Houston Open: Henley can star again in Texas

American golfer Russell Henley
American Russell Henley can shine in Houston again

It's a new date in the calendar for the Houston Open and Dave Tindall has three picks for the action in Texas...

"Henley's course form is ridiculous. Since 2014, he hasn't been outside the top eight, his results reading: 7-4-5-1-8."

Main Bet: Russell Henley each-way @ 22/1

A move in the schedule could potentially be a problem for punters - especially as this event used to be held the week before the US Masters and the set-up tried to have Augusta National in mind.

Will the grass be mown as short for this new October date? Will the weather be a little different?

However, this is not the first time a tournament has shifted and perhaps we shouldn't read too much into it. The Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, won by Joaquin Niemann, moved this year to mid-September having previously been played in early July.

Niemann had finished fifth in the pre-Open Championship version so the later date made no difference. Going back, I recall Retief Goosen winning what we now know as the Valspar Championship on the same course once in November and then again in March. KJ Choi had two wins at the later date and finished runner-up when it moved to the Spring.

In short, if you liked the course in April, there's every chance you'll still like it now.

Which is all a long-winded way of justifying me backing Russell Henley at an already-cut 22/1.

Henley's course form is ridiculous. Since 2014, he hasn't been outside the top eight, his results reading: 7-4-5-1-8.

As for current form, it's not exactly coming out of his ears on first glance but in mid-July he closed with 61 to finish runner-up at the John Deere Classic before backing it up with tied 15th at the Barracuda Championship.

Since then, he's made all five cuts although not been in the top 30. However, he fired all four rounds in the 60s in Vegas last week and his finishes at Greenbrier and the Sanderson Farms were compromised by poor final rounds when he was out of contention.

The secret to his good play here? "I feel comfortable with a lot of these shots off the tee. There's a lot of room. I feel when I miss it, I know it. I really love the greens and I just feel like I can hit most of them and I'm pretty confident."

He ranked 8th for greens in regulation in last week's Shriners and sixth for GIR at the Greenbrier so, if he putts the greens well again, yet another top eight beckons.

And, with the tournament moving venues next year, this is his last chance to cash in!

Next Best: Denny McCarthy each-way @ 35/1

Keeping it simple, a trawl through past winners here shows they're mostly Americans who hit lots of greens.

Ian Poulter - fuelled by a mad desire to make the following week's US Masters - proved a contrarian to the nationality angle last year as he somehow denied Beau Hossler

But Poulter did at least add fuel to the second part of the argument, ranking fourth for greens in regulation.

Denny McCarthy has hit over 80% of greens in the right number at each of his last two events and his form is getting better by the week.

The 26-year-old was T31 at Greenbrier, firing a Friday 61, T18 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and T9 in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, shooting a third-round 63 last week.

"I've been hitting it really well and putting it really well, so I knew if I came out and did some of the same of what I've been doing the last couple days there was a low round out there, and sure enough I found it," he said in Vegas.

"My ball-striking is really good right now, so I don't really need to force the issue. If I can just get myself a couple more 15, 20-footers a round, I feel like if I got on the green I have a really good chance of making it."

Now to course form. McCarthy teed it up here last year and shot bookend 68s on the way to T43. Not amazing but a marker.

In other recent events in the Lone Star State, he's finished T20 in the 2018 Texas Open and T23 in this year's Byron Nelson Championship where one bad round cost him (63-77-65-67).

With six top 25s since the end of June and latest form of 9-18, McCarthy is getting his ducks in a row and, in a low-key field, this could be the 2018 Web.com Tour Championship winner's big chance to get a first PGA Tour victory.

At the very front of the market, Henrik Stenson is a two-time runner-up and has four top sixes in seven appearances here. He returns to the PGA Tour after T2 (Scandinavian Invitation) and T17 (BMW PGA Championship) on the European Tour.

The 8/1 will appeal to some but not for this each-way column. He's 9/1 in the Enhanced Win Only market.

Final Bet: Matt Every each-way @ 80/1

I thought of ultra-consistent Lanto Griffin - 13-11-17-18 the last four weeks - as my final pick.

But, instead, I'll flip it and go with a player who can mix highs in with an awful lot of lows.

Matt Every won the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and then somehow defended it 12 months later despite not managing a top 45 in a full-field event previously that season.

The first of those wins actually came on the back of tied eighth and he may just have found something again after ending a 10-tournament run which included seven missed cuts and a WD with T18 in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last week.

Every shot 66-67-66 over his final three rounds in Vegas and ranked 15th for greens in regulation.

Those wins at Bay Hill obviously show a liking for bermuda greens and that translates to some good form in Texas too.

As it's Every, his Lone Star state results are littered with missed cuts too but he was runner-up at the Byron Nelson Championship in May, tied 17th at Colonial (bent greens) and also tied eighth in this event in 2018.

Why the inconsistency? "I like to play quickly and when my attitude is bad, I might get going a little too quick," he said earlier this year, suggesting that when it's getting away from him he can't pull it back.

But Every can land the big punches and he could just be in shape to do so here after his strong finish last week.

Take the 80/1.

Pat Perez has three top 12s at this course which makes it a good venue for him. He was third in Vegas and talked about going back to an old, more controlled swing which paid immediate dividends.

He was on my shortlist until I saw the 28/1.

Texas native Bronson Burgoon was another but 40/1 was again shorter than ideal so I'll stick with Henley, McCarthy and Every.

Dave's 2019/20 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £120
Returned: £42.60
P/L: -£77.40

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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