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Houston Open DFS picks 2022: Don’t give up on Tony Finau

November 08, 2022
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 12: Tony Finau of the United States plays his shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind on August 12, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The penultimate event of the year on the PGA Tour is here, and it should provide a tough test for the best players in the game. Since Tom Doak’s redesign of Memorial Park in Houston, this has been one of the toughest non-major tests with the past three winning scores being 10-under, 13-under and 14-under par. With dry conditions all summer, this should continue to provide a hearty challenge.

The field, headlined by Scottie Scheffler, features four of the top 20 players in the world. In a rare occurrence on the tour, none of the last four champions will be teeing it up this week. Jason Kokrak, Carlos Ortiz and Ian Poulter have all left for LIV Golf while Lanto Griffin is recovering from disc surgery this summer.

Here are the players who have my interest—and those who certainly don’t—this week at the 2022 Houston Open.

Golfers I'm Definitely Playing

Tony Finau ($10,400 DraftKings | $11,600 FanDuel)

It was a disappointing missed cut for Finau last week in Mayakoba as he was knocking off the rest, making his first start of the season. I believe there were enough bright spots to consider playing him this week. In his two rounds, he made nine birdies and an eagle. That’s the same stat line as Viktor Hovland (T-10) and was better than both Aaron Wise (T-15) and Scottie Scheffler (T-3). He was sunk by four different penalty strokes, which is unlikely to happen again.

Denny McCarthy ($9,200 DraftKings | $10,800 FanDuel)

McCarthy is coming off a stellar T-6 in Bermuda. Since Memorial Park was renovated in 2019 and this event moved to the course, McCarthy has one of the best records of anyone in this field. He has finished T-9, T-38 and T-11 in his three trips to this event.

Matthew NeSmith ($8,900 DraftKings | $10,700 FanDuel)

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Eakin Howard

He’s back! I’ve been checking the field every week in hopes of gaining access to NeSmith, who will now tee it up for the first time since the Zozo Championship. He’s been one of the best iron players on the PGA Tour, and now the results are flowing. His last three starts are a T-9 at the Sanderson Farms, T-2 at the Shriners and T-9 at the Zozo. I worry slightly about his time away from competitive golf, but he’s been playing too well to pass up.

Sepp Straka ($7,400 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel)

Straka is one of the few golfers in this range with legitimate winning upside. He was victorious at PGA National, one of the hardest courses on the tour schedule. More recently, he has two runner-up finishes in Memphis and Jackson. On top of all that, he has gained more strokes in Houston than anyone who has played Memorial Park at least three times, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.

Johannes Veerman ($6,700 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel)

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Quality Sport Images

Veerman is coming off a T-11 at the Mallorca Golf Open, a DP World Tour event. He’s made four straight cuts on that circuit and while his advanced metrics are volatile, he’s a plus player in every strokes-gained category. That’s going to be difficult to find in another golfer at this price point.

Golfers I Might Play

Maverick McNealy ($9,400 DraftKings | $11,100 FanDuel)

I’m not generally a fan of McNealy’s stat profile because he’s entirely reliant on his short game. He’s gained a total of 37.25 strokes putting over his past nine measured starts, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. However, it’s hard to argue with his results. Thanks to a T-10 finish last week in Mayakoba, that makes four straight top-20 finishes, and now he heads back to Houston where he’s earned three consecutive top-20 finishes.

Mackenzie Hughes ($7,700 DraftKings | $9,800 FanDuel)

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Raj Mehta

Hughes found victory in Jackson and followed it up with a T-23 at the Zozo. That makes three straight top-24 finishes to start his new season. When conditions get difficult, that’s generally when Hughes can shine. His elite short game is valuable when par becomes a good score, and he’s finished T-7 and T-29 in his past two trips to Memorial Park.

