Horses for Courses: Vivint Houston Open

Somebody find me a trash can to bang on!

The first redesign by noted course architect Tom Doak for the PGATOUR is featured this week as Memorial Park in Houston assumes the role host of the Vivint Houston Open. The TOUR returns to its roots as this municipal track is back on the schedule for the first time since 1963. The inaugural event in Houston took place in 1946 and the first one at Memorial Park debuted the following year, running until 1963.

The Houston Open sat as the preparatory exam for Augusta National, for most of the last 15 years and returns to that position on the schedule, albeit accidentally, this time around. Tom Doak and Brooks Koepka (player consultant) have positioned only 19 bunkers through 7,432 yards on this Par-72 (36-36). The focus this week will be on excitement and scoring chances rather than grinding out pars and surviving. With five Par-5 holes, five Par-3 holes and a pair of Par-4 holes that can possibly be driven, a full array of shots will be required, not to mention a bunch of birdies, to pick up the trophy this week. Think ZOZO but with a few hundred additional yards and Bermuda on the greens. We all remember who was on the podium that week (Cantlay, Rahm and Thomas).

With a new test it’s always the ball-strikers who move to the forefront. With 28 acres of fairway, less than three inches of rough and only four holes with water, I would think scoring will be a major focus this week. Greens are large, averaging 7,000 square feet, and running slick with Mini-Verde Bermuda so hitting plenty of them will be the angle. The more GIR will give more scoring chances and it won’t hurt to have shorter clubs into those scoring holes.

Lanto Griffin is the defending champion at the event and will lead the field of 132 as they look to get their hands on $1.26 million (winner) of the $7 million prize pool plus 500 FedExCup points. The winner won’t get into the Masters next week but will be eligible in 2021.

Event Winners at Golf Club of Houston

Recent Winners
Lanto Griffin
2018: Ian Poulter (not entered)
2017: Russell Henley


Five things to know: Memorial Park

The PGA TOUR visits a radically renovated municipal course in the midst of a large and diverse metropolis. 

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. Those listed in BOLD deserve deeper inspection if not already on your RADAR.

Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green
 2  Hideki Matsuyama
 4  Sergio Garcia
 8  Harold Varner III
 9  Dustin Johnson
10 Scottie Scheffler
11 Tony Finau
13 Tyrrell Hatton
14 Russell Henley
16 Corey Conners
20 Viktor Hovland
21 Luke List
24 Emiliano Grillo
25 Cameron Tringale

Par-5 Scoring
 6  Wyndham Clark
 6  Matt Jones
10 Hideki Matsuyama
10 Dustin Johnson
10 Kevin Streelman
10 Tyrrell Hatton
10 Ryan Palmer
10 James Hahn
18 Alex Noren
21 Cameron Davis
21 Sam Burns
21 Jhonattan Vegas
21 Sungjae Im
21 Scottie Scheffler

Strokes-Gained: Putting
 1  Denny McCarthy
3  Andrew Putnam
 4  Kristoffer Ventura
 8  Mackenzie Hughes
 9  Maverick McNealy
11 Patrick Rodgers
14 JT Poston
16 Wyndham Clark
23 Troy Merritt
24 Beau Hossler
25 Patton Kizzire

Top players at Bermuda Championship (entered this week)
 1  Brian Gay
P2 Wyndham Clark
 3  Ollie Schniederjans
 4  Matt Jones
 4  Stewart Cink
 4  Denny McCarthy
 4  Doc Redman
 8  Ryan Armour
 8  David Hearn
14 Scott Piercy
16 Russell Knox
21 Maverick McNealy
21 Brice Garnett
21 Andrew Putnam
21 Sepp Straka
26 Paddy Harrington
26 Beau Hossler

Top 25 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD (entered this week)
 4  Russell Henley
 4  Ryan Palmer
 8  Corey Conners
11 Tony Finau
11 Dylan Frittelli
11 Lanto Griffin
17 Alex Noren
17 Scottie Scheffler
26 Brian Harman

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