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Texas Children's Houston Open: Prediction, tips and odds

With just two weeks to go until the US Masters, the PGA TOUR heads to Texas for the Texas Children's Houston Open, and Mike Glasscott has three players to follow.

Texas Children’s Houston Open Tips

To Win – Sahith Theegala (18/1)
Top 10 – Will Zalatoris (21/10)
Top 20 – Dylan Wu (19/4)

Memorial Park Golf Course guide

The eyes of Texas and the PGA TOUR are on the municipal Memorial Park Golf Course. Making the first of four stops in the Lone Star state, the Texas Children’s Houston Open will host for the fourth time since 2020.

Joining Torrey Pines Golf Club as the only other municipal tracks used on TOUR, the 2019 Tom Doak redesign plays to Par-70 and has plenty of meat on the bone. Everything is bigger in Texas, and at 7,435 yards tipped out, Memorial Park qualifies.

The yardage from the tips will be different for the third time in four events. The common denominator is all four events played over 7,400 yards.

Sporting five Par-3 holes and three Par-5 holes, the Par-70 also provides three Par-4 holes 490 yards or more. The trio of Par-5 holes was the most difficult on TOUR for the 2020-21 season and ranked T2 for the 2021-2022 year.

Adding four bunkers and expanding and shifting the tee box 23 yards on Hole No. 17 are the cosmetic changes for 2024.

Water penalty areas are in play on only four holes, a welcome respite from wet and sandy Florida.

The most significant alteration for 2024 is moving the event from November to March. The firm and fast Bermuda gives way to Ryegrass overseed on the fairways and rough. Mowing the rough barely over an inch, down from 2.25 inches in 2022, provides more opportunities to attack hole locations from off the fairway.

The Poa Trivialis greens, checking in as some of the largest on TOUR at 7,000 square feet on average, will be on display for the first time. Missing the big targets will come with closely mown areas that repel mishit shots.

With the rough not as penal and the course playing softer than the fall editions big hitters and ball-strikers should thrive. Ranking in the top 11 in the most difficult tracks in the three previous editions, the average winning score is 13-under-par.

Tony Finau owns the tournament scoring record of 16-under, set in November of 2022. Posting 62 in Round, he joined Scottie Scheffler as the co-course record holder.

Texas Children’s Houston Open preview

Hosting for the fourth time, TCHO returns to its traditional late March/early April spot on the calendar.

Highlighted by World No. 1, the field of 144 players includes 10 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Finau, who led or shared the lead after 18, 36, and 54 holes is the only previous winner at Memorial Park in the field.

The defending champion ran his total to 19 under before coming home in 38 (+3).

The field will be cut to the top 65 and ties after two rounds.

On the line is a purse of $8.4 million, with the winner taking home $1.512 million, collecting 500 FedExCup points, and an invitation to the Masters in two weeks.

PGA TOUR

Top of the Board  

Scottie Scheffler (11/4): Trying to become the first player to defend the title at THE PLAYERS Championship, the Dallas resident is no stranger to making recent history. No player has won three straight entered events since Dustin Johnson in early 2017, but Scheffler has course history to rely upon here as well. Finishing T9 in 2022 came after holding the 54-hole lead in the 2021 tournament and finishing tied for second. Ball-striking is a major factor this week, and nobody is doing it better on TOUR than the only multiple winner of 2024. Fade him at your own discretion.

Wyndham Clark (12/1) has been the bridesmaid to Scheffler in his previous two victories. Already a winner this season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the 2023 U.S. Open champion lipped out a putt at THE PLAYERS Championship to force extra holes with the eventual champion. Cashing T16 on his last visit, he will not be flying blind this week.

Sahith Theegala (18/1) lives in the north suburb of Spring, Texas, and already has four top-10 paydays to his name in 2024, including his last two starts at Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass. Breaking through winning the Fortinet Championship last September, the former Pepperdine man has not slowed down. This time last year, he was gearing up for his first appearance at the Masters, where he finished ninth on debut. With the rough down and trouble off the tee minimal, I would expect a big week from him.

Will Zalatoris (20/1) grew up in Dallas, so a bit of breeze will hardly bother his tee-to-green prowess. Making his tournament debut, he won’t have to navigate a point of reference from the previous fall editions. I know, I know, I tipped him at THE PLAYERS, and he easily missed the weekend. Taking on a new event to tune up for Augusta suggests he’s happy with where his game is, regardless of the result at TPC Sawgrass. Big, breezy, deep tracks (Torrey Pines, Southern Hills, Augusta National) rarely bothered him.

With three trophies from the state of Texas already on his mantle, Jason Day (22/1) returns to Memorial Park for the fourth time in search of another piece of hardware. Another who handles big tracks well (two-time winner at Torrey Pines), the Australian’s power and short game should line up nicely again this year. Never missing the cut in his first four visits, he’s posted eight of 12 rounds in the red.

Reigning champion Tony Finau (25/1) has only hit the top 10 once this season, and it was at one of his favorite stops, Torrey Pines GC. Missing the cut last week at Valspar after T45 at THE PLAYERS suggests he’s looking for a spark before the first major of the season in two weeks. The big hitter made over 415 feet of putts to win by four shots in 2022. Repeating that number would be a feat. I’ll pass.

Players to consider for Top 10, Top 20, or Top 40 action:

Keith Mitchell (35/1) provides a quandary this week. Are we getting the back nine 31 on Saturday at Valspar or the 77 from the final group on Sunday? A superb driver of the golf ball, his short game will need a quick fix to contend again this week.

Mackenzie Hughes (50/1) won’t mind another week on big greens where his putter can get hot and stay hot. Like many this week, having big targets off the tee boxes and into the greens should grab his attention. Hitting the podium last week, he will remember this time last year when he was in the final eight of the WGC-Match Play up the street in Austin.

Tom Hoge (50/1) has been cruising along, under the radar for most of 2024. Outstanding with his iron play, he will have plenty of opportunities to pay them off on these big greens. Posting T28 or better in five straight before T54 at THE PLAYERS, five of his last eight resulted in T17 or better.

Jake Knapp (55/1) won at Vidanta Vallarta on Paspalum for his first TOUR victory. The Greg Norman layout didn’t have penal rough and featured huge greens. Oh, and he was on the podium at Torrey Pines. Dots connected.

Andrew Novak (100/1) continues to stripe it on approach, and that will travel again this week. After three straight top-10 paydays halted at THE PLAYERS, he ranked in the top 10 in SG: Approach last week and added T17 at Valspar to his impressive start to the season.

Playing college golf in the area at Texas A&M, Cameron Champ (110/1) should be comfortable in this part of the world. Bundle him with another Aggie, Chandler Phillips (140/1), who picked up his career-best payday of T3 last week at Valspar playing with Champ, and off to the window you go.

Robert MacIntyre (110/1) grabbed T6 at Vidanta Vallarta. Let’s see if the theory plays again this week. Only missing the cut once (THE PLAYERS) in his last five, he’s heating up with the weather.

Dylan Wu (175/1) has picked off T26, T19, and T24 in three of his last four. The best finish of the bunch was at THE PLAYERS Championship.

All odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

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