Houston Open: Steve Palmer's first-round preview, best bets, free golf tips – Racing Post


Henrik Stenson is Houston Open favourite

Sam Greenwood

When to watch

Sky Sports Golf, 5pm Thursday

Best bets

Russell Henley first-round leader
1pt each-way 40-1 general

Kristoffer Ventura top European
1pt each-way 18-1 bet365

Scottie Scheffler to beat Pat Perez
1pt 10-11 Betway, Hills

Preview

Russell Henley has been handed a dream tee-time with which to attack his favourite course on day one of the Houston Open and the 2017 champion looks wonderful value at 40-1 to end the round atop the leaderboard.

Henley can boast form figures of 7-4-5-1-8 from his last five visits to the Golf Club of Houston and the Georgia lad will be keen to bow out in style before this tournament moves to a new venue next season. From the first group out on the first tee at 7.15am local time (1.15pm UK and Ireland), the three-time PGA Tour champion can lay down an early marker on fresh greens.

Henley has always been capable of incredibly low scoring, illustrated by his final-round 61 in the John Deere Classic in July, and a run of seven successfully made cuts in a row means he can approach Houston with confidence. A little more breeze is forecast for the later groups.

Another juicy price to consider is the 18-1 about Kristoffer Ventura ending the week as top European. Henrik Stenson is a short-priced favourite, creating the fancy odds next to less established players like Ventura, a two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour last season.

Ventura carded four rounds in the 60s for 18th spot in the Shriners last week and could enjoy a good enough Houston debut to lead the European contingent.

Scottie Scheffler is competing in his home state this week and the star of the Korn Ferry Tour last season should be favourite against Pat Perez in a Houston match. Betway and Hills go 10-11 your-choice in a draw-no-bet market.

Perez, although third in the Shriners on Sunday, suffered a fall before his final round which created a few niggles, so he may not be fully fit for Houston.


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