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2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open PGA DFS Preview: Jason Day a Potential Breakthrough Candidate

Geoff Ulrich



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This year will mark the second-to-last event of the fall swing and the annual trip to Houston for the PGA Tour at the Cadence Bank Houston Open. While the event has gone through a sponsorship change this year, it has also found its permanent home at Trinity Forest Golf Course, which has hosted this event for the last two seasons. The venue isn’t traditional by any standards, although it does play as a longer Par 70 at 7,412 yards and has undergone massive renovations in order to reach that number. The field this week has some resemblance to last week. It’s still a fall field event so only eight of the top 50 players in the OWGR are playing. However, the select elite group does contain some star power as Texas native Scottie Scheffler is playing for the second week in a row. Tony Finau and last week’s winner Russell Henley are also in action. This week has a 132-man field with the regular Friday cut line of top 65 and ties.

Don’t forget to check out the Stokastic PGA DFS projections, which has both scoring data and PGA DFS ownership projections. Stokastic PGA DFS projections come out on Monday and will be updated throughout the week. This week doesn’t have a ton of course history, which makes the Stokastic projections even more vital as a tool to lean in when making lineups.

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PGA DFS Picks: 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open

Last week saw Henley become a four-time winner on the PGA Tour. It’s hard to quantify exactly how he won since there are no strokes gained stats for the Mexico stops, but judging by the highlights he had a pretty stellar week with both his irons and putter. Henley ranked eighth in putts per green in regulation and was also second in driving accuracy which again highlights just how a course like El Camaleon caters to those who play with more patience off the tee. Henley moves to 33rd in the OWGR and will now also get a spot in the TOC in Hawaii in early January and the Masters.

While the last two weeks have given softer resort-style golf, this week returns to a larger and more expansive golf course. Trinity Forest was designed with the aid of former PGA Tour golfer Brooks Koepka, who was a big hitter back before he decided that massive paychecks were more important than PGA wins. It’s given us winning scores of 10-under and 13-under par thus far, so bogey avoidance type of golf and strong tee-to-green games should flourish this week.

Here’s a list of the notable players in the field for the Houston Open field this week:

  1. Scottie Scheffler: Finished in a share of second place at this event last season
  2. Tony Finau: Missed the cut in Mexico last week, making just his second fall start
  3. Russell Henley: Leads field in strokes gained on approach, finished seventh at this event last season
  4. Jason Day: Finished eighth, 11th and 21st in his last three fall starts; went off in the final group at this venue in 2020
  5. Aaron Wise: Finished 15th in Mexico, 26th and 11th in two career starts at Trinity Forest
  6. Hideki Matsuyama: Making his fourth fall start, finished solo second at this event in 2020

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Scheffler closed with a 62 last week in Mexico to finish in third place. He was second at this event last season and would obviously love to grab a win in his home state, especially after losing in a playoff at the Colonial (also in Texas) over the summer. Aaron Wise and Jason Day are also coming off solid weekends, both with good experience playing at this week’s venue. Day continues his rise back in relevance and would need to keep piling up OWGR points to have a shot at getting back in the top 50 before Augusta. Hideki Matsuyama will also be coming back, who hasn’t played since the CJ Cup where he finished 34th. He finished second at this event in 2021 and the tougher setup should appeal to his style of play.

Houston Open Past Winners

2021: Jason Kokrak (50-1)

  • Lead-in: 54/MC/11/15/MC (had only played in two fall series events and didn’t post a top 40 in either)

2020: Carlos Ortiz (130-1)

  • Lead-in: 46/MC/MC/48/35 (had played five fall series events but hadn’t posted a top 30 finish in any of those starts)

We’ve had two semi-random winners at this venue over its first two seasons. Jason Kokrak rode an extremely hot putter last year around this time to his third PGA Tour win in 13 months. He had barely played over the fall but his profile of solid length off the tee combined with a very confident putter put him in a good spot to play well at this setup.

Carlos Ortiz has had poor form coming in but had played quite a bit more than Kokrak did. He didn’t dominate off the tee to the extent the American did but made up for that by gaining 5.7 strokes around the greens alone. Like Kokrak, Ortiz also took a massive step up with the putter, which was a big part of why both men were able to take home the win on their respective weeks.

Want to see who is trending as a strong play early? Check out Stokastic’s PGA DFS projections, which will be updated on Monday and throughout the week.

