The last chance to punch a ticket down Magnolia Lane for those not already in the field at next week’s Masters comes at the Shell Houston Open. Currently, 93 players have been invited to Augusta, but five have not confirmed for various reasons.
The Shell has grown in stature in recent years thanks in part to its place on the schedule — some guys like to play their way into major championship form — and the way in which the tournament embraces its stop as a Masters tune-up. While the Golf Club of Houston is not quite Augusta National, the folks at the Shell do a stand-up job of trying to get their course into a similar playing condition as what the guys will see at Augusta.
JB Holmes is the defending champion, having outlasted Jordan Spieth and Johnson Wagner in a three-hole playoff.
What The Experts Are Saying
Jeff Sherman of GolfOdds.com and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has set Jordan Spieth as the betting favorite at 13/2. Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson are all 12/1, Phil Mickelson is 15/1 and Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed come in at 20/1.
Rob Bolton at PGATour.com set his Power Rankings as follows: 1. Reed, 2. Stenson, 3. Phil, 4. Louis, 5. Rickie, 6. Jordan, 7. JB, 8. DJ, 9. Schwartzel, 10. Brooks Koepka, 11. Sergio Garcia, 12. Charles Howell III, 13. Rafael Cabrera-Bell0, 14. Scott Brown, 15. Cameron Tringale
Pat Mayo at RotoExperts.com likes the chalk — Spieth, DJ, Stenson, Louis, Charl and Koepka — and a few wildcards — Charley Hoffman and Graham DeLaet.
Lastly, Steve Bamford at Golf Betting System is backing Phil, Sergio, Kevin Chappell, Jonas Blixt and Freddie Jacobson.
Horses For Courses
Here’s how guys have fared recently in this tournament, via Golf Betting System (highlighted guys are in the Masters field):
One and Done
Used: Jimmy Walker, T10 (Hyundai); Brandt Snedeker, P2 (Sony); Patrick Reed, T56 (CB Challenge), Jamie Lovemark, T31 (Farmers); Bubba Watson, T14 (Phoenix); Phil Mickelson, 2 (Pebble); Charl Schwartzel, T45 (NTO); Sergio Garcia, 2 (Honda); Justin Rose, T17 (Cadillac); Ryan Moore, 3 (Valspar); Henrik Stenson, T3 (Bay Hill), Scott Brown, T5 (Puerto Rico), Paul Casey (Match Play).