Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Vivint Houston Open
The PGA Tour returns to Houston, Texas, for the final prelude to The Masters, a distinction the Houston Open held most years between 2007 and 2018. With former sponsor Shell pulling out that final year, last year's edition was held in the fall for the first time as part of the swing season and the last time at the Golf Club of Houston.
Memorial Park Golf Course is the new host, a municipal course in Harris County that was renovated in early 2019 to get the public course Tour-ready. Brooks Koepka has Houston connections and consulted on the project, and not surprisingly, he will tee it up this week for just the second time since missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship in mid-August. Memorial Park is a 7,432-yard par 70 that features just 20 bunkers on the entire layout after the renovation.
This will be a fresh look for most of the field, and teeing it up this week is a mix of middle-to-low class PGA Tour professionals as befits an average swing season event, along with top-level talent tuning up for Augusta.
Conditions should be fabulous, as no doubt the hosts are thankful for. Much of the renovation centered around drainage, but the golf gods are serving up highs in the 70s and mostly sunny skies this week. Texas winds can always kick up, so keep an eye on any updates that might give one of the early waves an advantage.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Memorial Park Golf Course
Distance: 7,432 yards
[Editor's Note: The course will play as a par 70 and not as a par 72 as previously reported.]
For the fourth straight week, we have little to no course record to work with. Memorial Park is unique in that it features an extra par 3 and par 5, and there is little doubt that the man holding the trophy come Sunday will have survived the former and dominated the latter. The entire scorecard features welcome diversity, with two par 3s under 170 yards and the other three over 200 yards, most notably the 237-yard 11th that should come in the midst of a difficult stretch at and around the turn. From the 7th to the 12th hole, the yardages are 216, 625, 203, 456, 237, and 496. Not many wedges in that span.
While we are no longer at the Golf Club of Houston, it's proximity makes it a rightful comp along with TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oakes (Valero Texas Open). Outside the Lone Star state, we can draw a connection to CC of Jackson (Sanderson Farms), a swing season course and field in nearby Mississippi.
These stats will be key to success in the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course.
|Key Stats for the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
We'll play this one pretty straight up. The greens should be pretty easy given that the course has maintained its muni status with a $30 weekday green fee, so give a slight edge to the very best putters, but we shouldn't expect any Tour-level player to struggle on these surfaces. So it will come down to who strikes it best with his driver and irons. It's not an uncommon recipe, but at this type of a track, the field should be firing at the pins all week.
With the extra par 5, we'll be looking at scores north of 20-under par this week, and we'll need plenty of birdies to get there. The aforementioned eighth hole is a mammoth 625-yarder, but as we've seen time and time again, they really can't make these holes long enough to take birdie out of the picture. The opening hole is a 522-yard par 5 that golfers will need to attack to keep pace with the rest of the field.
Course History Studs
This is a new venue, and Koepka's connection is front and center, but it's worth noting a few standouts from years past at GC of Houston, given the proximity. Russell Henley is the main name on that front, with his 2017 victory one of five straight top 10s before a T61 in the midst of a poor stretch last year. He's been hot of late and should be a popular name this week.
Scottie Scheffler attended the University of Texas at Austin and has played well in Texas to start his career, including a T28 last year at GC of Houston. Fellow Longhorns Jordan Spieth and Beau Hossler were in the top 5 together in 2018, and each had at least one other top-15 finish at the old venue.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.