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Playing the Tips

Expert Picks: Houston Open

by Josh Culp
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to Playing the Tips! 

Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our group of fantasy staffers from Rotoworld.com. We’ll have all of our selections from the GolfChannel.com, Yahoo! Fantasy Golf, as well as One-and-Done & DFS recommendations. 

Ryan O'Sullivan previewed the Golf Club of Houston and set out some rankings for this week, check out his Shell Houston Open Preview.

To check out what you may have missed last week, Mo Yoshimoto has you covered in his WGC-Dell Match Play & Puerto Rico Open Recaps.


Now for the picks... 

GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf

Ryan O’Sullivan


2016 Earnings: $6,983,750

2016 Rank: 7,384 of 36,182

Group 1: Henrik Stenson

Group 2: Phil Mickelson

Group 3: Graham DeLaet
Group 4: Steve Stricker 

ANALYSIS: A lot of good course history on this squad. The big move is Stenson over Spieth. Both are incredibly good plays, and could be the deciding factor for a lot of gamers this week. 

Josh Culp


2016 Earnings: $6,566,215

2016 Rank: 9,633 of 36,182

Group 1: Jordan Spieth

Group 2: Phil Mickelson

Group 3: Hunter Mahan
Group 4: Steve Stricker 

ANALYSIS: I took the opposite route when forced to choose between the Stenson-Spieth fork in the road. Mahan is a bit out of form, but he's closer to home this week and his track record at GC of Houston is quite good (Win & four other top 15s). 



Mo Yoshimoto



2016 Earnings: $5,975,153

2016 Rank: 13,242 of 36,182


Group 1: Henrik Stenson

Group 2: Charl Schwartzel

Group 3: Charles Howell III
Group 4: Hudson Swafford

ANALYSIS: Avoiding the ultimate course horse, Lefty, is risky in Group 2. Schwartzel is a great option, though. CH3 is playing great golf this season and has some solid course history, another strong play in Group 3. 

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf

*Make sure you check our Twitter accounts for any updates before the first tee ball flies on Thursday. Change in weather, tee times, etc. can always lead to last-minute changes and we will let you know through our social media channels. 
Josh Culp

“Future of Fantasy” 

Full Season Points: 2,063
Full Season Ranking: 246


Group A

Phil Mickelson (7): Lefty has finished inside the top 20 for five straight trips to the Golf Club of Houston's Tournament Course. That includes his 2011 victory. Easy play. 

Jordan Spieth (7): Entered last year by saying this course didn't set up for him well. Then he went on to reach the playoff and nearly win the event. His history with this course growing up is not the lead factor, but it certainly doesn't hurt. 

Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson


Group B

Graham DeLaet (9): Finished T3 in his SHO debut (2010). Has red numbers in 13-of-18 rounds overall at GC of Houston. Keep it rollin' with the Canuck. 

Brooks Koepka (7): Their are so many good "course history" options this week that Koepka may get overlooked. On a long, par 72 track, he should excel in his tournament debut. 

Henrik Stenson (7): He's the definition of consistent. Three top 25s here in four trips, as well. 

Patrick Reed (6): The defending champion (Holmes) is another very good option here, but I wanted some local flavor here with Reed. Finished T17 here last year while sleeping in his own bed and it could co even higher if he tidies up that round of 73 to close things out last year.


J.B. Holmes, Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker, Charles Howell III


Group C

Patton Kizzire (10): I originally had Oosthuizen due to his three top 20s in six starts at the SHO. I decided against that after thinking about the seven matches he played last week at the Match Play. Kizzire doesn't have the course history, but he only played four matches last week, and doesn't have the long history of WDs like Oosthuizen. 

Charl Schwartzel (9): He's 5-for-6 here at the GC of Houston.  His T3 back in 2010 is really why we're owning Schwartzel here, the upside. Five of his 22 rounds here have gone for 74 or worse, so we just have to hope he sits on our bench during that one round. Or even better, avoids that big round entirely this week! 

Louis Oosthuizen, Steve Stricker


Ryan O’Sullivan (O)

“The Golf Aficionado”

Full Season Points: 1,927
Full Season Ranking: 4,720


Group A
Phil Mickelson (8) and Jordan Spieth (9)

Group B
Brooks Koepka (9), Graham DeLaet (9), Henrik Stenson (8), and J.B. Holmes (8)

Group C
Louis Oosthuizen (9) and Charl Schwartzel (8)


Mo Yoshimoto



Full Season Points: 1,852
Full Season Ranking: 11,095

Group A
Sergio Garcia (9) and Phil Mickelson (9)

Group B
Henrik Stenson (7), Charles Howell III (9),  Brooks Koepka (8), Patrick Reed (7), and Cameron Tringale (10)

Group C
Scott Piercy (9) and Charl Schwartzel (10)




Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]

I will be giving out selections for one team each week, entered into the $3 Birdie contest. 

