Houston Open First Round Leader Tips: Keegan to score early

American Keegan Bradley
American Keegan Bradley can flourish early

Dave Tindall picks out three players to get onside early in Texas this week...

"Bradley always likes what he sees at the Golf Club of Houston and he's made some fast starts too, sitting third (2014), sixth (2017) and eighth (2012) after day one on three of his visits."

*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places

Weather forecast for Thursday: It's a sunny, even humid, day in Humble. The wind is set to pick up a little in the afternoon so the drying conditions could be more testing on spiked up greens.

FRL history at the Golf Club of Houston

2018 - 64 Paul Dunne
2017 - 64 Rickie Fowler
2016 - 64 Charley Hoffman
2015 - 63 Scott Piercy
2014 - 65 Bill Haas, Charley Hoffman

Strategy: A 64 usually gets it done but there's no real morning/afternoon bias. Go back further and it's a 5-5 a.m./p.m. split since 2012. The weather just makes me lean slightly towards the morning wave so I'll try a 2-1 split.

Count on Keegan

Keegan Bradley has made seven of eight cuts in the Houston Open, finishing in the top five twice and also adding T10 and T15.

It's no surprise, therefore, that he's turned up again this week despite the change of schedule which looks to have put plenty off.

A fan of Bermuda grass, Bradley always likes what he sees at the Golf Club of Houston and he's made some fast starts too, sitting third (2014), sixth (2017) and eighth (2012) after day one on three of his visits.

Overall, he averages 68.5 in his opening lap here, three shots better than round two (also averages over 70 in R3 and R4).

Quick starts were a feature of his play earlier in the year when he had a five-tournament stretch in which he finished leader once and in the top six in three of the other four.

Also first-round leader at the Canadian Open in June, he's shot 67 (Greenbrier) and 69 (Vegas) in his two openers so far this season.

Put it all together and I'll have a punt at 60/1. He heads out in the afternoon at 12:45pm.

Back Burgoon

Bronson Burgoon is Texas born and raised and went to college in the Lone Star State as well.

He's played this event just twice, the first as a teenager in 2006 (MC) and the second last year when opening with 67 and claiming tied 24th.

The strong start left him tied 10th after Thursday's play and he was sixth at halfway after backing it up with a 68.

More recently, he's hit the ground running on plenty of occasions. Last season, Burgoon had a piece of the lead at the CIMB Classic and Travelers Championship and he's ended the first 18 holes inside the top eight in four of his last eight starts.

He'll get the freshest greens for the first nine holes as he's in the opening group out at 07:15. Take the 60/1.

Henley can be an instant hit

I've gone for course specialist Russell Henley in my outright preview at 22/1 but, if that doesn't seem exactly great value, the 40/1 for FRL may be more palatable.

Henley won this event in 2017 and hasn't been outside the top eight in all five starts since 2014.

In terms of his round one positions in that time, they're not as impressive but he did sit sixth after day one two years ago.

His form over the last few months has been steady although he did open with a 64 at the John Deere Classic and a 65 at the Canadian Open to sit second and seventh respectively after R1.

Henley was also the first-round leader in the 2018 US Open.

After four rounds in the 60s in Las Vegas last week, I'm hoping his eyes light up again on his return to Houston and he cashes in on his 07:15 tee-time from the 1st.

Dave's 2019 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £1140
Returned: £1022.59
P/L: -£117.41

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