Golf Rankings for Shell Houston Open
Steve Stricker [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #177
Since 2006, Stricker has finished 11th or better with a pair of top-fives in half a dozen starts at Restone. He began the season by winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and finished T8 in his most recent start at Doral. Consider Stricker the safest play nearly every week he suits up thanks to his 46 consecutive cuts, more than doubling that of Gary Woodland, owner the second longest active streak.
Phil Mickelson [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #21
From 2008-10, Mickelson failed to finish in the top 20 at Restone but went on to win this event last year. After winning at Pebble Beach and finishing with a share of second at Riviera in February, Lefty only managed a T43 at Doral and a T24 last week at Bay Hill. Despite the mini slump, Phil is 19th in All-Around Ranking and capable of defending his title facing a fairly soft field.
Keegan Bradley [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #119
Bradley has been among the most consistent players on Tour this season, so don’t worry about last year’s T51 at Restone. In eight starts this season he’s collected two top-10s and has yet to finish worse than 22nd. Bradley places seventh in scoring average and fifth in All-Around Ranking.
Lee Westwood [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #39
Following finishes of T11 and T8 at Restone, Westwood left the site with a share of 30th last year. Since competing stateside in late February, the Englishman finished fourth in both the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and The Honda Classic before T29 at Doral. Among the field this week, Westwood is the highest ranking player on the OWGR chart and deserves heavy consideration.
Hunter Mahan [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #170
Since 2006, Mahan has finished 11th or better at Restone in four of six starts, but missed the cut in the other two. Prior to last week’s T42 at Bay Hill, Mahan had not finished outside of the top 25 in each of his five starts this season, highlighted by a win in match play. Mahan currently sits second in total driving and 17th in All-Around Ranking.
Johnson Wagner [Yahoo Class C]
While Wagner has not finished inside the top 35 at Restone since winning at the site back in 2008, he’s a prime selection this week. This season Wagner has one win, three top-fives and five finishes of 13th or better to place him atop the FedExCup standings. Wagner finds himself seventh in strokes gained – putting, 12th in scoring average and 20th in All-Around Ranking.
Graeme McDowell [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #78
During the month of March, McDowell has been on a roll. He owns finishes of T9 at The Honda Classic, T13 at Doral and is coming off a solo second at Bay Hill. The Irishman has not competed at Restone since 2006, but is playing well enough to overlook that and start with a very high degree of confidence.
Charl Schwartzel [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #22
Following a pair of consecutive top-fives at the Honda and Doral, Schwartzel surprisingly missed the cut at Copperhead. The South African will head to Restone where he finished T3 in 2010 and T30 a year ago before moving on to defend his crown at the Masters. While this might look like nothing more than a tune up for Augusta, Schwartzel can get it done here too.
Ernie Els [Yahoo Class C]
In order to avoid missing his first Masters since 1993, Els needs to win this week. However, his finish at Restone has declined over the last three years. After finishing T14 in 2009, Els slid from T44 to T51 last year. Els is coming off back to back top-five finishes this season, so a victory isn’t farfetched after leading at Copperhead until a late meltdown on the last two holes.
Aaron Baddeley [Yahoo Class C]
Over his last three stroke play events Baddeley has finished no worse than 12th with one top-five. The Australian finished a career-best T4 at Restone last year and is carrying a hot putter. Baddeley is currently fourth in strokes gained – putting and seventh in birdie average.
Henrik Stenson [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #6
Back in 2009, Stenson finished T3 in his only career start at Restone. He’ll return to the site three years later with three finishes of 21st or better this month. If Stenson had played enough rounds this year to qualify, his scoring average would currently rank third on Tour. The Swede is certainly playing well during this hot streak and could present an excellent value.
Bryce Molder [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #109
Following a T8 at Restone in 2010, Molder would miss the cut at the site last year. In seven starts this season Molder owns three top-15s and five top-20s. After missing 10 cuts in 13 starts at one point in 2011, Molder has only missed one cut this season and is quickly becoming a very dependable option.
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