This contest has a large number of entries, with guaranteed prize payouts, which means we can't play it safe if we want to see our name at the top! 

Tune up for the first major of the year and give DFS golf a whirl, draft your team today! 

DraftKings Picks:

Phil Mickelson ($10,300): Lefty has gained 54.870 strokes over the field in his last 24 rounds at the GC of Houston. He uses this week as a tune-up for Augusta, but his engine is usually already in good condition. 

J.B. Holmes ($9,700): I generally don't like to take defending champions, but Holmes is a very laidback guy that will make jokes instead of stress over any added pressure that comes during a title defense. 

Charl Schwartzel ($9,500): With so much talent above him this week, the South African will likely get overlooked. He's in great form and possesses a T3 at this venue, so we know the upside is there. This also means we will need to scavenge the bargain bin to round out this roster. 

Vaughn Taylor ($5,700): He won as recent as four starts ago. The letdown was to be expected at the NTO, where he missed the cut pretty easily. His last two MCs have been on the number, so his form looks much worse than it actually is. Look for him to rebound in a big way here at the GC of Houston where he owns a strong resume. 

John Huh ($7,200): His name wouldn't be the first that comes to mind on a course that rewards distance and accuracy has proven to be slightly irrelevant. His ability to play in windy conditions is what keeps him in contention here, as well as all over Texas. Arriving in good form, a top 40 or better should easily pay off his cheap salary. 

Jonas Blixt ($7,100): With top 30s in five of his last seven entering this week, this is probably his most consistent stretch of golf in his career. As a two-time winner, we know the upside is there, making him worth a shot for this salary. 

Other Picks to Consider
Charles Howell III ($8,900): CH3's ownership will fade as the West Coast swing gets farther and farther away. Despite his reputation as a West Coast specialist, he sports top 10s in three of his last four starts here in Humble, Texas. 

Patton Kizzire ($7,400): He's performing like a $9K most weeks, so at $7.4K we have to give him a strong look, despite the lack of course knowledge. 

Jordan Spieth ($12,900): What an obvious play, but one that may get overlooked due to his price. He's $1,900  more expensive than the next golfer, Rickie Fowler. Spieth may have lower ownership due to his steep price. Don't make the mistake of overlooking him entirely this week. 


Each week I think aloud to provide you with my One-and-Done selection as well as a few alternatives. Fade or Follow? You decide!

For this week's Houston Open, let's get a list of names to consider: J.B. Holmes, Cameron Tringale, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood. Thes golfers all perform considerably better than expected at the Golf Club of Houston. We can eliminate Mahan, Westwood, and Tringale due to poor form. Oosthuizen would be great, but I'm not sure picking him the week after he played seven matches at the Dell Match Play is the brightest idea. His back is always a concern. That leaves the defending champ, J.B. Holmes and the 2011 champ, Mickelson. 

If you want to save Lefty for the Masters, I won't blame you. I'm going for the home run this week, though, and that means Phil Mickelson is my pick this week in Humble, Texas. 


Past Results:
Puerto Rico Open & Match Play:
DeLaet came through with a T11 (another one!) while Paul Casey disappointed at the Match Play as he attempted to play through a stomach bug.  

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Despite an early double in round one, Rose bounced back and hung around near the top for most of the week. A finish of T9 will suffice, but we're still looking for a big winner.  

Valspar: Didn't trust any of the course horses, so I went with Stenson and got a T11 out of it. This is not my seventh finish between 10th and 17th since the start of 2016. 

WGC-Cadillac: A T3 for Rory McIlroy as he recorded just one birdie in the final round. Slightly disappointing. 

Honda Classic: T61 for Donald as he performed the worst of the three I had narrowed down. Our worst showing yet, but at least he made the cut! 

Northern Trust: I didn't get a win, but I chose the second-best option of the five I was considering. Holmes and his T11 will suffice. 

AT&T Pro-Am: A third-round 63 saved the week for Jimmy Walker as he finished T11. Not terrible, but Phil obviously would have been the best pick of the three I had it narrowed down to. 

WMPO: Bubba Watson backdoored a T14 after slipping on Saturday with a 2-over 73. Not the podium finish we hoped for, but it will suffice. 

Farmers: My decision to save Sneds looked good on Friday as he snuck into the weekend. A big pile of WELP was served though as Snedeker came from behind to grab a victory. A T17 from Charles Howell III is not too disappointing though. 

CareerBuilder: Kevin Na pulled through with that podium finish we asked for. Successful week. 

Sony Open: Matt Kuchar teased us but fought his way back to a T13, which is acceptable. 

Hyundai TOC: Dustin Johnson finished T10, not killer but I really wanted a little more out of my DJ usage.






Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.