The best prop bets for the 2021 Houston Open
After visits to Japan, Bermuda, and Mexico the PGA Tour is back on American soil and heading for the birthplace of Beyonce, Patrick Swayze, and The Undertaker! Hold onto your cowboy hat, because the Houston Open returns this week to the Memorial Park Golf Course.
Houston Open 2021
Sun, November 14 2021, 10:00 PM
This event has shuffled around the calendar a bit, but it has been present on the PGA Tour for almost 75 years. This is only the second time it’s been held at Memorial Park, however, after the course got a $34 million redesign with Brooks Koepka lending a hand.
What we’re left with is a Bermuda grass course that now has just 20 bunkers instead of 50. Where there used to be sand there are now steep slopes that are covered in short grass designed to test the pros. A red-hot short game, excellent ball striking, and good scrambling numbers are key on this 7,412-yard Par 70.
Course form could be a key factor here, and that’s why I’m siding with Hatton over Niemann. The first two rounds last year averaged 72.3 and 71.3 before the third round averaged 70.3 and the final round was 68.8, suggesting the field played better as they got used to the course.
Hatton certainly did, as he finished seventh and shot a five-under-par 65 on the Sunday. Hopefully his four rounds around here last year will give him the edge over debutant Joaquin Niemann.
Both men have shown flashes of form in recent weeks with Niemann fifth in the Worldwide Technology Championship, and Hatton second in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the European Tour.
Hatton is an excellent putter and last season ranked 13th on Tour for shots gained approaching the green, so his game should be well suited again at Memorial Park.
Both men played in this tournament last year so they have had a taster of Memorial Park, but coming into the event this year there’s a clear disparity in current form and that makes McNealy a strong bet.
McNealy kicked off the season with a bang, finishing second in the Fortinet Championship before missing the cut in the Shriners Open. Since then, he has been back on the up, finishing 38th, 25th, and 11th in his last three outings. That 11th came in the Worldwide Technology Championship, where he hit 75% of his greens in regulation and closed with an impressive 64.
Henley, on the other hand, doesn’t have a top 25 finish in his last five starts, and has been outside the top 50 in three of them. Last week in the Worldwide Technology Championship, a disastrous third round saw him shoot a five-over-par 76 as he finished 56th.
Sam Burns led after the second and third round in this event last year, so course form is well and truly ticked. Unfortunately, that day he shot a final round 72 to drop to seventh, but he is a different beast now, having since broken his duck and won twice on the PGA Tour.
Burns also led by five shots in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in February (eventually finishing third), and that course has great correlation with Memorial Park as Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, and Talor Gooch who all finished top four here last year, have top 10 finishes at Riviera.
Burns comes into this event in great form, winning the Sanderson Farms Championship in October, before following it up by coming 14th in the Shriners Children’s Open, and fifth in the CJ Summit. He’s striking the ball incredibly well and looks capable of a top five finish.
Wyndham Clark is a huge price to win this event outright, but a top 30 finish at +275 looks worthy of a bet. He missed the cut at this event on his debut last year, but I’m happy to forgive him that as it came a week after he lost a play-off to Brian Gay in the Bermuda Championship as he attempted to win his first Tour event.
That mental blow will no doubt have had an impact on his game, so the fact he’s had two rounds here is good, despite the negative result which I’m going to let slide.
As mentioned with Burns, Riviera form could be key, and Burns has finished 17th and eighth there in two starts, so that would go some way to suggesting this course should suit him just fine. He has two top 30s in his four starts this season, and is worth chancing.