Your Ultimate Online Betting Hub in 2019
Just one week remains before the first major golf tournament of the season and the worlds finest have only four days to hone their skills before their pursuit of glory at Augusta.
The Masters begins on April 6, but before the fireworks begin there is a small matter of the Houston Open to negotiate to build form ahead of the event.
World number one Dustin Johnson is in outstanding form at the moment, fresh off his victory at the World Matchplay Championship, beating Jon Rahm in the final.
However, the 32-year-old has opted out of the competition due to fatigue, allowing the rest of the field an opening to register a victory before The Masters begin.
Jim Herman won the tournament last year, narrowly edging out Henrik Stenson. The American will be aiming to join a small list of players to win the Houston Open for a second time.
Here are some of the top contenders to win the competition, with odds provided by Bovada sportsbook.
This time last year the world was at the feet of the 23-year-old. Spieth had claimed his first Green Jacket at Augusta in 2015 before claiming his second major title at the US Open.
The American finished the year on a high note, finishing fourth at The Open before narrowly missing out at the PGA Championship. He appeared to be rounding in form nicely at the Houston Open, with an eight-under performance in the four days, which was good enough to place tied-13th.
Spieth took his form into the Masters and for the first three-and-a-half days he looked nailed on to win the title for the second year on the spin. However, his dramatic collapse on the back nine allowed Danny Willett to claim the crown and since then he has struggled for his best form.
The 23-year-old has found a semblance of his 2015 dominance by claiming victory at Pebble Beach, but he still has plenty of work ahead of him to challenge Johnson at the top in Augusta.
Therefore backing him at +650 to win the Houston Open to rediscover his best and enter The Masters on a high note could be a good idea.
The Spaniard played out a thrilling final at the World Matchplay Championship with Johnson. Few players can match the power of the world number one, but he managed to out drive the American on a number of occasions in their contest.
Nerves appeared to get the best of him at times, forcing Rahm to stage a comeback towards the end of their match, and in the end he left himself with too much do to stop Johnson on the final hole.
However, he has been extremely impressive on the tour this season, with a victory at the Farmers Insurance Open along with a third-place finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
The 22-year-old has been a model of consistency since the turn of the year and will be desperate to approach the first major of the year with another victory under his belt.
As a result, backing Rahm to triumph at +1000 would be a prudent option, converting his solid form into his second win on the tour this year.
The Swede was narrowly edged out for the title last year, but will be determined to clinch the title this time around.
Stenson has been in average form since winning The Open and claiming a silver medal at the Olympics last term, although he did end the most successful season of his career with two second-place finishes at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Hero World Challenge.
He missed the early part of 2017 as he preferred to rest up ahead of a busy schedule over the course of the year, including a withdrawal at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and his decision to participate in the Matchplay Championship.
The 40-year-old did not appear to be out of rhythm, recording a tied-seventh placing at the Valspar Championship, but he struggled immensely at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, missing the cut.
Stenson will be eager to build up his form in Houston and register his first victory of the campaign before reaching Augusta, with a price of +1200 to claim the title.
The 26-year-old excelled for the United States in the Ryder Cup, putting together a series of outstanding performances, including a singles’ victory over Rory McIlroy to help guide his side to victory.
His form since then has been patchy, although he returns to Houston where he finished in tied-10th last year, ending on nine-under for the tournament.
Reed has the quality to make an impact in the big tournaments, but needs to make the breakthrough in order to establish confidence going into major events.
The American will need to stage a significant improvement in form this week following his premature exit at the Matchplay Championship last week, failing to advance beyond the pool stage following defeats to Brooks Koepka and Kevin Kisner.
A victory in the Houston Open would send him into The Masters with a win under his belt for the first time since The Barclays at the end of August last year, with the latest odds at +3300 to see him triumph at the event.
The 46-year-old has rounded into rhythm in the last two PGA Tour events, recording a tied-seventh placing at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship with a 10-under round for the competition.
Mickelson played some fine golf in Austin last week, defeating Kim Si-woo, Daniel Berger and JB Holmes to advance to the knockout stage.
He reached the quarter-finals before being bested by Bill Haas, and although his tournament ended in disappointment – he will have plenty of confidence returning to Houston where he won the competition back in 2011.
On that occasion he fired a 268 – only two strokes off the competition record shot by Vijay Singh in 2002. Due to advancing years, Mickelson will be aiming to reach his peak in Houston for another crack at the Green Jacket the following week – so backing him at +2000 could be a wise option.
Jordan Spieth to win Houston Open
Jon Rahm to win Houston Open
Henrik Stenson to win Houston Open
Patrick Reed to win Houston Open
Phil Mickelson to win Houston Open
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