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Houston Open Course Preview

Trinity Forest Golf Course — Houston, Texas

Greens: Bermuda

Designer: Tom Foak (with Brooks Koepka)

Similar Courses: Riviera, Copperhead

This will be the third year in a row that Trinity Forest will be hosting the event. The venue has played tough by PGA standards, yielding just 10-under and 13-under par winning scores the last two seasons. Trinity doesn’t offer a ton of resistance off the tee as there are just 19 bunkers on the entire course, and water only comes into play on four holes as well.

Ultimately, Trinity Park is a flat parkland venue that is tree-lined in areas but allows players to smash the driver on plenty of holes. Driving distance from the field the last two years is above the tour norm, but driving accuracy and greens in regulation are also way down. Players who miss will have trouble hitting the green from the actual PGA-style rough in play this week and the greens at Trinity have also tended to play firm and fast. Ortiz gained 5.7 strokes around the green here in 2020. In fact, each of the top five players from that season gained 1.5 strokes around the green or more for the week.

Ultimately, expect the elite tee-to-green games to flourish at this expansive and modern venue. However, with this being the fall and there only being a small number of truly elite players in the mix, a player riding a hot putter and around the green game could do enough again to steal a win. Look for solid drivers of the ball who possess some legit upside as putters or scramblers to shine through at this one.

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Past Winners and Stats

2021: Jason Kokrak (23 under par)

Stats: SG: OTT 2.2 / SG: App 6.4 / SG: TTG 4.7 / PUT: 6.1 /ATG: -3.9

2021: Carlos Ortiz (15 under par)

Stats: SG: OTT 0.5 / SG: App 3.5 / SG: TTG 9.5 / PUT: 6.1 /ATG: 5.7

Highly variable stats have come from the past two winners. Kokrak really relied on his irons and putter to grab the win at this venue last year, while Ortiz had a career week on and around the greens to grab his win. Conditions were a little easier last season which likely helped Kokrak. Long-term, more elite tee-to-green games and around-the-green games should shine through at this venue. Despite the venue being longer in nature, it hasn’t stopped somewhat shorter hitters from competing. While power is a benefit here, players who are hyper-accurate and still gaining strokes off the tee can be targeted this week as well.

Houston Open Recent Form Watch

Strokes Gained on Approach (Last 50 Rounds)

  • Russell Henley
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Mark Hubbard
  • Matthew NeSmith

Strokes Gained Tee to Green (Last 50 Rounds)

  • Tony Finau
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Brendan Steele
  • Russell Henley
  • Hideki Matsuyama

Top Five Strokes Gained Total (Last Six Events)

  • Taylor Montgomery
  • Andrew Putnam
  • Justin Lower
  • Matthew NeSmith
  • Mackenzie Hughes

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Houston Open Weather Forecast

Thursday a.m.: 68-75 F, winds 5-8 mph/0% chance of precipitation

Thursday p.m.: 75-78 F, winds 8 mph/0% chance of precipitation

Friday a.m.: 68-73 F, winds 6-10 mph/chance of precipitation 0%

Friday p.m.: 73-75 F, winds 10-11 mph/chance of precipitation 10%

The weather this week is a true tale of two cities. The highs on Thursday and Friday are about 15-20 degrees warmer than what is in store for the players on the weekend. Saturday has rain in the forecast and winds that will push into the 15 mph range. The temperature is what is interesting though, as highs of only 58 degrees are expected on Saturday. That is going to make this already long golf course play even longer and potentially turn this into a true west coast style suffer-fest. Sunday has clearer skies, but temperatures are again only slated to hit 58 degrees and winds in the 10 mph range are expected. Wave stacking this week may not be necessary, but the weekend weather shift will mean strong tee-to-green play and good off-the-tee players should get a boost. Expect the course to play nothing like the soft conditions we’ve seen over the last two weeks.

Houston Open Early Betting Leans

Jason Day | BetMGM Outright

Day returned to action last week after a week of rest and promptly finished 21st in his first visit to Mayakoba in over a decade. What was impressive about Day’s finish last week was the fact that he started off terribly, shooting a two-over 73 in round one. In years past, this likely would have precipitated a withdrawal or early ejection from the Aussie, but he scrapped by the cutline on Friday and managed a good weekend, ultimately shooting 14 under par in his last three rounds.

After years of struggle, Day’s persistence is impressive on its own. However, he’s also been very solid off the tee of late and was again 15th in driving accuracy in Mexico. That’s going to help immensely this week on a tough golf course. He has good course history at Trinity Forest, as he landed a seventh-place finish there in 2020 and even went off in the final group that year on Sunday. Day’s trending well and at 30-1 or better still represents solid outright value given his pedigree and the overall weakness at the top of this field.

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