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Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the Houston Open

Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf be...



Virtual Insanity! John Duggan'...
Golf

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the Houston Open

Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!

Virtual Insanity is going to end up in profit for 2021 as the pot is at €1505 from €1000 for 2021 with two tournaments to go.

After Bermuda Championship headline recommendation Lucas Herbert won at 60/1, last week was another decent one for the feature, as headline tip Scottie Scheffler (33/1) finished 4th at the World Wide Technology Championship in Mexico, while second pick Abraham Ancer (18/1) ended in a tie for seventh. Those each way recommendations added €15 profit to the virtual pot.

So sincere thanks to everyone who checks out the column each week. I hope it informs your decision-making.

This week's tournament of focus is the Houston Open on the US PGA Tour in Texas.

Played at the par 70 Memorial Park golf club, the field features our own Shane Lowry, Seamus Power, and Graeme McDowell.

There has only been one recent renewal at this venue, which was last year's tournament, won by Carlos Ortiz with a total of 13 under par.

The fairways are relatively generous, but thick Bermuda rough will push inaccuracy. It's a course measuring 7,432 yards with three par fives and a number of long par three holes, so it suits the longer hitters. The main defence of this course are the greens and the tricky run off areas around them. One will need a sharp short game to prevail this week.

Bets need to be placed by 12.40pm Irish time on Thursday.

Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, SKY Bet, and Betfred offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 8 places.

Our first selection is Matthew Wolff for €6 each way at 33/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

One must back natural talent every time in golf. Big hitting Matthew Wolff, who burst onto the landscape with a runner up finish at the 2020 US Open, is back in the groove. He shot a 61 in Mexico last week and ended in a tie for fifth place. That followed a solo second at the Shriners Children's Open. Wolff is a feel player and he's happy with his game after his well documented pressures. His performance could go one way or the other this week, but the 22 year old is dripping with natural ability and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him win this tournament comfortably. I am not joking!

Our second selection is Scottie Scheffler for €5 each way at 18/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

One of the American stars from the Ryder Cup was Scottie Scheffler, who took down the world number one Jon Rahm in the singles. Rookie of the year in 2020, he posted eight top-ten finishes last season and three of those were in majors. Ranked 21st in the world, it's hard to believe he hasn't won on the PGA Tour, but that's where we are. It's a question of when Scheffler breaks through, not if. He was our headline tip in Mexico last week and he finished fourth. He's from Dallas and last year, while tuning up for the Masters the following week, he closed with a 65 in this tournament. He doesn't have the distraction of Augusta on the horizon this time around and Scheffler's maiden PGA Tour golf victory seems imminent.

Our third selection is Talor Gooch for €4 each way at 30/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

When it comes to players in form, American Talor Gooch is showing as much sparkle as Colm Cooper in his Kerry heyday. Gooch carded an ugly double bogey at the last hole in Mexico last week, so he slipped into a tie for 11th. His other results this season are as follows - tied 4th, tied 11th and tied 5th. He is third for strokes gained tee to green and ranks sixth around the green this season. He also closed with a 63 for a fourth placed return in this event last year. The book of evidence adds up to a strong challenge from Gooch this week, a challenge which could yield a first PGA Tour title.

Our fourth selection is Christiaan Bezuidenhout for €4 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, SKY Bet, Betfair, Betfred, William Hill). 

If this course rewards players with a sharp short golf game, then look no further than the progressive South African, Christiaan Bezuidenhout. He comes into the week fresh from a tie for 15th in Mexico, and earned his PGA card with a third place finish at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. That was back in September, when he also finished fifth at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. The 27 year old is not afraid to win - he has done so three times on the European Tour. Bezuidenhout is not the longest hitter, but he's good with his irons and has a deft touch on the dance floor. I feel he could be a surprise contender this week and 50/1 seems fair.

Our fifth selection is Harry Higgs for €3 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfair, SKY Bet, Betfred). 

Likeable American Harry Higgs is making his debut at Memorial Park, but that doesn't worry me. I was on him at the Safeway Open last year and he finished runner up behind Stewart Cink. Higgs is a freewheeling type; illustrated by his tie for 4th at the US PGA last season. Kiawah Island played tough that week - it just shows how talented he is. He lives in nearby Dallas and has worked hard to get to the big show in golf; winning in Latin America and then on the Korn Ferry Tour before graduating to the PGA Tour. I think he has the cojones to make his mark this season, so maybe Houston is a good place to start. Higgs was inside the top ten at the CJ Cup, so there's nothing wrong with his form. He comes here off a break and that could also work in his favour.

Our final selection this week is Denny McCarthy for €3 each way at 150/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

One of the best putters on the PGA Tour is American Denny McCarthy, who topped the statistics in 2019 and 2020. McCarthy putts especially well on Bermuda greens. The 28 year old former Walker Cup player is in decent nick, entering this week off the back of a tie for 15th in Mexico. He also had a chance to win the Sanderson Farms Championship last month, before fading in the final round. His Houston Open debut last year was solid if unspectacular, but having tracked him closely, I get the sense his golf game is more consistent now. I believe he's a value outsider.

So that's €50 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Please make sure you bet less at home! A euro each way will do!

Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OTB Sports's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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