2020 Vivint Houston Open Championship Betting Preview: Key Stats for This Week’s Tournament at Memorial Park Golf Course

John McCoy/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama.

As anticipation mounts for the Masters, we make one final pit stop en route to Augusta to play the 2020 Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course.

While we are used to the Houston Open being the week prior to the Masters, this will be the first time we see Memorial Park as the location.

Memorial Park Golf Course is a  Par 72 layout, measuring 7,432 yards and features Bermudagrass greens. Typically, the course layout and green speed are set up similarly to Augusta National in order to help prepare the golfers for the next week’s major. That said, I anticipate that to be the case again.

Tournament Director Colby Callaway hinted at this last week in a few interviews. The main defense for the course will be fairly thick rough and tightly mowed runoff areas around the greens. Memorial Park also features five Par 5s and five Par 3 holes.

There are some surprising, big names in the field this week, who are all looking to get one last chance to prepare for Augusta. Some notable additions include: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler.

This will also be the second consecutive week with fans in attendance. There will be 2,000 fans allowed on the course per day, which is a sizable increase from the 500 per day permitted last week in Bermuda.



Past Winners at The Houston Open (Golf Club of Houston)

  • 2019: Lanto Griffin (-14)
  • 2018: Ian Poulter (-19)
  • 2017: Russell Henley (-20)
  • 2016: Jim Herman (-15)
  • 2015: J.B. Holmes (-16)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Memorial Park Golf Course to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

With little to go off of this week in terms of course specifics, approach is a great place to start. Current form will be important this week, and approach is the best indicator of current form.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Dustin Johnson (+30.9)(+650)
  2. Russell Henley (+26.5) (+1600)
  3. Brooks Koepka (+21.1) (+2000)
  4. Zach Johnson (+18.3) (+3300)
  5. Sungjae Im (+17.6)(+3300)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Memorial Park Golf Course isn’t overly long, therefore a combination of distance and accuracy might be the best metric this week. Fairways were widened for this event, but the Houston rough can get pretty thick. Long and straight is always the best recipe for success.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Sergio Garcia (+20.2) (+4000)
  2. Sam Burns (+20.0) (+9000) 
  3. Scottie Scheffler (+16.4) (+2200)
  4. Will Gordon (+15.5) (+20000)
  5. Sungjae Im (+14.8) (+3300100)

Strokes Gained Putting: Bermudagrass+fast

Augusta National is known for it’s extremely fast  greens. Part of the draw for golfers to come to Houston this week is to prepare for the Masters. I anticipate the greens will be fairly similar to Augusta National, with the exception of Bermudagrass in Houston and Bentgrass at Augusta.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Denny McCarthy (+26.4) (+8000)
  2. Patton Kizzire (+24.0) (+20000)
  3. Sam Burns (+23.8) (+9000)
  4. JT Poston (+21.8) (+10000)
  5. Charl Schwartzel (+20.9) (+15000)

Strokes Gained: Around the Green

With firm and undulating putting surfaces, holding the green on approach shots may prove to be a challenge. Memorial Park has many tightly mowed run-off areas. Golfers will have challenging up and downs around the greens.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds (per round, minimum of 20 rounds):

  1. Si Woo Kim (+14.7) (+6600)
  2. Padraig Harrington (+12.2) (+20000)
  3. Alex Noren (+11.1) (+8000)
  4. Hideki Matsuyama (+11.1) (+1800)
  5. Luke Donald (+11.0) (+50000)

Strokes Gained: Par 5

With five par 5s on the course, scoring could be the difference maker. I expect low scores to be out there.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Kristoffer Ventura (+20.4) (+12500)
  2. Cameron Davis (+17.6) (+7000)
  3. Dustin Johnson (+14.9) (+650)
  4. Tony Finau (+14.5) (+1600)
  5. Grayson Murray (+13.6) (+50000)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (27.4%) SG: OTT (24%); SG: Putting bermudagrass/Fast (20%); SG: Par 5 (14.6); and, SG:ARG (14%)

  1. Dustin Johnson (+650)
  2. Tony Finau (+1600)
  3. Viktor Hovland (+3300)
  4. James Hahn (+5000)
  5. Sam Burns(+3300)
  6. Denny McCarthy (+1200)
  7. Russell Henley (+4000)
  8. Sungjae Im (+3300)
  9. Martin Laird (+4500)
  10. Brooks Koepka (+9000)

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