PGA Tour Picks: 76th Houston Open

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Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler is gunning for his third consecutive victory this week.

Scheffler, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The 50th Players Championship in his last two starts, is a heavy favorite in the 76th Texas Children’s Houston Open, which begins Thursday at Memorial Park Golf Course.

After four tournaments in Florida, this is the first of two straight events in Texas before the 88th Masters in two weeks, and Scheffler will try to become the first player to win three straight starts on the PGA Tour since Dustin Johnson in 2017.

“I don’t really think much about that kind of stuff,” said Scheffler, who has won eight times on the PGA Tour in the last three years, including the 2022 Masters. “I had a good rest week at home last week. I was pretty worn out after Bay Hill and Players, so it was nice to get home and just relax.

“I didn’t do nearly as much practice as I typically would have in the last week, so coming in shaking off a little bit of rust the last couple days. But game feels like it’s in a good spot, so I feel rested and ready to go this week.

“As well as I am playing, I still think I can get better, so I’m trying to improve on some little things.”Fourth-ranked Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, is the only other player in the top 10 of the World Golf Rankings in the field.

However, Clark’s participation is in jeopardy because he sustained a back injury working out in the gym earlier this week.

Tony Finau is the defending champion, having won the Houston Open by four strokes late in 2022 before the PGA Tour decided to move the tournament to the Spring, so it was not played last year.

“This be the first time it’s been played since I won in 2022 on the same golf course,” sais Finau said, who has won six times on the PGA Tour. “So I’m definitely looking forward to that. One of my goals this year, because I’ve had a few chances to defend titles, was to defend one of my championships. So the last chance I have is in Houston, so I’m looking forward to that.

“So instead of having it this past fall, it is now in the spring, but it’s great. It’s a golf course obviously that I really like. Leading up to the Masters, I think it’s important for me to get a nice finish to maybe get another [win] going into Augusta National to give me some confidence that I can get it done.”

Other players in the field include Jason Day of Australia, Will Zalatoris, Si Woo Kim of South Korea, Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, Alex Noren of Sweden, Stephan Jaeger of Germany, Keith Mitchell, Aaron Rai of England, Billy Horschel, Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, Cam Davis of Australia and Peter Malnati, who captured the Valspar Championship last week.

Past champions of the Houston Open include Byron Nelson, who won the first edition of the tournament in 1946, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player of South Africa, Cary Middlecoff, Gene Littler, Raymond Floyd, Curtis Strange, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh of Fiji, Adam Scott of Australia, Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Payne Stewart, Stuart Appleby of Australia and David Duval.


1. Scottie Scheffler, United States — The No. 1 player in the world is coming off victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship, and will try to become first first player on the PGA Tour to win three straight since Dustin Johnson in 2017. Scheffler’s best results in the Houston Open were tie for second in 2021 and a tie for ninth in 2022.

2. Wyndham Clark, United States — The fourth-ranked Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, is coming off a tie for second in The Players after claiming his third PGA Tour victory in February in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. His best finish in three starts in the Houston Open was a tie for 18th last year, when he was third before closing with a 73.

3. Tony Finau, United States — The defending champion claimed one of his six PGA Tour victories by four strokes in the 2022 Houston Open. In six other appearances in the event, his best results were ties for 24th in 2018 and 2021. Finau’s best results this year were a tie for sixth in the Farmers, a tie for 13th in Mexico and a tie for 19th in the Genesis.

4. Jason Day, Australia — The 2015 PGA champion, who has 13 victories on the PGA Tour including the 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson, has tied for sixth at Pebble Beach, finished solo ninth in the Genesis and tied for 10th in The Sentry this season. Day has made six starts in the Houston Open, with his best a tie for seventh in 2021 and a tie for eighth in 2008.

5. Will Zalatoris, United States — While his only PGA Tour victory came in the 2022 FedEx Championship, he had a strong run recently when he tied for 13th in the Farmers Insurance Open, tied for second in the Genesis Invitational and tied for fourth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Zalatoris is making his debut this week in the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

6. Si Woo Kim, South Korea — Claimed his fifth victory as a pro and fourth on the PGA Tour last season in the Sony Open in Hawaii. Kim is coming off a tie for sixth in The Players Championship and he also tied for 12th in the Phoenix Open in addition to a tie for 14th at Pebble Beach. He tied for 16th in the 2016 Houston Open and tied for 35th in 2022.

7. Sahith Theegala, United States — The former Pepperdine star captured his only PGA Tour victory in the 2023 Fortinet Championship, and this season he was second in The Sentry, fifth in Phoenix, tied for sixth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and tied for ninth in The Players. Theegala tied for 22nd in Houston in 2022 after tying for 61st the year before.

8. Alex Noren, Sweden — Although Noren has yet to win on the PGA Tour, he has 11 victories around the world including the Omega European Masters twice and the BMW PGA Championship. The Swede tied for ninth in the Cognizant Classic and tied for 19th in The Players recently. He tied for fourth in the Houston Open in 2022 after missing cut in 2020.

9. Tom Hoge, United States — Has recorded five top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, including a tie for sixth at Pebble Beach, solo eighth in the Genesis and a tie for 12th in the Genesis Invitational. Hoge, whose only PGA Tour victory came at Pebble Beach in 2022, has played in Houston six times but his best is only a tie for 46th in 2021.

10. K.H. Lee, South Korea — Winner of the AT&T Byron Nelson in both 2021 and 2002 has four victories as a professional and might be getting close to another one after tying for fourth in the Cognizant Classic and tying for ninth in the Valspar Championship recently. Lee is making his first appearance in Texas Children’s Houston Open this week.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Keith Mitchell, United States; Aaron Rai, England; Billy Horschel, United States; Mackenzie Hughes, Canada; Kurt Kitayama, United States; Thorbjorn Olesen, Sweden; Beau Hossler, United States; Jake Knapp, United States; Thomas Detry, Belgium; Taylor Moore, United States; Peter Malnati, United States.


1. Garrick Higgo, South Africa — Seven-time winner as a pro, including the 2021 Palmetto Championship, he recently was T-16 in Cognizant Classic. Missed Houston cut in 2022.

2. Tom Whitney, United States — Four-time Air Force Golf champion and three-time Armed Forces champion, finished T-13 in the Farmers. Making his Houston Open debut.

3. Callum Tarren, England — Winner of the Jiangsu Open in China when he won the Order of Merit, also was T-2 in the 2022 RSM Classic. Was solo 26th in the 2022 Houston Open.

4. Parker Coody, United States — Two-time winner on lower tours finished T-24 in Mexico Open and T-25 in the Farmers Insurance Open. Coody is making debut in Houston Open.

5. Rico Hoey, United States — The former USC star has won on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Canada. He is another player making his first apperance in the Houston Open.

For first-round tee times and complete results once the tournament starts, visit:

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