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Best bets for PGA Houston Open

November 9, 2021 08:33 PM
Viktor Hovland is now the unofficial mayor of Playa del Carmen as he won the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba for the second consecutive year at 18-1 by four strokes over Carlos Ortiz. During a driving range session on Wednesday, Hovland lent Danny Lee his driver for a speed-training session, and it wound up getting snapped into pieces. James Hahn lent Hovland a backup driver, which was a half-inch shorter and had a different shaft. Hovland hit the new driver about 10 yards shorter on average, but the lower ball flight proved to be more suitable at El Camaleon and helped Hovland to tie for second in the field for driving accuracy. Hovland became the first player to successfully defend a title on the PGA Tour since Brooks Koepka at the 2019 PGA Championship. 
The PGA Tour returns stateside this week for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open. Sam Burns (16-1) was the 54-hole leader last year, but a 2-over final round dropped him to T-7. Since that faltering final round, Burns has won two PGA Tour events (Valspar and Sanderson Farms) in 2021. Meanwhile, Scottie Scheffler (18-1), off a fourth last week in the Mayakoba, still seeks his first PGA Tour victory. Sungjae Im (22-1) won last month at the Shriners Children's Open in Las Vegas. Cameron Smith (25-1) finished T-2 in the Masters at this time last year. Matthew Wolff (25-1) was the first-round leader at Mayakoba last week but settled for a T-5. However, his game seems to be coming back into form. Tony Finau (25-1) won in August at the Northern Trust. 
Tyrrell Hatton (28-1) finished T-7 here last year and five of his seven worldwide wins have come in the fall portion of the schedule. Koepka (30-1) finished T-5 last year and served as a consultant on the redesign of this course. Joaquin Niemann (30-1) rallied for a T-5 last week at Mayakoba. Talor Gooch (33-1) shot a final-round 63 to finish T-4 here in 2020. Ortiz (35-1) returns to Houston to defend his title from 2020.
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