2015 Fantasy GolfChris Garosi

Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: The Shell Houston Open

Jason Day took on all comers at the WGC-Dell Match Play and Tony Finau won his first PGA Tour title at the Puerto Rico Open in a playoff with Steve Marino. This is our final prep week before the Masters as we head to Texas for the Shell Houston Open.

Our friends at DraftKings continue to roll out some fantastic contests. And I’m here to help you win some dough.

It’s a great week to check out DraftKings as they have some top notch contests.

Come on over and take a look.

Tour Stop

This week we are in Humble, Texas just outside of Houston at the Shell Houston Open. The Open is played at the Golf Club of Houston on the Tournament Course. The course measures 7,441 yards with a par 72 scorecard. This is seen as a tune up for the Masters and the course does its best to set up the course like the Masters to attract a top notch list of entrants.  The greens here are Bermudagrass unlike Augusta which is planted with bent grass greens and is perhaps one of the main reasons just two winners from the Shell Houston Open have finished in the top 15 at the Masters since 2006.

The weather looks like it will be calm for most of the week with little wind to worry about an only a chance of a passing thunderstorm. It is Texas so wind can kick up at any time. Check back on Wednesday night to see if there is an advantage to one set of tee times over another.

Scorecard breakdown: We have our standard par-72 course with four par 3s, four par fives and 10 par fours.


It’s the final week before a major so we have a field with many of the player we’ll see next week. And we also have those striving to qualify for the Masters. If a golfer wins this week, he’s in next week’s tournament if he’s not otherwise qualified.

The full field can be found here.

Also, thanks to GolfOdds.com for the odds this week. If you’d like to see a second set of odds, check out the Betting Zone’s odds here – just click on this week’s tournament on the left hand pane.

Past Tournament Results

The tournament has been held at the Golf Club of Houston since 2003 when the course was called the Redstone Golf Club. Any other data prior to 2003 is not relevant.

So, here is the top 20 for the last three years:

2016_shell_Houston_Open_SHO_last_3 top 20

Statistical Review

Let’s take a look at the statistical angles in for this week’s tournament.

Driving Distance (DD): Length off the tee has been useful in the past especially where the rough is less than punitive.

Par 5 Scoring (P5SA): In general on par-72 courses, par 5 scoring becomes important if only because there are more of them. In this instance, some of the tougher holes (especially 18) are par 4s and the par 5s offer a chance to recover from issues on par 4s.

Greens in Regulation (GIR): As we look back over years of data, we see that getting onto the green with a chance to score correlates highly with success at this course.

Par 4 Scoring (P4SA): We’ll use par 4 scoring as the tiebreaker as our review of the data shows the winner can take advantage of the scoring opportunities on the tougher par 4s.

And each week, we’ll look at Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G).

DraftKings Expert Picks

Jordan Spieth | $12,900 – With so many golfers below $6,000 you can easily fit Spieth into any lineup you want. But, is there a reason to pay almost $2,000 more than any other golfer when Spieth’s game isn’t where he wants it to be? He finished second here last year, but his other two starts are a missed cut and T50.

Rickie Fowler | $11,000 – Fowler’s sixth place finish at the SHO in 2014 is enticing. His other three finishes of 63rd or worse are less so. Fowler has finished in the top 10 in five of his seven starts in 2016 and is playing great golf. He’s not quite as safe as he seems in my eyes, but the current form and profile are hard to ignore.

Henrik Stenson | $10,800 – The Swede has made the cut in all four starts at the SHO with two top 10 finishes. I expect the week off he took will help him stay healthy and contend again this year. He looks to add another top 10 to a season where he has three in only five starts.

Dustin Johnson | $10,700 – DJ is second in my statistical ranking this week. That’s good. He’s missed two cuts, withdrew in a third and finished T4 in his four starts here. That record concerns me enough to be off DJ a bit this week.

Phil Mickelson | $10,500 – Mickelson has five straight top 10 finishes at the SHO including a win. Mickelson has finished third in my statistical analysis for the week and looks to be reborn this year with the swing changes he’s made. He’s a favorite of mine this week.

Patrick Reed | $10,300 – 135th in SG:P this year, but 19th in SG:P last year makes me think positive regression is coming. With the rest of his game fit for the course, I expect big things from the native Texan.

Louis Oosthuizen | $10,200 – If you believe Oosthuizen won’t be beset by fatigue and that his back to back missed cuts at the SHO the last two years, then he’s your guy. Oosthuizen’s current form (five straight top 15 finishes) is difficult to ignore, but I worry about fatigue and recent course results.

