Shell Houston Open Preview and Betting Offers, Golf Cub of Houston, Humble, Texas, Thursday 31st March 2016

The Masters and Augusta National is firmly on the mind of every golf fan and the same is clearly true of the PGA Tour. As is customary at this time of the year, the schedulers have put the Shell Houston Open immediately before the Masters, the first major of the season, with the event organisers playing ball. The Golf Course of Houston does not have anything like the appeal or the history of Augusta National but it does present a similar challenge to that which will be laid down next week. As such, a number of the top players in the world will tee it up in Texas to try and hone their game in the quest for a green jacket.

Shell Houston Open Betting Tips and Offers

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The Golf Course of Houston measures a challenging 7,441 yards from the championship tees and it is certainly a place where it helps to hit the ball a long way. The par 72 course does have some water hazards which will see some action this week but with next to no rough it is a place where the players can grip it and rip it off the tee. J.B. Holmes won the 2015 renewal despite missing more fairways than any other player to make the cut but he would not have done so were it not for some impressive greens in regulation numbers. It is vitally important to hit top quality approach shots because scrambling is very tough and the greens are lightning quick (another nod to Augusta).

There is nothing like solid recent form to take into the Masters as Jordan Spieth demonstrated last year. He narrowly lost out to Holmes in a playoff but then blew away the competition the following week at Augusta. Unfortunately for the pre-tournament favourite, Spieth’s game is not at the level that it was 12 months ago and there are better looking options for a bet.

The first of those is Phil Mickelson. The 45-year-old won this event in 2011 and he looks poised to do so again having been revitalised since changing his swing coach. Mickelson may be only five years away from playing on the Championship Tour but he still hits it a long way (he ranks 41st for driving distance on the entire PGA Tour) and with his solid ball striking and magical short game, Phil is going to take some stopping at 20/1 with Ladbrokes.

The second man to back this week is Charl Schwartzel. The 31-year-old is in sparkling form at the moment with two wins already in 2016. Schwartzel is also a form Masters champion and depending on how he goes this week, he should be considered well within striking distance of a second green jacket. The South African has a very well suited game to the Golf Course of Houston and the price of 28/1 that BetVictor are quoting is too good to ignore for an each-way bet.