There is something different about the fall season this year on the PGA Tour. You have events, like this week’s Houston Open, that are in new spots on the schedule. Instead of being the place where tour pros get in a final Masters tune-up, the Golf Club of Houston welcomes them in October, which leads to a few natural questions. Specifically, how will the new date impact how the course plays? After a ton of rain in the Houston area in previous weeks, the rough might be a little thicker than previous events, putting a premium on accuracy.
Of course, you don’t have to do too much worrying about these differences between fall versus spring events. Our expert panel, which has correctly predicted three of the first four winners of the new, extended fall season, is doing the research for you. Once again, we have a PGA Tour caddie offering insight from the range and putting green at the Golf Club of Houston, thanks to our partnership with The Caddie Network; picks from Jason Sobel, senior writer at The Action Network, which is becoming the leader in sports betting and handicapping analysis, and it’s growing its presence in golf; two of the most respected experts in the daily-fantasy community, Pat Mayo of DraftKings and Brandon Gdula of FanDuel; Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports, which tracks DFS ownership and sentiment; and Columbia University senior lecturer and Ph.D. Lou Riccio, who uses predictive analysis and modelling to forecast winners in golf.
2019 Houston Open Picks To Win (Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)
PGA Tour Caddie Guest Picker of the Week: Scottie Scheffler (22-1)— He’s a Texas kid. Even though he’s from Dallas, if a pro is from any part of Texas, they feel at home at any Texas event. That’ll be the case for Scheffler at a course he can man-handle. He’s got length to go along with the touch to keep a good round going. It’s just a matter of time before he breaks through.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National analyst: Cameron Tringale (41-1)— Tringale has morphed into a different player this year. Always solid with his irons, he’s made nine of his past 10 cuts and improved his driving by a full stroke per event over his career baseline. He went from being actively bad to pretty good. It’s one of the season’s largest skill advancements from any player. Plus, he’s made six of seven cuts in Houston with three top-10 finishes since 2012.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire editor: Scottie Scheffler (22-1)— Scheffler hasn’t played here and faltered with two 74s on the weekend in Las Vegas. But Scheffler’s stats are too good: He ranks third in the field in strokes gained/tee-to-green over the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour, telling us he’s only a lukewarm putter away from converting his first win.
Dr Lou Riccio, Columbia University: Henrik Stenson (9-1)— My model indicates that Stenson, for as low his odds are, might be underpriced. He is far and away the best player in this field, and his stats back up that talent gap. My model gives him nearly a 10-percent chance of winning, which is more than double the next closest player. This is Stenson’s to lose, according to the numbers.
Jason Sobel, Action Network senior golf writer: Sam Ryder (45-1)— This is the perfect week to take a flier on a player you think is ready to win, but haven’t wanted to back against stiffer competition. For me, that’s Ryder. Last season, he ranked 20th in the all-around ranking, which placed among the game’s household names and was second highest among players (after Sungjae Im) without a career victory. Ryder finished solo fifth in Houston the last time this tourney was held (March 2018) and had a T-18 in Vegas with ball-striking stats that were all in the positive numbers.
Golf Digest editors: Scottie Scheffler (22-1)— One of our editors was on-site last week at Vegas, and nearly half the people she spoke with said Scheffler will win this fall. In what’s definitely the weakest field of the early season, it points to a breakout win for this Texas kid.
Lee Aldrick, FanShare Sports golf expert: Brian Harman (22-1)— Harman has six top-20 finishes in his last 10 events, including four top-10s. It’s no surprise to see that he ranks second in the field in strokes gained/tee-to-green over the last two months. Harman is also an excellent putter on fast Bermuda greens: According to FantasyNational.com, Harman ranks seventh in the field in strokes gained on fast/lightning greens.
Results from this season: We have predicted three of the season’s first four winners! Our Golf Digest Editors picked Kevin Na (70-1) as their sleeper pick last week. And Brandon Gdula picked Sebastian Munoz (65-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in addition to Joaquin Niemann (22-1) in the season opener at the Greenbrier as did Pat Mayo, Dr Lou Riccio and Lee Alldrick.