Houston Open Golf 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The PGA Tour begins a couple of weeks in Texas this week when the Houston Open is played out as the attention begins to ramp up towards the opening major of 2024 which comes along in just a fortnight from now.

Tony Finau picked up the title here just over a year ago and he will attempt to make a successful defence against a decent enough field. Finau won this in its slot in the fall part of the year so it will be interesting to see if he can deliver in the spring.

Recent Winners

2022 – Tony Finau

2021 – Jason Kokrak

2020 – Carlos Ortiz

2019 – Lanto Griffin

2018 – Ian Poulter

2017 – Russell Henley

2016 – Jim Herman

2015 – J.B Holmes

2014 – Matt Jones

2013 – DA Points

The Course

The tournament returns to the Memorial Park Golf Course this week for its latest staging here. The course is only five miles away from downtown Houston and is very different to the ones which have been in play in this tournament when it was the traditional Masters warm up in the past. This track is a par 70 with five par threes and three par fives and can stretch out to as long as 7,412 yards. It sounds a big course but it can play firm and fast.

We are probably still finding out about this course given that we’ve only seen it in competitive action a few times but the obvious thing is the huge run offs around most of the greens. Given that nobody will hit all of the greens, even though they are pretty big, scrambling is going to be a major play this week. The rough has been clipped down for this March renewal so that will help the bombers. We’re in Texas so the breeze will be a factor too.

The Field

There are some pretty decent names in the field this week. Clearly all eyes will be on the man who will be going for a third successive win in the form of Scottie Scheffler but he isn’t the only major champion teeing it up as the reigning US Open winner Wyndham Clark will also be here. Jason Day is another former major champion who is in the field here and he will certainly have his eyes leaning towards Augusta in a couple of weeks.

Sahith Theegala and Will Zalatoris are other big home names who will be looking to get on the board this week as is Tony Finau. The relatively light European charge is headed this week by Alex Noren and Stephan Jaeger while Si Woo Kim, Mackenzie Hughes and K-H Lee join Jason Day in the International hopefuls looking to win the tournament. Lanto Griffin and J.B. Holmes are a couple of former champions in the field.

Market Leaders

The world number one Scottie Scheffler looks to be back to his best at the minute and given that he is a Texan native it isn’t hard to see why he is the favourite for the week. Whether he is worthy of an 11/4 price is more open to debate though. I wouldn’t say he isn’t but it does feel a little on the short side when you consider there are some top level players in the field, even if there aren’t as many as usual. If Scheffler wins without me on at 11/4 I can live with that.

Wyndham Clark has been in good nick in recent weeks and the US Open champion is the 12/1 second favourite to win the tournament this week. Clark has already won at Pebble Beach this season so we know that the breeze won’t be a problem for him. He was also second at Bay Hill and at TPC Sawgrass recently with Scheffler the only man to beat him in both events. There is nothing not to like about Clark this week but Scheffler is here again.

Sahith Theegala is another one who has already won a tournament within the last six months or so. He did his winning at the Fortinet Championship and has four top 10 finishes in 2024 and concluded here with an excellent 64 last year so we know he is in decent form and that he can handle the course and with the rough pulled back a little he should be able to let his driver flow. He is definitely one who shouldn’t be dismissed easily.

Will Zalatoris is the other player in the field who is shorter than 25/1. You can get him at 20/1 with a number of bookmakers. The immediate negative would be that he is making his debut around this course but this ball striking machine should like what is in front of him when he gets here. He missed the cut at The Players but went T13-T2-T4 at the Farmers, Genesis and Arnold Palmer Invitational. If his putter cooperates he could walk away with the title here.

Main Bets

I’ve been keen on ball strikers here in the past but with the rough down and the firmer and faster conditions I think we should be looking at people who can crank the driver up with a little bit of freedom and then get to work this week. That brings Sahith Theegala into the line of thinking. To be fair, he should have been in it anyway because his form in 2024 has been excellent, backing up his win at the Fortinet at the beginning of the fall. He opened 2024 with a second place at The Sentry where he could let his driver go and then since Phoenix he has gone 5-T37-T6-T9 the latter two at Bay Hill and at TPC Sawgrass where control is the order of the day. He is clearly driving the ball very well and the rest of his game looks in fantastic order. Having last week off is definitely no bad thing and I think he’s a leading player here.

The other main bet I like is Kirt Kitayama, who is another who immediately catches my eye when he can let the driver go. We saw at Bay Hill last season that he can win on tougher tracks but when he is given freedom off the tee his results tend to improve. He comes in here off the back of a T8 in Phoenix and a T19 at The Players last time out certainly wasn’t a result that should be ignored. His only missed cut this season came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he was defending the title but he has never done that on the PGA Tour previously so we can allow him that. Most of his form is in much more stacked fields than this one so I’ll take him to go well here.


As I have mentioned in the past, Ryan Fox is usually near the top of my shortlist when there is freedom off the tee because he is a brilliant driver of the ball, long and generally straight and he has the length to take out the trouble on most courses. That then sets him up for the rest of his bag to look to do the business. Fox hasn’t had the greatest start to his PGA Tour career but the cuts he has made, in Phoenix and the Cognizant Classic, he shot three under par rounds but was undone by a poor third round. If he can put four rounds together this week then this might be the one where he follows the likes of Matthieu Pavon and go from the DP World Tour to a PGA Tour winner in a matter of months.

My final bet this week will be Taylor Pendrith, the big hitting Canadian who will surely be eager to pick up a maiden PGA Tour win in the next few months to give himself a shot at playing in the Presidents Cup on home soil at the end of the season. If that win is going to come it is going to do so on a track where he has free reins to belt the driver out there and set up a bunch of wedges into greens and this certainly ticks those boxes. Pendrith arrives in Houston having missed his last four cuts but tight tracks in Mexico, Cognizant, The Players and Valspar aren’t going to be any good to him. It is no surprise that the top 10s came at the Sony and Farmers Insurance Open where there is a bit more freedom off the tee. The Canadian opened with a 66 here last year but couldn’t follow it up. In the better driving conditions of the spring I fancy he can go better this time around.


Back S.Theegala to win Houston Open (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 19.00 with Unibet (1/5 1-6)

Back K.Kitayama to win Houston Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 46.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)

Back T.Pendrith to win Houston Open (e/w) for 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)

Back R.Fox to win Houston Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back him here: