Golf tips, best bets and second-round analysis for the Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on the PGA Tour.
Where to watch
Sky Sports Golf, 5pm Friday
Cameron Champ to win second-round threeball 6.45pm BST
2pts 7-4 BoyleSports
Henrik Stenson was a single-figure price to win this week’s Houston Open but the Swede has plenty of work to do to get into contention after an even-par first round left him eight shots off the pace.
The 2016 Open champion has two runner-up finishes and a third place on his Golf Club of Houston CV, but he lost shots on the field both off the tee and on the greens in Thursday’s opening spin.
Fine flatstick performance has traditionally be a prerequisite for success on the Texas track, which has moved from its traditional pre-Masters slot this year, but Stenson is still getting to grips with a new three wood.
That club played an integral role in his success over the last eight years, when he moved up to second in the world rankings.
And with big questions about a element of his game that was so essential, it is difficult to trust him at a short price to get the better of playing partners Cameron Champ and Jason Dufner in Friday’s second round.
This is also just his fourth tournament since the Open 12 weeks ago and there may be some further rust that needs to be shaken off.
Dufner carded a one-over-par 73 and it is difficult to be enthusiastic about his chances.
The former US PGA champion finished 12th in this tournament two years ago but his other three efforts of MC-77-64 provided little comfort.
His only top-20 finish in his last nine tournaments was at the Barbasol Championship, which took place when the game’s elite were battling for the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush.
Dufner has failed to make the cut in five of those tournaments and has slipped 60 places down the world rankings this year, so it looks as if Champ is the member of the trio whose game is in the finest fettle.
It is only two weeks since he claimed victory in the Safeway Open and he shot a three-under-par 69 in his debut tournament round at this week’s venue.
He will have been disappointed to have dropped a shot apiece on two par-five holes, which were ranked the 15th and 17th hardest holes on the course during the opening round, but he should be able to brush up on that and force his way up the leaderboard.
Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport
Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport