After hopping around the globe, the past few weeks, the PGA Tour is back in the United States for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open, which has a history that dates back 75 years. Who’s gonna take the Houston Open Final Round?
Topping the leaderboard after round one at the 2021 Houston Open sits five players, all tied at 5-under. Russell Henley, Talor Gooch, Marc Leishman, Luke List, and Martin Trainer all share the lead after the play was suspended due to darkness following a rain delay in the earlier round. However, there is still a large group of golfers that could not finish their round on Thursday.
Henley and Gooch have seemed to find their stroke and have been on an absolute tear from tee to green of late. Both ranked in the top 10 in this field in strokes gained on approach over their last 20 rounds. Gooch has four top 11s in four starts this season, and he has gained strokes on approach in all three that were measured. Henley has accumulated at least 1.5 strokes per round on approach shots in three of his last four events.
Sitting right behind the leaders at 4-under sits a group of three, including Jason Dufner, Wyndham Clark, and Adam Long. Dufner seems to be in pretty good shape heading into play on Friday, even though he was not striking the ball particularly well, but his putter saved the day and kept him within one shot of the leaders.
Martin Trainer went into play on Friday tied with a group of three others players at the top of the leader board at the 2021 Houston Open. Trainer holed a pair of long birdie putts and three short ones in a bogey-free round at Memorial Park for a 5-under 65 and a one-shot lead over Kevin Tway. After two days of consistent play, Trainer finds himself increasing his odds to win the whole tournament with +900 odds, as projected by Jazzsports.ag.
The question surrounding Trainer is, can he hold on for the entire weekend for the victory? Trainer won the Puerto Rico Open in 2019 as a rookie, and since then, it has been downhill. Trainer has made only nine cuts in 70 starts on the PGA Tour since then, and one of those was the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua that had no cut.
Jason Tway, who sits right behind Trainer one stroke behind at 9-under par, has seen a similar path to his career as Trainer. Tway won the Safeway Open to start the 2018 season and has only one other top 10 over his subsequent 72 events on the PGA Tour.
Tway had a pair of eagles in his round of 64, holing a 60-foot chip on the par-5 third hole and then holing out from 107 yards in the fairway on the par-4 13th. He was tied for the lead until missing a 5-foot par putt on the 17th hole. Tway has increased his odds to win the tournament to 800+, as projected by Jazzsports.ag. My question with Tway is the same as Trainer, and as the weather gets better, can they hold off players like Scottie Scheffler, who is charging hard after his 62 on Friday.
Scheffler, who shot a 72 on Thursday and then looked like he wouldn’t factor in the tournament after his first four holes on Friday, hit a 300-yard bomb on the fifth, which seemed to be the turning point. From that point on, Scheffler was a man possessed shooting the best round in the short history of this event at the newly renovated Memorial Park Golf Course. Scheffler made birdie on four of the last five holes before the turn, then followed with a 31 on the back for a course-record 62. With his play on Friday, Scheffler jumped to the overall favorite to win the tournament at +400, as projected by Jazzsports.ag, and my pick to win come Sunday afternoon.
After an exciting round three at the Houston Open, we saw the leaderboard change once again. As our pick to win the tournament, Scottie Scheffler jumped to a one-shot lead and remained the favorite to win the tournament with +250 odds, as projected by Jazzsports.ag.
Scheffler has a 54-hole lead for the first time in his career on the PGA Tour. Scheffler played well enough to stay in contention all day, and after pitching in for 55 feet for birdie on the 14th hole, he holed a 10-foot birdie on the next hole and avoided mistakes down the closing stretch for a 1-under 69 and a one-shot lead going into the final round.
Kevin Tway was cruising right along, and he had the lead until he chipped in the water and had to scramble for bogey on the par-4 17th; he then missed a 10-foot par putt on the closing hole. He shot 73 and was among five players who were one shot behind. Tway currently sits at +1500 odds to win the whole tournament, as projected by Jazzsports.ag.
Matthew Wolff, who was in contention last week, had a 69 and got another shot at winning for the first time since he stepped away from golf two months earlier this year to get his head straight. At eight-under, Wolff was atop the leaderboard until he took double bogey on the 17th hole when his second shot came up short and in the water. Then, he took a penalty drop, hit the same club to 7 feet, and missed the bogey putt. Nevertheless, Wolff’s strong play Saturday jumped him right behind Scheffler at +500 odds to win the tournament, as projected by Jazzsports.ag.
With a group of 12 players within three shots of the lead, Scheffler certainly has his work cut out for him on Sunday. I expect an exciting finish, but ultimately, I project Scottie Scheffler to come away with the victory.
|Golfer||Houston Open Final Round Odds|
|FIELD (ANY OTHER)||+550|
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