Adam Schenk ($7,500 DraftKings | $9,500 FanDuel)

Schenk is playing his best golf since Summer 2021. His past three finishes have been a T-12 in Las Vegas, T-16 in Tokyo and T-29 in Bermuda. That’s a total of 15.65 strokes gained over those 12 rounds, a rate similar to Viktor Hovland’s career baseline. His best finish in Houston came last year, a T-29 priced at only $7,000.

Greyson Sigg ($7,400 DraftKings | $9,600 FanDuel)

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Orlando Ramirez

A disappointing Sunday dropped Sigg 35 spots on the leaderboard in Mayakoba, but don’t let that overshadow how well he played last week. That continued a great start to his 2023 season, making the cut in all five starts and earning two top-11 finishes along the way. He’s figuring his game out and looks more comfortable every week.

David Lingmerth ($6,600 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel)

Lingmerth is one of the most interesting golfers in the field this week. He snapped a streak of three straight missed cuts with a T-11 in Bermuda then immediately followed that up with a T-8 in Mayakoba. These are the best two consecutive starts on the PGA Tour for Lingmerth in five years. I have no data to predict how Lingmerth will fare this week, but confidence must be running high.

Memorial Park Golf Course
Public
Memorial Park Golf Course
Houston, TX
A significant renovation was completed by Tom Doak (in collaboration with Brooks Koepka) to transform the old municipal course at Memorial Park—which hosted the first Houston Open in 1947 and then again from 1951 through 1965—into a layout worthy of being a PGA Tour venue. Originally built in 1912 at a hospital near Camp Logan for recovering soldiers to use, architect John Bredemus redesigned the course in 1935 and added a second nine. Now with signature Doak green complexes and tour-level conditioning, Memorial Park is once again a must-play in the state and averages 60,000 rounds a year.
View Course

Golfers I'm Fading

Hideki Matsuyama ($10,300 DraftKings | $11,400 FanDuel)

If you removed the name and simply looked at the stat profile, you’d be concerned about Matsuyama. Over his past 28 rounds, Hideki is losing 0.22 strokes off the tee per round and gaining only 0.29 strokes on approach during that same period. Compared to his 200-round baseline, Hideki is losing 0.65 strokes per round to himself in the ball-striking categories. To further illustrate that gap, 0.65 strokes ball-striking is basically the difference between Scottie Scheffler and Garrick Higgo.

Joel Dahmen ($9,000 DraftKings | $10,500 FanDuel)

Dahmen is coming off a T-3 in Mayakoba, but there are so many great options in this range that Dahmen ends up being the odd man out. Over the past 36 rounds, he’s gained just 0.20 strokes per round—the worst in this price tier by over half a shot. On top of that, he’s the only golfer in this range losing in both the short-game categories, which are generally quite important at Memorial Park. Apologies to Dahmen, but we can’t play them all.

Davis Riley ($8,400 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)

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Orlando Ramirez

Riley is battling consistency at the moment, losing three-plus strokes to the field in four of his past six starts. The other two starts during that stretch were big gains and resulted in a T-19 and T21. The one “consistent” part of his stat profile are his losses around the green and with the putter. Memorial Park will ask for success in the short game, which could narrow Riley’s path to victory.

Cameron Champ ($7,200 DraftKings | $8,900 FanDuel)

Memorial Park was the second longest par-70 on tour last season behind only Southern Hills. At over 7,400 yards on the scorecard, Champ’s distance should be an attribute this week. However, the rest of his game is too concerning. He’s been losing tons of strokes in the short game, nearly a full stroke per round of his last 36. He would need a special performance to contend this week.

James Hahn ($6,700 DraftKings | $7,600 FanDuel)

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Orlando Ramirez

Hahn has been unable to overcome his horrid short game. Over his past three measured starts alone, he’s lost 11.87 strokes around-the-green alone. The Tom Doak redesign removed the majority of bunkers and now asks golfers to play from short-grass areas around the greens. The stats indicate that could be challenging to Hahn this week.

Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.