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Risk and Reward - Shell Houston Open

Changing careers is hard work. If you've never done it, its something akin to assembling a model airplane with a blindfold - all the pieces are there, but putting them together just seems to come out wrong. Don't worry, I haven't quit my day job for the sweet, sunny shores of full-time fantasy golf writing (though one can dream). That fortunate for you folks, since the Surgeon General just issued a statement warning that reading too many of my articles could be harmful to your brain cells. Of course, that could be the beer or wine or those times your parents dropped you on your head. What does the Surgeon General know anyway, its not like he's been a doctor longer than I've been alive.

On any note, well, two specific ones. Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker and John Peterson are scratches this week. Both still appear on some of the fantasy sites out there so take this as fair warning that they will not be playing. Outside of that, there is potential for rain this week with winds of 12 to 15mph expected. Unlike last week, winds are forecast lower in the mornings and faster in the afternoons. While 40mph gusts like those at the Valero last week aren't expected, it should still be a consideration.

My Power Rankings draw on statistics only, while Risk and Reward draws more on gut feel and intuition about players who missed my Top 15. In this column, you'll find "Lay-Up", "Going For It", and "Hazard". Look for more subjective analysis here, as opposed to the Power Rankings, where I rely strictly on data. Lay-Up may contain players who, barring a Great Flood, will bank you some points. Going For It is where I'll have players that may have missed the Power Rankings or who I feel present an excellent opportunity to pick up a win, but carry some considerable risk. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided.


Brendan Steele - TA: 43.88, CHG: (+3.6) - I'm going to ignore course history for this one, because I believe he's gearing up for something big this season. He's 11-for-11 thus far with only two of those finishes being outside the Top 35. He's quietly one of the longest driver on tour and he ranks 27th in Total Driving and 26th in Ball Striking. If this man of steel can quell his kryptonite putter on the greens and putt even marginally better than his middle-of-the-pack ranking, he'll post some good scores this week.

Shawn Stefani - TA: 45.13, CHG: (+0.8) - As always, this Texan is a solid bet. He occasionally lets DFS players down, but those are exceptions, not rules. He's found some form again, posting three consecutive finishes of 26th or better heading into this week. Stefani kicked off his long-running success with a T5 at last year's SHO and he's playing significantly better than then. I'd list his relevant stats here, but the list would be entirely too long. While he doesn't completely lead any category, he's above-average in most of them.

K.J. Choi - TA: 48.75, CHG: (+7.6) - All aboard the Choi Choi train! When a tournament hinges on short game ability, Choi will be a factor at some point. He's got two consecutive 15th place finishes, though its been a while since he place to a missed cut in 2009 and two Top 20 finishes prior, so he sets up well for the course. He's always been an excellent putter, so the slick greens shouldn't be a problem.


Hunter Mahan - TA: 44.75, CHG: (-8) - If I could phone in my job as much as Mahan seems to be, I'd love to do it while making 5-digit paychecks. He's still yet to miss a cut this year, but he hasn't recorded anything better than a 17th place finish since a T3 to start the year at the Open. His recent history here is equally as mixed, with a missed cut, a win, and a 31st in hist last three tries here. I'm hoping Hunter Mahan the winner starts showing up again.

Jason Kokrak - TA: 46.75, CHG: (+17.8) - This guy was on a lot of radars last year as a potential first-time winner and he's demonstrating why right now. Since a dip in performance from the end of January through the beginning of March, Kokrak has hit his stride, posting three consecutive finishes of 11th or better. The caveat? His history here is a single 9th place finish sandwiched between two missed cuts. His stats make that a little easier to swallow since he ranks inside the Top 100 in just about every meaningful category.

Pat Perez - TA: 47.25, CHG: (+1.2) - Played true to form last week at the Valero, posted a T20 almost directly in line with his course history. That historical mindset lands him here, with a T27 in 2013 and a T12 in 2012. With another Top 25 and a Top 5 on the season, Perez could be a sneaky good pick this week.


Brian Davis - TA: 53.63, CHG: (+10) - He's pretty tempting this week given his history here. Davis has posted 6th and 4th place finishes in 2012 and 2013 respectively but missed the cut here last year. Despite the flash of competence with a T10 at the Valspar, Davis has had little to write home about and looks no closer to picking up his first PGA Tour win.

Kevin Streelman - TA: 79.63, CHG: (-5.2) - You've got to admire his tenacity since his only made cut here is a T14 back in 2008 and he's missed the cut in every attempt since. Streelman hasn't finished better than 30th since a 22nd place finish in the no-cut Hyundai Tournament of Champions, so I wouldn't count on him to carry your lineup to victory.

My Picks - 97th of 816 - Experts League - 6576 points
  • Lee Westwood
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Cameron Tringale
Yahoo! - 2nd of 50 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 89th Percentile, 6648th overall
  • Bill Haas (S)
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Matt Kuchar (S)
  • Lee Westwood (S)
  • Cameron Tringale
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Louis Oosthuizen (S)
  • Keegan Bradley
Golf Channel - 12th of 100 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 3817th overall 
Shell Houston Open
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Lee Westwood
  • Cameron Tringale
  • Jeff Overton
ANA Inspiration - LPGA
  • Lydia Ko
  • Ha Na Jang
  • Il Hee Lee
  • Moriya Jutanugarn
Thanks for Reading! 

Kyle Donovan