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Houston Open: Notes, Odds & Best Bets

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The Houston Open begins Thursday at the Memorial Park Golf Course, which played host to a PGA Tour event last year for the first time since 1963.

Field Level Media’s golf experts provide key tournament notes, odds and best bets for the penultimate event on the 2021 PGA Tour calendar.

HOUSTON OPEN
Course: Memorial Park Golf Course (Par 70, 7,412 yards)
Purse: $7.5M (Winner: $1.35M)
Defending Champion: Carlos Ortiz
FedEx Cup Leader: Sam Burns

HOW TO WATCH
TV: Thursday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).
PGA Tour Live: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Featured Groups)

NOTES
–Brooks Koepka served as a player consultant in the $34 million redesign of Memorial Park Golf Course, which was led by Tom Doak. It was the fourth-hardest course on tour last season among non-majors, with No. 16 ranking as the most difficult par-5 on such courses (5.063 scoring average).
–International players have won each of the past five events on the PGA Tour, one shy of the longest streak dating back to 1960. There have been two streaks of six events (2004, ’08).
–Sponsors exemptions include Koepka’s brother, Chase, along with Houston-area residents MJ Daffue and Shawn Stefani. Arizona State senior Cameron Sisk is also in the field as a sponsors exemption after winning the Maridoe Intercollegiate.
–Ortiz became the first Mexican player to win on the PGA Tour in 42 years last year, but won’t defend his title after withdrawing Tuesday due to a shoulder injury.
–The Houston Open sold 2,000 tickets per day last year as the first domestic event to allow spectators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BEST BETS
–Burns (+1200 at DraftKings) won earlier this season at the Sanderson Farms Championship and has not finished lower than T21 in his past seven starts. He held the outright lead after the second and third rounds last year before finishing T7.
–Texas native Scottie Scheffler (+1800) is coming off a solo fourth in Mexico. He finished T32 in this event last year and is second at the sportsbook with 7 percent of the outright winner handle and 4 percent of the total bets backing him.
–Cameron Smith (+1800) has four top-10s in his past six events, including a T9 at The CJ Cup in his last start. … Sung-Jae Im (+2000) won two starts ago at the Shriners Children’s Open and backed it up with a T9 at The CJ Cup.
–Matthew Wolff (+2500) was the 36-hole leader last week before posting a 74 on Saturday. He rebounded to close with a 64.
–Brooks Koepka (+2800) is coming off a missed cut as he attempts to grind his way out of a slump. He did post a T5 here last year and is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 15. He is the most-backed player at DraftKings with 10 percent of the money and 5 percent of the bets.
–Patrick Reed (+3500) continues to play his way back into form following a battle with pneumonia that landed him in the hospital in August. He is being backed by 4 percent of the money and 3 percent of the bets.

–Field Level Media

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