The first major of the golfing year looms large, with the Masters teeing off next week. However, before this comes the Houston Open and the last chance for a player currently not qualified for Augusta to play his way in.
Near the top of the betting list for this week’s tournament are Jordan Speith, Phil Mickelson and Daniel Berger, three players that competed in the World Match Play last week. We’re not sure that was good preparation for this event and will steer clear.
Of the other leading contenders, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler didn’t play last week, and while we like the look of Rose we wonder how much they will be using this event as just an opportunity to tune things up.
The last four winners here have been Russell Henley, Jim Herman, JB Holmes and Matt Jones – none particularly household names. We will also look a little further down the list.
We’re going to take a punt on Jamie Lovemark. The huge American has been playing well this year, including a couple of top 10 finishes. He also had a chance to win here in 2016, leading after 54 holes. The Sunday was a disappointment for him that time, let’s hope for something better this weekend.
Our second selection contradicts our earlier thinking a little. Charles Howell III participated in the World Match Play last week and played reasonably well. We think this provided a jolt in confidence he needed. This is a talented player, having climbed as high as 15th in the world rankings, but his form of late hasn’t been great. If his putter continues to work, he could reward at nice odds.
Lovemark 0.5 pts each way at 60/1, 1/4 the odds for first five places, bet365
Howell III 0.5 pts each way at 50/1, 1/5 the odds for first seven places, Boyle Sports
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