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DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks: Cadence Bank Houston Open Predictions, Preview

Geoff Ulrich previews the Cadence Bank Houston Open and gives his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

There are only two events left on the PGA TOUR’s fall swing. This week’s second-to-last event will see us head into Houston for the Cadence Bank Houston Open. For the third season in a row, the Houston Open will be played at Memorial Park Golf Course, a venue that was wholly redesigned in 2019 by Tom Doak. The winning scores at this event the past two seasons have been 10-under and 13-under par, so expect tougher conditions this week.


Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $300K Pitch + Putt [$100K to 1st]


STRATEGY

This week sees a dramatic shift in terms of course setup. Memorial Park Golf Course is a longer par 70 that plays at 7,412 yards and will require a solid all-around game to score. The first two winners at this venue (Carlos Ortiz and Jason Kokrak) both had solid weeks ball-striking but also relied on high-end putting, and in Ortiz’s case, a great week of scrambling.

Setup-wise, Trinity Forest plays as a non-traditional par 70 with five par 3s in play and three par 5s. That puts it in a unique category on the PGA TOUR in terms of setup with the only real comparable venue being the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort, host of the Valspar Championship. Interestingly enough, the 2021 winner of this event (Kokrak) did also finish runner-up at Copperhead in 2020.

While the par 5s at Memorial Park are longer, as a group they’ll still represent the player’s best chance at birdie all week. The past two winners of this event both played the par 5s at 8-under-par for the week and solid driving and long iron play will be essential to taking advantage of scoring on those holes. Stat-wise, Memorial will put a lot more stress on long-iron approach play, and with cooler weather in the forecast for this weekend, expect the course to play even longer than usual.

With that in mind, emphasizing both strokes gained approach stats and proximity stats from 175 yards and out this week feels like a great starting point. This week should feature much tougher conditions than we’ve seen the last two weeks. With such a drastic change in conditions, recent form may not be as helpful as an indicator here, as it has been for the past couple of events. Instead, looking to emphasize long-term tee-to-green and around-the-green stats could help lead us to some solid targets for fantasy purposes on players who may not have put up any huge results this fall.

Tony Finau ($10,400)

Finau played in his first fall event last week and missed the cut by a shot. Considering the length of the break he took after the TOUR Championship — and the fact he was playing in an event where a fast start was needed just to keep pace with the field — it shouldn’t be viewed as an overly shocking result. Finau will always be better suited to tougher golf courses where length and ability to get the ball high out of the rough are a big advantage and Memorial Park is certainly more of a bomber’s setup than last week.

The now four-time PGA TOUR winner leads this field in long-term strokes gained tee to green stats and ranks a surprising 8th in long-term around the green stats as well. He finished 24th at this venue back in 2020, and with Scottie Scheffler ($11,500) likely to be a very popular target, makes for a good pivot play to build around in larger field tournaments.

Sahith Theegala ($9,300)

2022 has seen Theegala come close to grabbing a win on multiple occasions. The 24-year-old finished runner-up at the Travelers and had the lead late down the stretch at the Waste Management Phoenix Open back in February. He has displayed a classy all-around game that handles tougher courses very well, when it’s in form, as finishes of T5 at the Memorial and 7th at the Valspar would attest.

Setup-wise, Memorial Park should play more akin to those tougher venues. While a lot of the field in Texas will be putting in their third event in three weeks, Theegala will also be coming off a solid week of rest after playing a couple of events in the ZOZO and THE CJ CUO, which required a large amount of travel. While some might be scared off due to his T67 finish at THE CJ CUP a couple of weeks ago, it was only three weeks ago in Japan that he fired a third-round 63 and shot a collective 10-under par on the weekend. This is a player who looks ready to win soon and makes for a great high-upside target this week on DraftKings at an affordable price.

Gary Woodland ($7,000)

The recent form on Woodland doesn’t look great. The 2019 U.S. Open winner has made three fall starts now and hasn’t been able to crack the top 50 in any of those events. This week’s event will feature much harder scoring than we’ve seen in any of the fall tournaments thus far, so seeing a player like Woodland (who has struggled in the easier conditions) come to life suddenly wouldn’t be overly shocking.

The veteran still ranks top 20 in strokes gained approach, tee-to-green and ball-striking stats over the last 50 rounds and played great in Texas earlier this season at another tough venue in TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. At $7K flat, it makes sense to take a chance on him this week as an upside value in big field tournaments on DraftKings.


Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $300K Pitch + Putt [$100K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.