J.B. Holmes | $9,700 65-70-73-64. That’s Holmes’ round by round score from last year. Yes, he has four top 15 finishes in six starts here. Yes, he hasn’t missed a cut since the British Open. However, he’s been “lucky” in the sequence of his rounds and has relied heavily on super low rounds to get it done. He can’t continue to pull that off each year.  He’s a GPP-only option for me. Withdrew.

Charl Schwartzel | $9,500 – Where Oosty has struggled recently at the SHO and may be tired, Schwartzel doesn’t show those potential warts. He’s made five of six cuts at the SHO with two top 20s.

Brooks Koepka | $9,300 – Koepka is another favorite of mine this week based on his length off the tee and European Tour experience. He debuts at the SHO this week, but I don’t have any concerns.

Jimmy Walker | $9,200 – Walker is one of the “locals” who hasn’t had as much success at the SHO as you would expect. The best finish recorded in eight starts at the course is a T24 two years ago. The profile fits well outside of his 105th standing in GIR. I think he’ll be relatively low-owned based on his course history.

Charles Howell III | $8,900 – Howell has three top 20s in his last four starts at the SHO. Howell’s profile for the 2016 Tour season fits as he’s 59th in SG:T2G, 65th in SG:P, 24th in driving distance, 60th in GIR, 30th in par 5 scoring and 34th in par 4 scoring. He’s made 19 of his last 20 cuts. He looks to be one of the safer options this week.

Graham DeLaet | $8,700 – Play DeLaet this week. I feel dirty even saying it. He’s made three straight cuts with back to back top 15 finishes. He’s four for five in cuts made here with two top 20 finishes. I’m going to take a shower.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello | $8,500 – Debuts here on quite the hot streak. He will probably be a bit too highly-owned for my liking, but his form is hard to ignore. If you believe his ownership will be reasonable, then roster Cabrera-Bello.

Charley Hoffman | $8,400 – He’s never missed a cut here in nine starts at the SHO. He’s diminished in the top 20 three times. Hoffman ran roughshod over Texas last year finishing in the top 11 in each of the four events. He’s one of my favorites this week.

Keegan Bradley | $8,300 – Bradley has made the cut in all five SHO starts and has three top 10s. However, he comes in having made only two of seven cuts in 2016.

Ryan Palmer | $8,200 – Even though Palmer is from Texas, he’s not had much success here. He’s made four of ten cuts here with every finish in the top 25 including his T7 two years ago. His current form is trending the wrong way – T26, T42 and T60, so he’s a GPP-play for me.

Tony Finau | $8,100 –With all of his struggles on Tour this year (outside of his win last week), Finau is still first in driving distance and 21st in par 5 scoring. Those two elements should allow him to improve on the T42 he had here last year.

Daniel Berger | $8,100 – Withdrew with a wrist injury last week at the Match Play so I would probably avoid him this week. Even if he tees it up, he could be in danger of a mid-round withdrawal.

Jason Kokrak | $8,000 – Kokrak has missed three of four cuts here with a solo ninth in his only weekend. He has the length off the tee to upend that course history.

Cameron Tringale | $8,000 – See Bradley, Keegan though he did place T27 in his last even (the API).

Scott Brown | $7,900 – Brown is one for two in cuts made at the SHO with a T37 last year his only weekend. He’s playing some inspired golf having made five straight cuts with three top 10s in that run including last week. The profile doesn’t work, but his in excellent form.

Jamie Lovemark | $7,900 – Lovemark has played the SHO three times and made the cut just once, but those results can be ignored as he’s a different golfer now. His 2016 PGA Tour stats work for the course (outside of his 134th place in GIR).  His 2015 Web.com Tour profile is even better standing first in all golfers on that Tour for this event.

K.J. Choi | $7,800 – Choi had success here in the early years of the tournament with three straight top 20 finishes from 2006 to 2008. The South Korean has only played the SHO twice since the missing the cut in 2009 and T50 last year. His profile doesn’t fit as he’s not much of a scorer. He’s played well in 2016 with three top 20s in seven events.

Kevin Chappell | $7,800 – Chappell is two for four in cuts made at the SHO with a top finish of T6 in 2013. He finished second at the Arnold Palmer two weeks ago – his best finish of 2016. His profile fits the course outside of his putter (193 in SG:P this year; 61st in SG:P last year). He is a viable option in the middle range of salaries.

Steve Stricker | $7,700 – Stricker has made seven of eight cuts at the Golf Club of Houston with four top 25s. So, if you want old man value with solid course history look here instead of K.J. Choi.

Scott Piercy | $7,700 – Another course history maven having made five cuts in five starts with a tenth place finish last year. He’s 33rd in driving distance on the season and bounced back from missing the cut at the Honda with a T17 at the Cadillac Championship.

Shane Lowry | $7,600 – I imagine Lowry will be one of the lower owned players in the $7,000s which offers value. He missed the cut in 2013 in his only trip to the SHO. However, his pedigree says he should be able to compete. He’s long enough off the tee and shouldn’t have an issue with any wind.

Harris English | $7,600 – If you’d rather pivot to a golfer with a little success here, then move to English is your man. He has made both cuts in his two starts here with a top finish of T18 in 2012. He may also be low-owned as he’s missed back to back cuts on Tour, but his Tour profile this year fits the course.

Freddie Jacobson | $7,500 – Mr. 50/50. The Swede has made half his cuts here in eight trips with two top 25 finishes. The profile doesn’t look the best for the week.

Matt Jones | $7,500 – Won here in 2014, but has no other success to speak about here. His current form is off as well. He has the length off the tee and scoring ability to succeed, but there is more risk than I feel comfortable with.

Brendan Steele | $7,400 – Steele is a top 10 option this week based on stats alone. He is six for six in cuts made in 2016 and has a top finish of T25 at the SHO in five starts.

Patton Kizzire | $7,400 – Kizzire has been able to score on par 5s this year and much of that has to do with an excellent putter (sixth in SG:P). He makes his debut here this week.

Gary Woodland | $7,300 – Woodland has only played the course three times and finished T13 in 2011. The recent form isn’t there (T61, T42 and MC in his last three events). He has one of the best statistical makeups for this tournament outside of his putting.

Patrick Rodgers | $7,300 – He has a nearly perfect statistical profile for the course as he makes his debut. He has back to back top 25 finishes on Tour coming in to the SHO this week. He’s going to win on the PGA Tour sooner rather than later.

William McGirt | $7,200 – Missed the cut last week and hasn’t done anything with his four starts at the SHO. Pass.

John Huh | $7,200 – Huh is three of four in cuts made at the SHO with two top 20 finishes. He’s made seven of eight cuts in 2016 including three in a row. He’s short off the tee (173rd this year), but he’s been able to score on par 5s (52nd this year). An intriguing option this week.

Aaron Baddeley | $7,100 – Like many here, Baddeley had some early success at this tourney, but his recent work hasn’t been as good. He’s missed three of four cuts since a T4 in 2011. In a limited field last week, Badds put up his second top 10 of the year. His putter drives his game so if it’s on, he’s an option.

Hunter Mahan | $7,100 – Mahan actually won here in 2012 and had three other top 10 finishes prior to the victory. The recent performance (two for three in cuts made, one top 25) isn’t quite as good, but still solid at this price point. He’s made two straight cuts though both finishes were near the bottom of the board.

Jonas Blixt | $7,100 – Blixt has back to back top 30 finishes entering this week after missing the cut at the Honda. He has two top 30 finishes in four trips to the SHO. His game can come on quickly and he looks to be trending in the right direction.

Lee Westwood | $7,000 – Do you want a low-owned GPP option? Westwood is your guy. Westwood has five top 25 finishes in nine SHO starts though he missed the cut here last year. His current form is poor, but his statistical profile from last season fits well. If Westwood can summon the ghost of golf season’s past, he offers upside.

Bernd Wiesberger | $7,000 – The putter is just too bad (204th this year in SG:P) as he makes his debut here. He does have length off the tee (41st on the European Tour last year) to succeed, but the putter scares me.

Russell Henley | $7,000 – Henley is top 40 in length off the tee, but he’s near the bottom in par 5 scoring – an odd combination. However, he is 34th in par 4 scoring. However, he’s in NO form having missed five cuts in a row and six of seven in 2016.

Thongchai Jaidee | $6,900 – Too short off the tee for me this week in his debut.

Kyle Reifers | $6,900 – Trending nicely (T64, T43, T11 in his last three Tour events) and has made the cut in his three starts at the SHO. He finished T11 here last year. He’s also sitting 30th in par 5 scoring this year.

Retief Goosen | $6,800 – He’s made six straight cuts on Tour coming in and did finish T7 two years ago.

Sean O’Hair | $6,800 – O’Hair looks like he’s healthy after a neck injury knocked him out of the Valspar. He is is 38th in driving distance, 17th in SG:P and 44th in par 5 scoring so the tools are there for a successful weekend.

Jamie Donaldson | $6,700 – His stats look poor for 2016, but he’s made four “cuts” in a row on Tour including the Match Play last week. He missed the cut here last year.

Chez Reavie | $6,700 – Reavie’s made four of six cuts at the SHO, but never finished within the top 30. He’s made four straight cuts on Tour coming in though his profile doesn’t seem to fit.

Adam Hadwin | $6,600 – Hadwin debuted here last year with a T25. He has a solid, if unspectacular statistical profile for the week (though he is fifth in SG:P). He bounced back from back to back missed cuts with a T36 at the API two weeks ago.

Cameron Smith | $6,500 – Come on. You know me by now. He’s going to be on a roster or two of mine. The Aussie makes his debut at the SHO this week. Smith started 2016 off poorly, but has made four straight cuts.

Lucas Glover | $6,300 – Glover is 42nd in driving distance and fourth in GIR%. He also scores on both par 5s (52nd) and par 4s (12th). He hasn’t had any recent success at the SHO with his best finish in nine starts at the Golf Club of Huston coming in 2008 (T14).

Chris Stroud | $6,200 – Texas born, bred and educated, Stroud currently makes his home in Houston so he’s played courses like this before. He has back to back top 20 finishes in a string of four made cuts. His form is trending upward with a T26 last week in Puerto Rico.

Johnson Wagner | $6,100 – Wagner’s results are all over the place at this event. He won in 2008 and has three top 10s overall in nine attempts at the SHO. He’s missed three cuts and finished in the bottom five in another. He has yet to make a cut in 2016 in six starts.

Steve Marino | $6,100 – Marino lost in a playoff at last week’s Puerto Rico. He’s also five for five in cuts made here though he hasn’t played the event since 2011. He finished in the top 20 in both 2009 and 2010. His 2015 Web.com stats are interesting for a course like this – 27th in driving distance, 22nd in par 5 scoring and third in par 3 scoring.

Hudson Swafford | $6,000 – The profile fits the course (yet again) as he’s 14th in driving distance. He missed the cut at the SHO last year and was T43 the year before in his only two starts. He comes in on a run of three straight made cuts on Tour.

Stewart Cink | $5,900 – Cink has seen the weekend in three straight starts at the SHO with a T6 in 2013. His stats work, but his putting (198th in SG:P) has been atrocious. That’s not very Cink-like so he can offer some old-man value down here.

Padraig Harrington | $5,900 – Had success here in the past (feel like I’ve written that a lot), but nothing recently.

Nick Taylor | $5,900 – 47th in driving distance so he has a chance. Missed the cut in his only trip to the SHO. The Canadian has made four of his last five cuts with his best finish of 2016 last week (T5) in Puerto Rico.

Seung-yul Noh | $5,900 – The profile looks OK, but it’s never worked here (one withdrawal and two missed cuts in three years). Missed the cut last week so he’ll be low-owned, but does have some upside.

Shawn Stefani | $5,800 – Stefani has finished in the top 25 in the last two years at the SHO with a fifth two years ago. He has struggled in 2016 making two of seven cuts with his best finish of T50 at the Sony Open.

Jason Gore | $5,700 – Gore is 34th in par 4 scoring if you believe in its importance this week. He finished T19 in 2014 in his only start here in the last five years.

Vaughn Taylor | $5,700 – Taylor hasn’t teed it up here since 2012, but had success when he played with four straight cuts made and second place finish in 2010. His profile doesn’t seem to work for this week, though he is 20th in par 4 scoring this year. He’s had an interesting 2016 – MC, WD, WIN, MC, MC, MC.

Jhonattan Vegas | $5,700 – Vegas is one of my guys who I can’t ignore this year. He’s fully healthy and playing better than he has in years. He actually rates fourth in my statistical rankings for the week. He hasn’t had much success at the SHO (three of four cuts made, best finish T47) and has made three of four cuts on Tour coming in. Vegas played his college golf at Texas and lives in Houston.

Andrew Loupe | $5,700 – Loupe crushes the ball off the tee and scores well on par 5s (36th in par 5 scoring this year). He is an option this week in deeper pools.

Vijay Singh | $5,600 – Singh won back to back events in 2004 and 2005.

Ben Crane | $5,600 – Crane has made the cut six years in a row and in seven of eight. He lives in Westlake, Texas so perhaps that explains his success at this course. He started 2016 off with three top 25s in four starts, but has slipped recently. However, his form hasn’t seemed to matter at the SHO.

Boo Weekley | $5,600 – Weekley is three for four in cuts made though he hasn’t played here since 2013. That 26th place standing in par 5 scoring looks interesting this week.

Angel Cabrera | $5,500 – If this was truly a mirror for Augusta, then Angel would be the man this week. However, it’s not perfect and neither is Smoking Man. He has three top 25 finishes in nine starts along with four missed cuts.

Harold Varner III | $5,500 – Varner is 18th in driving distance and tenth in par 5 scoring which is a GPP formula for this course if I’ve ever seen it.

D.A. Points | $5,400 – Past winner though I’m not clear how it happened.

Bronson Burgoon | $5,400 – Withdrew.

Mark Hubbard | $5,400 – Cut-maker (eight out of ten in 2016) with very limited upside. Ironically, he missed the cut here last year in his debut. His profile doesn’t line up well this week.

Carlos Ortiz | $5,300 – Ortiz is worth a flier if only because he finished ninth in par 5 scoring and 33rd in driving distance. However, his current form is poor and missed the cut in his debut at the SHO last year.

Dawie Van Der Walt | $5,200 – Van Der Walt’s Web.com stats from 2015 fit this course well (sixth in par 5 scoring, third in par 4 scoring and 68th in driving distance. His transition to the PGA Tour has been bumpy with a top finish of T26. His Web.com skills haven’t shone through on the Tour.

Rafael Campos | $5,200 – I don’t think we see a repeat for Campos this week.

Fito Cazaubon | $5,200 – Has been playing well on lesser Tours over the last year. Finished T3 last week in Puerto Rico.

Brian Gay | $5,100 – Withdrew.

Charlie Beljan | $5,100 – Beljan crushes it off the tee, but has no general idea after that. He is faaaaaaaaar off the radar this week.

Mike Weir | $5,000 – Lefthanded. Canadian.

J.J. Henry | $5,000 – Henry has made five of seven cuts in 2016, but does not have a finish better than T31. He’s made six of nine cuts at the Golf Club of Houston with a top finish of T19 in 2011.

Steven Bowditch | $5,000 – You know you want to try it. Come on. It’ll make you feel good.

Good luck this week! Head over to DraftKings to choose your squad for this week.

DraftKings Scoring

Roster size: 6 Golfers


Golfers on each team will accumulate points as follows:

  • Per Hole Scoring
    • Double Eagle (DBL EAG): +20 PTs
    • Eagle (EAG): +8 PTs
    • Birdie (BIR): +3 PTs
    • Par (PAR): +0.5 PTs
    • Bogey (BOG): -0.5 PTs
    • Double Bogey (DBL BOG): -1 PT
    • Worse than Double Bogey (WORSE DBL BOG): -1 PT
  • Tournament Finish Scoring
    • 1st: 30 PTs
    • 2nd: 20 PTs
    • 3rd: 18 PTs
    • 4th: 16 PTs
    • 5th: 14 PTs
    • 6th: 12 PTs
    • 7th: 10 PTs
    • 8th: 9 PTs
    • 9th: 8 PTs
    • 10th: 7 PTs
    • 11th–15th: 6 PTs
    • 16th–20th: 5 PTs
    • 21st–25th: 4 PTs
    • 26th–30th: 3 PTs
    • 31st–40th: 2 PTs
    • 41st-50th: 1 PTs
  • Streaks and Bonuses
    • Streak of 3 Birdies of Better (MAX 1 Per Round) (3+ BIR STRK): +3 PTs
    • Bogey Free Round (BOG FREE RD): +3 PTs
    • All 4 Rounds Under 70 Strokes (ALL 4 RDS UND 70): +5 PTs
    • Hole in One (HOLE IN ONE): +10 PTs

Scoring Notes: Ties for a finishing position will not reduce or average down points. For example, if 2 golfers tie for 3rd place, each will receive the 18 fantasy points for the 3rd place finish result. Playoff Holes will not count towards final scoring, with the exception of the “finishing position” scoring. For example, the golfer who wins the tournament will receive the sole award of 1st place points, but will not accrue points for their scoring result in the individual playoff holes.

Player Lock Notes: All golfers lock at the time the first golfer tees off on day 1 of an event.

Full rules are located here for DraftKings Daily Fantasy golf.

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