Welcome back everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings PGA Sleeper Picks for The 2017 Shell Houston Open. Last week was a disappointing week with only one of my three featured picks making the cut. Trey Mullinax got off to a really hot start, but he slowly fell as the weekend went on, finishing T44 for the event. This week, The Tour heads to Houston for the last stop before The Masters, The Shell Houston Open. This event takes place at The Golf Club of Houston which is a par 72 that is 7,441 yards long. Jim Herman is the defending champion, edging out Henrik Stenson by a stroke and shooting -15 for the week. It is safe to expect lower scores again this time around with the average winning score, being -15 over the last five years. As on most courses, being long off the tee can be a plus here in Houston, but the most important thing here is these player’s shots when approaching the green. Hitting these greens isn’t too difficult with most them on the larger size, but it is crucial to hit as many as possible with water, sand, or both hazards surrounding all these Bermuda greens.
The most important holes for these players will be the par fours, with The Golf Club of Houston being home to eight par fours, including four of them that are over 450 yards. The past three winners have shown this with them shooting an average of -7 on these holes. So after looking it all over the main stats, I will be looking for this week are the usual strokes gained tee to green, greens in regulation percentage, driving distance, strokes gained approaching the green, birdie or better percentage, and strokes gained putting, but also an emphasis on par four scoring. This is a much better field than we saw last week at The Puerto Rico Open with some big names in attendance, as they want to sharpen up their game before heading to Augusta. Also, for all the players who have yet to qualify for The Masters, this is a very important event for them because a win would gain them an invitation to next week. So good luck everyone and if you want more picks for The Shell Houston Open, check out Geoff’s DraftKings picks through this link and Keegan’s betting picks through this link. As always if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
If you want help with PGA research for DraftKings check out the best fantasy tools out there at FantasyLabs.com
Jhonattan Vegas: (7,300) Vegas hasn’t competed in a few weeks, but his game is perfect for this course that he has played well on in the past, making the cut in his last four tries here in Houston, including a T19 last year. After finishing off last season strong, Vegas is playing some of the best golf of his career, making 10/11 cuts this season, with four top 25s, and two top tens. He is known as a longer hitter, ranking 53rd in driving distance this season, but he is much more than just a bomber, ranking 34th in strokes gained tee to green, 59th in strokes gained approaching the green, 29th in GIR percentage (71%), 41st in par four scoring, and 55th in birdie or better percentage.
Overall for the season, he has struggled putting, ranking 185th in strokes gained putting, compared to his 77th rank last season, but he has been much better on the greens as of late, with a 28.6 average putts per round in his last three events, which is a nice improvement from his 29.74 average in 2017. He has top 20 upside this here this week and is a really nice value at only $7,300, that can be used in both cash games and GPPs.
Jason Dufner: (7,100) Dufner is another player who is just way too cheap for how consistent he has been this season. The 70th ranked player in the world has been great, only missing one cut this season, and finishing no worse than T25 in all of the events he has made the cut. He has only played here in Houston once, all the way back in 2009, when he made the cut but finished in 77th place. He is no bomber (288 yard average drive this season), but I think his balanced game and current form, will help him play better this time around.
His stats have been solid so far this year, ranking 60th in strokes gained tee to green, 42nd in strokes gained putting, 78th in strokes gained approaching the green, 113th in GIR percentage (67%), 72nd in proximity to the hole, and 28th in birdie or better percentage. The one thing that really stood out to me is that he ranks 7th in par four scoring this season and 5th in approach shots from 200 yards or more, which is a key distance at The Golf Club of Houston, with 28.7% of the fields approach shots coming from this range over the last 11 years. (via Fantasy Golf Metrics) Right now Fantasy Labs has Dufner projected for a 13-16% ownership level in GPPs, but I honestly think it may end up being lower with his lack of course history and this $7,000-$8,000 range being flooded with other options this week.
Ollie Schniederjans: (6,700) A couple of weeks ago, Ollie struggled at Copperhead and missed the cut at The Valspar, but he bounced back the following week, with a T34 at The Arnold Palmer Invitational. His season got off to a rocky start in the fall, when he missed three straight cuts, but he has proved that he has the talent to compete week in week out ever since, making 8/9 cuts overall, with four top 25s, and a very impressive three top ten finishes. This is his first full time season on The Tour, so this will be his first time playing in The Shell Houston Open. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure this is a big week for Schniederjans, who will most likely have some family and friends in attendance at this event, with him being a Texas native, originally from Dallas.
His game sets ups well for this course, with him ranking 28th in driving distance (301.5 yards), 45th in strokes gained tee to green, 53rd in strokes gained approaching the green, 120th in GIR percentage (67.2%), 97th in strokes gained putting, and birdie or better percentage. He isn’t the best par four player, ranking 105th in par four scoring this season, but he has a very strong approach game from over 200 yards, ranking 13th from that distance this year. I don’t think you need to go under $7,000 in cash games this week, but in GPPs, Schniederjans presents great upside, with his low expected ownership of 5-8%. (via Fantasy Labs)
Also Consider: Tony Finau, Kyle Stanley, Cameron Tringale (6/6 here with three top tens), Keegan Bradley, Luke List, Peter Uihlein, Stewart Cink, Jamie Lovemark, JT Poston, Kyle Riefers, and Michael Kim.