that in two tournaments at the Shell Houston Open he’s finished T-16 and T-8, Tringale looks to be a great pick up.
Kevin Stadler: Kevin Stadler has had a fantastic year so far. Stadler started the wrap around season well with a T-30 at Shriners, a T-19 at CIMB Classic, a T-10 at the McGladrey Classic, a T-12 at the OHL Classic, and on Januray 30th, he got himself his first win on the PGA Tour at the Phoenix Open. So, with that, Stadler has put himself in a position where he’s never been before. A week from now, he will be playing at Augusta.
So, as he gets ready to play at Augusta, he will be playing here at the Shell Houston Open once again, and if the past is any indication, he will play pretty well here. In 2013, Stadler finished T-27, in 2012 he made the cut, but had a bad 3rd round in which he didn’t make the secondary cut, in 2011 he finished T-66, and in 2010: T6. Stadler usually makes the cut here and is usually right in there and given how well he’s played this year, I factor all that in and I believe he will be in contention Sunday. I say he’s a great pick up, a lot of value here. Especially, if you are going to load up your team with the favorites, The Dustin Johnson’s the Henrik Stenson’s of the world. Stadler is a great value pick.