2016 Shell Houston Open Odds and Pick
The 2016 Masters will take center stage before we know it, but before any jackets get put on, some of the best PGA golfers will tune up and duke it out at this year’s Houston Open.
The 2016 Shell Houston Open tees off at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas this Thursday, running from March 31st through April 3rd. J.B. Holmes returns to defend the title he won a year ago, when he bested Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson in a dramatic playoff.
This year’s Houston Open is no guarantee to produce an ending like that, but all four golfers are among the top golfers with the best odds of making a serious run at the 2016 Shell Houston Open title. With this being the last major tourney ahead of the 2016 Masters, this also serves as the last shot anyone has at earning an invite, if they hadn’t already.
As the defending champ, Holmes comes in with solid 25/1 odds to win it all again this year, placing him firmly in a top-10 that is led by the top golfer in the world, Jordan Spieth (best odds at 6/1). Inside that top-10 are Henrik Stenson (12/1), Rickie Fowler (12/1), Dustin Johnson (14/1), Phil Mickelson (16/1), Patrick Reed (20/1), Charl Schwzrtzel (25/2), Louis Oosthuizen (25/1) and Sergio Garcia (25/1).
That’s a rather elite bunch, but this is a flooded field that leaves all kinds of possibilities open. For what it’s worth, Spieth is still chasing his second win of the year, but has been doing just fine with two top-10 finishes and five top-25 finishes in six showings.
As talented as Spieth is and as great as he was in 2015, he simply hasn’t met expectations so far in 2016. Perhaps he’s saving his best for The Masters, but in any event, his odds don’t really match his play right now.
That gives the rest of the top-10 a terrific chance to give you a solid return on your investment, with Stenson being the next best bet. Stenson has been just a little bit better than Spieth on the year, notching a win and seemingly heating up over his last five runs. During that stretch, he has one top-five finish and three top-11 showings.
We can’t forget about the rest of the guys filling out that elite top-10, but of the group, the names to keep an eye on the most are Fowler, Johnson and Mickelson.
Fowler and Mickelson are obviously worth mentioning after narrowly missing out on the Houston Open a year ago, but they, along with Dustin Johnson, are also playing exceptionally well in the early portion of 2016.
Fowler is white hot coming into this one, having placed inside the top-10 in four different tourneys, as well as inside the top-five in two of his last four runs. He’s bound to close in on first place soon enough, and this weekend could be his time. The same goes for Mickelson (three top-10 finishes) and Johnson (three, as well), so keep those guys in mind for potential first place runs.
It’s not always about the best odds when it comes to golf, as we all well know. That means we need to pay some serious mind to some sneaky sleepers, either because the odds demand it or someone still needs to play their way into The Masters.
That being said, a few guys look like fun plays, including Steve Stricker (65/1 odds), Scott Piercy (70/1) and Brendan Steele (85/1).
Stricker could be heating up just at the right time, as he enters Thursday’s tourney with two straight top-11 finishes. He could just as easily cool down, but it’s always good to stay on top of golfers that are gaining steam.
We can’t leave out Piercy, either, who is rather battle tested with nine tournament appearances on the year. He only has one top-10 finish to his name, but has fared pretty well, getting himself inside the top-50 in seven of eight tries and missing just one cut on the year.
Steele is another guy to consider, as he finished 14th at the Honda Classic and has a top-five run under his belt in 2016. He’s also appeared in 10 tournaments and placed inside the top-50 in all but two (missed cuts).
Spieth has history with this course and then almost won last year despite admitting he didn’t feel overly confident. That is one big reason why Vegas likes him. He’s also the best golfer on the planet right now.
Still, he just isn’t finishing tourneys the way he did a year ago. Because of that, I like Stenson or Fowler to take first. All three should be in the mix late, along with Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
Fowler is closing in on a big win, and I think it’s finally coming this weekend. He’s our pick to win the 2016 Shell Houston Open and head into The Masters about as hot as anybody.
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