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Shell Houston Open: Expert Picks

Kyle Reifers and Cameron Tringale are about to break poor starts to 2017

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

What: Shell Houston Open
When: March 30th -April 2nd
Where: Golf Club of Houston
2016 Winner: Jim Herman (-15) 
Purse: $6.8MM total (Winner -$1.2MM)

Course: Golf Club of Houston founded in 2003 and designed by Rees Jones, this 7,440 par 72 course claims to attempt to replicate Augusta as the precursor to the Masters. It prides itself on its lush mature forestry, plants and wetlands as it is largely void of houses and attempts to keep things quiet and peaceful. The greens tend to be fast and bunkers line many of the roughs along the fairways. Placement is key.

A.
Kyle Reifers. BY FAR the boldest pick I've done yet this year. He has missed cuts in 6 of his 9 tournaments this year (that's 67% of his tournaments for those keeping track at home).  Here are his tournaments in 2017: MC, MC, 39th (Farmers Insurance), MC, MC, MC, 67th (Valspar Championship), MC, 17th (Puerto Rico Open). I'm banking on his familiarity at Golf Club of Houston and his strong track record here: 
2016: 7th, 2015: 11th, 2012: 21st
Finally he's 46th on the tour in driving accuracy.

B:
Matt Kuchar. 
-4 straight top 30 finishes. 
-Finished in the top 3 the last two times he played here (2015 and 2014). 
-21st in shots gained around the green. 32nd in shots gained putting (he'll need both of these qualities to succeed here).

Cameron Tringale. Much like Kyle, he is not off to the best 2017. He has 4 missed cuts in 8 tournaments and only one top 30 finish. Much like Kyle he has a great record at Houston. 
2016: 57th, 2015: 5th, 2014: 4th, 2013: 16th and 2012: 8th. He's 7th in shots gained around the green which will come in handy with the wetlands surrounding each green.

C.
Henrik Stenson. We are on diverging paths. When I pick him, he stinks, when I don't he shines. This is where that ends. With a 2nd place finish here last year, a 54th place finish in 2014 and a 2nd place finish in 2012 I am investing on him and expecting a top ten finish this week. 

Dark Horse:
Jon Rahm. He's not much of a dark horse under the radar guy anymore but if you don't feel comfortable with Henrik Stenson as your C player, than just keep riding Rahm's amazing 2017 campaign.  4th in Fedex points, he has finished in the top ten in 4 of the last 5 tournaments. I see no reason to stop picking him in the foreseeable future. Here is my view on repeatedly selecting Jon now (which I've said once or twice before): if he's legit (which I think he is) then you still get 8-10 quality starts out of him and max him out. It stinks later on but he's been essentially a lock for a top 20 finish from a C golfer which is very very rare.