Fantasy PGA Preview: The Shell Houston Open

With the Masters just over a week away this is the last event before the first major of the year and with a win is the very last chance of punching a ticket to Augusta. The Masters is more open as even with the announcement of no Tiger Woods due to back surgery.

The Valero Texas Open recap

I will say this was a very strange tournament. On one hand I love the fact that a no name player won it giving us another option for The Masters (fantasy greed). On the other hand you want to gauge how golfers do going into the Masters. One four of the top ten for this event had punched tickets to The Masters and with the win Steven Bowditch became the 5th.

Bowditch winning was a great story, he has battle through so many demons in his life where he even attempted suicide. He showed remarkable poise to break through for his first PGA win of his career. My favourite part was when one of his playing partners Andrew Loupe was going through his painfully slow routine, Bowditch had already tap in for Par so he decided to lay down on the grass bank and catch some sun. Bowditch becomes the thrid Australian golfer to win this year. In fact 3rd Australian golfer in the last 7 events. If Adam Scott didn’t choke at the Arnold Palmer we could be talking about a third straight Aussie win in a row. Go you good thing!!!!

The Shell Houston Open

We are on the second event of the Texas 2 Step. As I said before we have the Masters field set but a win here for a player that hasn’t already gained entry to Augusta. The field is already a solid one considering it is right before The Masters. Player already in the Masters will use this as a tune up for the big event next week. 22 of the top 50 players in the world are in this field. We have plenty of options this week.

They will be playing at Redstone G.C. in Humble, Texas. It will run 7,441 yards long and play to a Par 72. Water comes into play on 10 holes and there are 50 bunkers defending the course. The weather will be interesting. Don’t be surprised if we see Thursday delayed due to severe thunderstorms. Also there is a scattered thunderstorm warning for Sunday. This makes me worry for those playing in The Masters. There is no way players will trade in a delayed finish in the Shell tournament for less preparation for the Masters. Meaning if we have to go to Monday to finish this tournament you might see the top players WD. Though I see it as unlikely you never know what can play out when mother nature is involved.


Tier 1

Keegan Bradley usa1 9,900
I mentioned Keegan for the Palmer and I think there is no need to go away from him now. He came in 2nd behind Matt Every. In 2013 Keegan placed 3rd at the Arnold Palmer, then followed that up with a 10th at the Shell. In fact since 2012 Keegan has a nice little history of backing top 5 finishes up with some very decent placings the following event. He has back to back top 10 finishes at the Shell and owns the 4th best career average finishing place at the Shell within this years field.
Matt Kuchar $9,800
If tou were watching the PGA broadcast of the Valero you would have heard how Kuchar has been a top 10 machine this season, and throughout his career for that matter. He has already earned 5 top 10 finishes for this wrap around season. Not bad considering we haven’t even had the first major yet. After missing the cut in his first 4 trips to the Shell Kuchar has place in the top 10 his last 2 trips here. Coming off a top 5 finish last week I think Kuchar can get his 6th top 10 this season in Houston.
Graham DeLaet $9,100
As far as I know there isn’t any Canadian national hockey going on so DeLeat should be focused on golf this week. He was almost a must play earlier in the season but then cooled off a little. Ice Hockey will do that to you. DeLaet iscoming off an 8th place in Valspar event in Tampa. Going next level on DeLaet, since the start of last season (his breakout year) DeLaet has not missed a cut after securing a top 10 finish the event prior (11 for 11). In those 11 events 64% of them have been top 25’s, 45% have been top 10’s and 27% have been top 5 finishes.

Tier 2

Charl Schwartzel $8,800
First of all congrats to Charl for becoming a dad. He has been off since the Cadillac, an event he finished 9th. Charl around this time of year has been money. Sure he did burn people during the Honda Classic but that is now a distant memory. Charl has the ability to win every tournament he enters. For his price he is a solid option. His best finish here has been a 3rd. He has racked up 3 top 25 finishes in his last 4 PGA events.
Lee Westwood $8,300
At the start of 2013 Westwood was having a solid season but nothing spectacular. Then from the Shell onwards caught fire placing in the top 10 for 5 straight events. In terms of averaging finishing position for the Shell, Westwood owns the 5th best within this field. If he can repeat last year he is a steal at this price.
Ian Poulter $8,100
The only time Poulter played this event was in 2006 where he placed 21st. Of course that has no really relevance in 2014. I think Poulter is trying to get his game firing before the Masters. He placed 20th at the Arnold Palmer two weeks ago. Just glancing through his last 50 events he has only missed 1 cut after a top 25 finish and has placed pretty well in general after a top 25 finish.

Tier 3

Brian Davis $7,600
Last week I mentioned Davis is in his playing good stretch. Why not ride that a little. Now I’m not trying to make this article an all English affair but I am tempted to create a mostly English team this week. Now Davis didn’t blow your sock off last week with 46th but his last two trips to the Shell Houston have been top 10 finishes.
Matteo Manassero $7,600
Still a little cheap on Draftkings. I would have though he would be more spending due to his top 10 finish at the Valspar. Through away the chaos at Doral and Matteo has notched a 12th and 8th in two of his last 3 starts. Might be a very sneaky play this week.

Super Sleeper

Jonathan Byrd $6,600
This is very much a play at your own risk. He has only made the cut here twice in 5 attempts and has missed the cut the last two trips. Though last season Shell was the first event back from wrist surgery. Byrd is 6 of 8 cuts made this season and could be a nice surprise for any that decide to take a chance on him.

So there you have it guys, my picks for the Shell Houston Open

Good luck



About the Author

  • Gibb Pollard (gibbathy)

  • Gibb Pollard has been a member of RotoGrinders since 2012. He is an example of the power of the RotoGrinders blog section, taking a little weekly PGA blog in 2012 and turning it into a two-time FSWA nominated column. In 2014 he took down the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year award. Originally hailing from Australia, he is a regular on our PGA GrindersLive shows, giving our cast of hosts some international flavor.


  • DubDeuces85

    Do you think Dustin Johnson is worth paying up for tomorrow ?

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Analyst

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    Love the Manassero pick! Nice work Gibb!

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