Expert Picks: Shell Houston Open


This week the PGA Tour heads to Houston, where many players will use the conditions at Redstone Golf Club as a dress rehearsal for what they'll encounter at Augusta National two weeks from now. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new 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 Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Keegan Bradley: Last year he tied for fourth at Redstone and this year he already has six top 25s, including his T-3 finish at Bay Hill on Monday where he had his career-best driving accuracy in a tournament on the PGA Tour.

Group 2: Cameron Tringale: In his last two starts, he finished third in Tampa and T-27 at Bay Hill. He also picked up a top-10 finish last year at this event, finishing tied for eighth.

Group 3: James Driscoll: Like Tringale, he also tied for eighth here last year and was T-14 in 2010. He comes in off a top-25 finish in Tampa, where he tied for 21st.

Group 4: Justin Leonard: The Texan finished tied for fourth in Tampa and while he doesn't have much to show for at the Shell Houston Open in the last couple years, he did finish T-25 in 2010 and tied for 19th in 2009.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: The Northern Irishman showed signs of life with his weekend of 71-65 at Doral and could benefit from losing the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings to Tiger Woods on Monday.

Group 2: Jonas Blixt: Despite the sophomore slump, this was the time of year he began his climb last season with a tie for 29th in Houston.

Group 3: D.A. Points: Played solid on Monday and Tuesday at the Tavistock Cup and has been consistent in Houston in the past.

Group 4: Scott Gardiner: The rookie is not off to the best start and needs a good week before the Tour's first reshuffle following next week's Texas Open.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: In what's been a wildly entertaining first three months, Rory adds to it by winning and taking back the No. 1 ranking.

Group 2: Matt Every: This guy is going to win - and soon. Playing some really strong golf right now, he's on the verge of being a breakout performer.

Group 3: Robert Streb: PGA Tour rookie has looked very good at times and should only build on those results.

Group 4: Tag Ridings: After finding the leaderboard at Bay Hill, this long hitter should have a game suited for Redstone.