DraftKings PGA Recommended Plays: Houston Open
The Masters Tournament is only one week away, so the players head to Houston this week for an Augusta tune-up. The Golf Club of Houston is a 7,441 yard, Par-72, and at first glance, you may notice some pretty significant similarities to the course that will be played only a week later. This is by no means a coincidence, as the treacherous greens in Texas allow the players to get up to speed before they battle for the green jacket. Last week’s event in Austin, one that crowned Bubba Watson, was in match-play format, very different from the traditional stroke-play arrangement. Although I don’t recommend throwing out a past event as useful data, don’t look into it too much if a player struggled last week. Some Tour members just don’t excel in certain formats, and instead of dismissing a player because of last week’s results, take a look at their stroke-play finishes before that in order to find some real value. A couple of my recommendations this week are perfect examples of that, so let’s get into the field for Houston.
Luke List ($9,600)
Some of you reading this may be wondering how a player you’ve never heard of before can be a top-tier recommendation. List is just one of those guys that has been around the Tour for years but has never pulled out a victory. I will admit, before his playoff loss to Justin Thomas four weeks ago at the Honda Classic, I had never heard his name before, but since then, he’s made sure no one will forget it. Some may call his P-2 finish a flash in the pan, but upon further examination both before and after that event, his form has been solid. Leading up to PGA National, List had three consecutive top-26 finishes, including a 12th place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Since the Honda, he’s finished 16th at the Valspar and 7th at Bay Hill. He didn’t make it out of group play last week, but that’s where the value can be found, as some players just aren’t built for match play. He really has no business being priced lower than Rickie Fowler ($11,500) and Jordan Spieth ($11,100) on the basis of current form, so I’d focus on him if you’re looking to spend up this week. Oh, and as a side note, he was 11-under on the weekend last year in Houston on the way to a T-3 finish.
Daniel Berger ($9,400)
If you’re looking for consistency, Berger is your guy. Few players have been as solid and safe as he’s been this season in terms of making cuts and turning in above-average finishes. Now, he hasn’t really been in contention to win too often, but he would be the perfect player to pair with someone a little riskier who may present higher first-place upside. Aside from last week’s event in Austin, Berger has finished 14th or better in five of his last seven events. The most recent of those was a 14th place finish in Mexico, his last stroke-play event. In addition to that, he really takes a liking to the Golf Club of Houston, this week’s stop. He’s only played the course three times, and each year he’s gotten a little better. In 2015, he finished T-25 in his debut, before finishing T-5 two years ago. Last year he finished solo fifth, and he continued a trend of improving his score-to-par in each consecutive edition. Like I mentioned with List, I would much rather play Berger right now than some of the more household names that are around the same price.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello ($9, 300)
This week’s slate is a little unusual because I definitely advocate spending up, but not for the guys you normally would be paying high prices for. Another example of someone who may provide value or limited ownership because of last week, Rafa deserves a long look. The Spaniard only finished 36th last week in Austin, but he may be another example of a player who is more suited for stroke-play events. If his T-3 finish in Mexico, his last stroke-play event, is any indication, I would say that assumption is correct. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that in his six PGA Tour events prior to Mexico, his worst finish was 29th. Yes, you read that correctly, worst. Two years ago in Houston, Cabrera-Bello fired a Sunday 65 to sneak into a solo fourth place finish, proving that he is comfortable on this course, and capable of going low. I would be shocked if he didn’t have a high finish this week, not only because of his current form but his overall consistency in general.
Charles Howell III ($8,900)
Now before you accuse me of only recommending those who played poorly last week, let me introduce you to last week’s T-9 finisher, who was a one-up loss away from the quarterfinals. Prior to that, Howell finished T-14 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, so his current form is good. Although Howell can be inconsistent at times, one of his trademarks is excelling on certain courses. This means when he plays in Hawaii or Texas, you should probably use him. Howell is known for his sparkling track record at the Sony Open in Hawaii, but his results in Houston aren’t far behind, including top-7s in two of the last three years. He’s a streaky player, but streaky players aren’t unplayable in DFS if they are in the midst of a good run. Howell checks all the boxes this week to be well worth his price tag.
Sleeper for Cheaper
Sean O’Hair ($7,200)
With a golfer this cheap, you’re really just looking for someone who has a little bit of momentum. The reason I’m into O’Hair this week is that he has more than a little bit. Three events ago, O’Hair missed the cut at the Honda Classic and really seemed destined for a lost season. Up until that point, his best finish was 50th at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and he had two other missed cuts prior to that. During the week of the Mexico Championship (one in which he didn’t qualify for due to world ranking) he must have figured something out because he’s looked like a new player since. In his last two events, he’s finished T-12 at the Valspar Championship, and T-7 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his two best finishes of the year by far. He also used three rounds in the 60s to finish T-10 in Houston only two years ago, which definitely should still be fresh in his memory. At a price this low, why not go with someone who is clearly playing their best golf of the year? For a tag in the low $7,000s, I feel oddly comfortable recommending him.