03/30/2015

The acronym for the week is SHO–Shell Houston Open. Poor SHO. With the Masters coming in some 8,621 minutes (shall I add the seconds?), the Shell Houston Open is simply a precursor, a tune-up of sorts. But hey, there could be worse things as an event than being “the Augusta National practice round,” so let us not feel too bad for the folks in Houston. They’ve drawn a great field.

Blow up hole

Last year was the site of the Matt Jones snakebite on Matt Kuchar through one of the “Shots of the Year.” It was absolutely incredible in Houston.

My “Last Week’s Picks

Valero Texas Open

Brendan Steele: 8th

Jordan Spieth: 2nd

Shawn Stefani: 26th

Daniel Berger: MC (YUK!)

It was a great week, aside from my winner Daniel Berger. I even selected Jimmy Walker on the side for my fantasy roster and collected a win! Let’s keep the momentum rolling.

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This Week’s Picks

Two From the Fairway

Jimmy Walker Matt Kuchar (*Edit made 03/31/2015)

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Jimmy withdrew from the event on Tuesday, citing an illness. This selection is null and void.  Similar to horse racing, take the hot hand. I don’t spend much time at the tracks, but if I did, I imagine the notion of taking the hot horse is a common betting strategy. And that’s where I’m placing some of my money this week.

Jimmy Walker is still in Texas, he’s coming off a win last week and had a T24 in 2014, a T50 (despite a 3rd round 78) in 2013 and an opening round 63 in 2011.

The FedEx Cup leader will combine it all and factor in during the SHO.

Our new pick is Matt Kuchar. Let’s get a picture of Kuch for the viewers:

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Kuchar had this event last year in his gunnysack. He then ker-plooshed an approach shot late and was beat by the Matt Jones “Chip of the Year” in a playoff.

Near misses earlier this year at both the Sony and the Humana evolved into a stretch of sub-standard performances (at least when talking about Kuchar), where he didn’t finish inside the top-20. But last week at the Valero, a final round 69 put him inside the top-15 and I think Kuchar will ride that momentum. He’s pretty much a lock every week for a decent performance, he’ll string together rounds of 69, 72, 66, 68 and find himself near the top of the leaderboard yet again at the GC at Houston.

I’ve edited my roster to add Kuchar–will you?


Lee Westwood

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Well, no secret the dude’s a stud. He’s a ball-striking force, similar in stature and production as an ‘Iron Byron machine.’ And Lee’s a guy to look at this week.

He’s been a top-25 stalwart for the past seven weeks and is in tune-up mode for next week’s Masters. Of his last six Shell Houston Open’s, Lee has managed to secure finishes inside the top-25 five different times, including a T10 in 2013.

I like Lee’s game for this venue and the state of his game, so I implore you to jump on board this week. Actually, no pressure, I’ll take him and his top-10 finish for my team…


One From the Rough

Shawn Stefani

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Unprecedented territory with this selection!

If you look back to last week’s sleeper selection, coincidentally, it was also Shawn Stefani. I’ve never done it before. I’ve never selected the same sleeper, two weeks in a row. So why today? Why Shawn Stefani? Bear with me…

Last week’s notes:

“He’s inside the top-20 in Total Driving, Greens Hit, Adjusted Scoring and Par-Breakers. His game is solid and this may be a week to look at Stefani to perform.

Dude is 8th on Tour in Total Ball Striking in 2015!

He’s a Texas-native and we’ve seen him inside the top-25 for the past two weeks, at both the Valspar and Bay Hill.”

Almost all of that applies this week, except you can add another near top-25 finish to the streak, as Stefani finished in 26th.

So last week played difficult, particularly on Thursday, that’s no secret. The scoring average for the morning groups was north of 78, so Stefani’s afternoon 79 didn’t come as much of a surprise. But after the rough start, he rode the waves to a great weekend, working his way back into a respectable finish. Thursday was the aberration and he will continue his great play as of late.

Another solid finish for Stefani.


The Man with the Trophy

J.B. Holmes

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J.B. Holmes is the selection this week, although he had a disappointing MC at the event in Orlando–Arnie’s place. I think Holmes will be a popular choice across the fantasy world this week, because his resume heading in is very compelling.

His play has been about as good as any on Tour so far this year, securing his place inside the world’s top-20 (for the time being) and looking forward to a great career post-brain tumor. It’s a wonderful story.

While Holmes’ run early this year speaks to the current state of his game, his past results at the Shell Houston Open speak to his ability to compete at this venue. He’s had three top-15 finishes in three of his recent starts at the venue dating back to 2009, with a scoring average at this tournament of 69.93. J.B. is the boy to go with this week…

Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, starring J.B. Holmes.

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