Houston Open: Koepka looks to rediscover his game

The Houston stop is the penultimate event on the PGA Tour schedule in 2021 and the prime time to earn valuable FedExCup points.

David Kristiansen

Brooks Koepka will head back to Houston – and the course he had a hand in shaping – to find his game after some continued struggles saw him miss the cut in Mexico.

Koepka is joined by 13 other major champions in the Houston field including; Adam Scott, Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed and Danny Willett.

And after entering the weekend in contention at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, Carlos Ortiz heads to Houston to defend in one of the PGA Tour’s longest-running host cities.


Adam Scott golf

Course: Memorial Park Golf Course
Length: 7412 yards (Par 70)
Greens: Bermuda
Opened: 1935
Architect: John Beredemus. Tom Doak redesign in 2019

The tournament will be played at Memorial Golf Park a classic course that was redesigned by Tom Doak with some help from Brooks Koepka in 2019.

Last year saw Carlos Ortiz pick up his maiden tour win as one of only three players at double digits under par with Matsuyama and DJ being the other two.

With it not being a tune-up event for a major, the field is more what you would expect at this time of year, but we do get to see course designer Koepka, Finau, Reed, Hatton, Cam Smith and of course defending champ Ortiz fresh off his runner up performance to Hovland on home soil last week.

Danny Willett Golf

The course is a Par-70 with three par 5s where non are free birdies and with five of the par 4s measuring 490+ yards and three of the five par 3s measuring over 200 yards the mid to long iron game should be crucial this week.

Under the redesign, Doak removed most of the bunkers only leaving 19 and another two is removed before this year’s event, instead, the large Bermuda greens are protected by shaved run-off areas which usually is an advantage for the best short game players like at Augusta for example.

With only one year of data there is always the chance we overreact to trends but last year missing fairways was not a big deal as not only where Ortiz missing quite a bit more fairways than the average everyone in the top 10 combined was negative fairways hit compared to the field.

I see length off the tee, pristine iron play, and a stellar short game being the most important factors this week and I would like my picks to at least possess two of these qualities.

Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:

  • Strokes gained off the tee
  • Driving distance
  • Strokes gained approach
  • Proximity 200+ yards
  • Strokes gained around the green
  • Bermuda putting

Betting history

Brooks Koepka

2019/20 season

Wagered: +35.61 units

2020/21 season

Wagered: +170,92 units


Wagered: 13.5 units
23.68 units
10.18 units


Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed @ 41.00
2 pts EW (1/4 the odds 5 places)

So, you are telling me there is an event where hitting fairways are not that important, the green complexes are tricky, we are looking at a winning score in the low teens and we get Reed at 40s against this field?

The somewhat lack of length does not scare me off a guy who finds other ways to win as we have seen at historically bomber-heavy tracks like Augusta and Torrey Pines.

That the last time we saw him in Bermuda a couple of weeks ago he finished one shot out of a playoff is just the icing on the cake for one of the better values I have seen in some time.

Marc Leishman @ 41.00
1.25 pts EW (1/4 the odds 5 places)

As with Reed, the case for Leishman is that he does everything well except drive the ball and this should be the type of course where he can get away with that.

He comes into the tournament in good form having started the season with two top 5 finishes and a T38 at the CJ Cup.

Like Reed, he has won at Torrey and contended several times at Augusta due to a combination of class irons, a soft touch around the greens and a putter that can get nuclear, a recipe that could get it done this week and at a number that I`m more than happy with for a five-time PGA tour winner.

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