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PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Cadence Bank Houston Open (2023)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Nov 9, 2022
Scottie Scheffler

The PGA Tour will depart from Mexico and return stateside for the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, Texas. Mayakoba was dominated by Russell Henley, who won by four strokes with a final scorecard of 23-under-par. Brian Harman managed a second-place finish at 19-under-par and was my top-performing recommended player, while back-to-back champion Viktor Hovland drew a T10 (-16) finish in his quest to become the first player to three-peat at an event in over a decade. Matt Kuchar missed a T25 finish by one stroke at -13-under-par, while Billy Horschel was the only other recommended player to advance past the 4-under-par cut line. Tom Hoge and Keith Mitchell were my two recommended players unable to advance.

Memorial Park will be a challenge for a big field of competitors in Houston this weekend. 132 players will be asked to navigate a par 70 course that runs over 7,400 yards, with numerous par 3 and par 5 holes that add an extra layer of difficulty. Formerly sponsored by Vivint, the Cadence Bank Houston Open anticipates cooler temperatures and precipitation, which will soften the Bermuda greens and slow the velocity of putts. Carlos Ortiz won consecutive events at Memorial Park in 2020 and 2021, but Jason Kokrak won last season with only ten under par, which shows just how challenging it is to produce a red scorecard at this par 70 track.

Here are six of my favorite players to target when constructing DFS builds ahead of Thursday morning’s opening tee times in Houston, Texas.

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Previous Winners

  • 2022 – Jason Kokrak (-10)
  • 2021 – Carlos Ortiz (-13)
  • 2020 – Carlos Ortiz (-14)
  • 2018 – Ian Poulter (-19)
  • 2017 – Russell Henley (-20)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Driving Distance
  • Greens in Regulation Percentage
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  • Scrambling

Course Overview

Memorial Park GC was renovated back in 2019, which allowed its return to the PGA Tour circuit for the first time in decades. Tom Doak, a legendary golf course architect, was tasked with the redesigned layout, with assistance from Brooks Koepka as a PGA player consultant. The course begins with a difficult 522-yard par 4 that will test the distance and strength of drivers, while the second hole pivots to a short, 167-yard par 3 that demands accuracy. A par 5 inserts itself into the equation on the third hole, measuring nearly 600 yards.

A common theme at Memorial Park GC is the difficult tiered runoffs on the Bermuda greens, as they tend to slope and are flanked by sand bunkers and bodies of water. Precision and accuracy are just as important as strength and power. Players can utilize a variety of strategies to conquer this difficult par 70, which has some of the toughest par 5s on the Tour’s circuit. Bermuda rough and Bermuda greens allow for the standard 12 feet velocity measured by the Stimpmeter, but cold and windy conditions could soften up these surfaces, making it even more difficult to birdie or par. Converting greens in regulation is critical for success, but having a good putter will be more important this weekend. Familiarity usually helps returning players, but at Memorial Park GC, the unique layout and design make historical success a moot point.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Scottie Scheffler ($11,500)
It’s chalky, but Scottie Scheffler emerged from Mayakoba with a T3 (-18) finish to shake off his T45 debut at CJ Cup a couple of weeks ago. The 26-year-old native of Texas has had immense success at Memorial Park GC, earning a T2 (-8) finish last season and a T32 finish back in 2021. Scheffler will cost a pretty penny to insert into DraftKings lineups this weekend, but he has phenomenal irons and will be converting plenty of greens in regulation. He finished second in the FedExCup rankings for a reason last season, so plug Scheffler in with confidence despite the high salary.

Taylor Montgomery ($9,700)
27-year-old Taylor Montgomery has been on fire to start the 2023 PGA Tour season. He has competed in five events, which is quite a lot this early in the season, producing T15 finishes or better in each outing. Montgomery is the real deal in terms of his skillset. He’s ranked third in strokes gained putting, 12th in total strokes gained, and cranks the driver nearly 316 yards per swing. A ridiculous 5.1 birdie average per round is the cherry on top of one of the sport’s most impressive young players. Plug Montgomery into lineups and watch the points pile up throughout the weekend.

Matthew NeSmith ($8,900)
Another player with a lot of momentum entering the opening round in Houston on Thursday is Matthew NeSmith. The 29-year-old native of South Carolina has logged three consecutive finishes inside the top ten and is relying on a 76 percent greens in regulation conversion rate, paired with strong irons and a putter ranked 38th in strokes gained putting. NeSmith’s driver is his weakness, but after shaking a missed cut to start the season at Fortinet, you should feel good rostering NeSmith in DraftKings lineups at Memorial Park GC this weekend.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Sam Burns ($11,800)
Scottie Scheffler is the betting favorite at the Houston Open but Sam Burns is second at +1200 odds, indicating he has a bright outlook at Memorial Park GC this weekend. Burns produced a T7 finish in his last event at the CJ Cup a couple of weeks ago after a paltry T30 outing at Sanderson Farms. He has produced consecutive T7 finishes during his last two events at Memorial Park and is known for being a strong putter. Burns has a nice touch with his irons and is very good off of the tee, so he’ll capitalize on the frequent par 3s scattered throughout the course. Pay up to get Burns into lineups as an expensive foundational piece in FanDuel lineups.

Sahith Theegala ($10,600)
It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve seen Sahith Theegala after a disappointing T67 finish at the CJ Cup, but he has the requisite skillset to become an asset in DFS lineups at Memorial Park this weekend. Theegala broke onto the scene last season and has a strong putter, and a solid 4.5 birdie average per round this year. He is a bit volatile, drawing two T10 finishes, a T67 finish, and a missed cut in four events, but the upside Theegala offers is worth the risk. A T61 finish here last season has Theegala available at a discounted rate, so take advantage and fire him up on FanDuel.

Andrew Putnam ($9,700)
If you’re looking for solid production cloaked as a salary saver, look no further than Andrew Putnam. The 33-year-old American has made the cut in all six events this season, turning in two T25 finishes or higher, including a T2 finish at the ZOZO Championship in mid-October. Putnam has the 26th-ranked strokes gained putter and is ranked 38th in total strokes gained while converting over 70 percent of his greens in regulation. Previous finishes of T41 and MC at the Houston Open have Putnam available at under $10,000 on FanDuel, so take advantage and add him into lineups to give your lineups an extra boost at a discounted salary.

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Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  — to learn more.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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