Sam Burns will aim to take his third PGA Tour title of 2021 this weekend as he heads into the Houston Open as the betting favorite.
DraftKings Sportsbook lists Burns as the +1200 top pick to win at Memorial Park Golf Course.
Organizers tout stadium setup at Memorial Park
The Houston Open features one of the more electric atmospheres on the PGA Tour’s fall schedule. The 15th hole is reminiscent of the famous stadium set up on the 16th hole at TPC Sawgrass. And with fans back at the course this year, the result should be a loud, fun event for fans and players alike.
“No. 15 is an unbelievable experience, real exciting,” Giles Kibbe, president of the Astros Golf Foundation, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s going to be fun and loud watching the players hit to a difficult par 3. We’re trying to create a very exciting atmosphere there.”
One player who won’t play this weekend is defending champion Carlos Ortiz. While Ortiz would have been among the favorites at the Houston Open, he’s dealing with a lingering shoulder issue.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been battling a left shoulder injury since Japan and after meeting with my doctors this morning, it was recommended that I take the rest of the season off to recover,” Ortiz told reporters. “This is incredibly disappointing to me as I was looking forward to defending my first PGA Tour title in Texas, my second home.”
Houston Open welcomes strong fall field
While the Houston Open won’t boast one of the strongest fields of the season, there are several top-25 players teeing off on Thursday. Brooks Koepka (+2500) may be the biggest name, but Scottie Scheffler (+1600), Cameron Smith (+1800), Sung-Jae Im (+2000), and Tony Finau (+2500) are all among the top contenders. Also among the favorites is Talor Gooch (+2200), who finished just four shots back of Ortiz back last year.
Matthew Wolff also comes in as a +2500 pick after three strong starts to begin the 2021-22 PGA Tour season.
“I think at the end of last [season], or the majority of this spring, I really didn’t play too well, and it was definitely a struggle for me, but I think I’ve learned a lot from that,” Wolff told Golfweek. “I wouldn’t say I’m happy that I went through it, but I think at the end of the day, I’m glad and it’s made me a better player.”
Memorial Park should cater to players with strong short games. While there are few bunkers on the course, tough run-off areas near the greens should frequently lead to difficult chips. Tee length could play a major factor at the Houston Open as well, as the 7,432-yard course features lengthy par-4 holes, but provides room for error on drives.
“I have a lot more room to hit driver and use [my] length as an advantage,” Wolff said. “I feel really excited to play a golf course that sets up well for me and should be fun.”