Expert Picks: Shell Houston Open


This week marks the 21st event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players remain in the Lone Star State for the Shell Houston Open, where 144 players will battle at Redstone Golf Club. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: There is a reason why the Ulsterman is a favorite for next week's Masters. The only thing he hasn't done this year is win and, unlike many of the game's other stars, he's healthy.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: His putting finally caught up with his ball-striking in his last start at Bay Hill, where he finished alone in second place, and after a winless 2013 he's keen to get back on the board.

Group 3: Cameron Tringale: He's been as steady as anyone on Tour this season, missing just three cuts in 15 starts, and he tied for 16th last year at the SHO.

Group 4: Trevor Immelman: The former Masters champion has been surprisingly consistent this season, making every cut since hte PGA Tour moved back easy, and told your scribe at Bay Hill - where he tied for 26th - he is swinging the club as well as he ever has.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Henrik Stenson: Last year he secured a Masters invitation in Houston; this year he'll just use it as a valuable tune-up.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: I'm gonna keep riding the Bradley Bandwagon until he gives me a reason to jump off. Hasn't happened yet.

Group 3: Jason Kokrak: Big hitter contended last year on a course that seems custom-made for his game.

Group 4: Camilo Villegas: Very, very slowly, his game is starting to come around to the point where he will contend once again.

John Antonini

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: A long hitter on a long course makes sense. Johnson finished T-4 in 2013, in his first appearance at the Shell Houston Open in four years. He hasn't played since Doral and should be ready for a nice run-up to the Masters.

Group 2: Chris Kirk: He was T-2 in 2011 and T-22 last year and has a scoring average of 68.88 at the GC of Houston. Plus, Kirk hasn't missed a cut on the PGA Tour all season.

Group 3: Carl Pettersson: He's never missed a cut the Shell Houston Open, with a second-place finish in 2012 among his four starts. Throw in a T-16 at San Antonio and you have a combination for success.

Group 4: J.B. Holmes: He seems recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him for most of 2013. He was T-8 in 2012 and has made seven cuts in eight starts this season.