Weekend Warriors: Shell Houston Open

Every week, the Weekend Warriors picks article will have some brief course notes, statistics to focus on, and four players to build your core around. Additional stats used in this article are from FantasyGolfMetrics.com and FutureOfFantasy.com which are both tremendous resources.

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THE COURSE

CUT LINE: Field of 144 golfers, top 70 and ties play the weekend.

COURSE: Check out details on the course HERE

THE STATS

  1. Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
  2. Birdie or Better %
  3. Scrambling
  4. Driving Distance

THE WEEKEND WARRIORS

Warrior #1: Rickie Fowler

(FantasyDraft – $20400, DraftKings – $10000)

Outside of a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, Fowler has played incredibly well this season, his worst finish a T16 at the WGC-Mexico. One of Fowler’s greatest strengths through the early portion of this season has been his ability to avoid big numbers and save par when needed; currently getting up and down at a rate of 71.55% has Rickie ranked first on Tour. Alongside his bogey avoidance, he continues to be one of the best ball strikers on Tour shown by his 11th overall rank in SG:T2G (1.525). Add in the fact that Rickie definitely isn’t among the short hitters on tour, currently averaging over 302 yards off the tee, and Fowler checks all of this week’s key stats.

Fowler’s last four appearances here have all seen him play the weekend and include two top ten finishes. The year of his top five finish at the Masters, Fowler finished sixth in this event.

While being priced near the top of the field, Fowler is behind golden boy Jordan Spieth, new sensation Jon Rahm, and course horse Henrik Stenson, making it likely he’ll go overlooked.

Warrior #2: Phil Mickelson

(FantasyDraft – $19400, DraftKings – $8900)

Before looking up any stats or course history this week, I was reading some quotes from Phil about how he doesn’t always play the correct shot around here, that he’s just preparing his shot shapes for Augusta.

“I’m more focused about hitting shots for next week. I tried some cut drivers like on 13, I hit a couple of good ones, hit some bad ones, but I needed to get that work in on a competitive environment. I love playing the week before because you get competitive, but I didn’t make — I didn’t make the smartest play. My course management for this course isn’t going to be great. The shots that I was playing this week are going to set up a lot better next week. “

With that impression, knowing the trouble that can be found here, I thought there was no way Mickelson’s record here could be very good… boy was I wrong; he won the event in 2011 and has finished inside the top 20 every year since.

On the year Phil has been scoring at a remarkable rate, picking up Birdie or Better 26.79% of the time, which ranks fourth on Tour. The problem has been his ability to find big numbers as well, currently sitting 102th in Bogey Avoidance. If Phil can continue to score at the rate he has been this year, there is no doubt he’ll be in contention come Sunday.

Warrior #3: Jason Dufner

  (FantasyDraft – $17300, DraftKings – $7100)

Full disclosure, Dufner’s lack of distance off the tee is a little worrisome on a course that stretches out over 7,400 yards. Currently averaging just 288 off the tee, Dufner is outside the top 130 in terms of Driving Distance. Where he’s able to make up ground is with his strong tee-to-green game and his ability to avoid big numbers.

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 60th (.473)
  • Birdie or Better % – 38th (23.48%)
  • Scrambling % – 24th (65.12%)

Jason is in the midst of a very strong season finishing inside the top 25 in six of the seven stroke play events he’s played. He’s priced at the same level as Tony Finau who is receiving a lot of love from the touts this week meaning Dufner has potential to go underowned.

Warrior #4: Chris Stroud

(FantasyDraft – $14900, DraftKings – $6900)

A native of Groves, TX, Stroud grew up a little over an hour from the Golf Club of Houston, providing a little of that hometown narrative we sometimes like to target. Strouds last four visits here have resulted in finishes of 27th, 17th, 12th, and 38th. Chris’ tee-to-green game and scoring ability will serve him well this week; he currently ranks 37th on Tour in SG:T2G (.806) and 20th in Birdie or Better % (24.51%).

Last week, while the elites on Tour were facing off in Austin, Stroud was in Puerto Rico bringing home an eighth place finish; it was Chris’ second top 25 of the year in just his fifth start. The $6900/$14000 price tag provides major salary relief as part of a stars and scrubs lineup.

 

TOTAL SALARY REMAINING: $14000 per golfer on FantasyDraft; $8550 per golfer on DraftKings.

 

For more FantasyDraft friendly picks be sure to check for my “Going For The Green” article over in the FantasyDraft Lockerroom.

Josh Burkett

From Portland, Maine to Austin, TX in search of anything sports. First love was racing, spending my summers bouncing from track to track across the country. Lifelong New York Rangers, New England Patriots, and Boston Red Sox fan. Follow me on twitter @GWBuffalo7.

greatwhitebuffalo7 has 29 posts and counting.See all posts by greatwhitebuffalo7

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