SUDDENLY some of the best players in the world are beginning to show top form coming into the Masters.
Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy have all won in the last few weeks.
And on Sunday Bubba Watson was in sparkling form when he won the Dell Match Play in Austin. Also showing good form was Thomas, Alex Noren and Kevin Kisner who all reached the semi-final stage with Kisner losing heavily in the final to Watson.
There is still an Augusta place up for grabs this week in Texas at the Golf Club of Houston. Because of that there is a good field, which also includes guys just wanting to hone their game for Augusta, including Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenton and Matt Kuchar.
Golf Club of Houston: 7441 yards, par 72
The course runs through wooded countryside in Houston’s north-east suburbs. Designer Rees Jones and consultant David Thomas took care in preserving the lakes and wetlands through the course. It is well known to be set up to imitate the Augusta course with shaved banks, collection areas and greens that run around 13 or more on the stimpmeter. So a good course to play before the Masters.
With three top-10 finishes this year 33-year-old Luke List has been showing some good form. It is a surprise he hasn’t yet got his first PGA Tour win under his belt.
He played some good golf to finish second in the Honda Classic last month when he pushed Justin Thomas all the way to a play-off. He then followed that up with a T16 at the Valspar and a T7 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
A sinus problem and broken putter hampered him last week in Austin. This is a course that will suit the Californian and with the top guys maybe concentrating on honing their skills for next week, sinus problems sorted and a new putter this could be his chance to get that elusive first win.
- GIR: 67.38 (64th) Par 4 Scoring Average: 4.01 (41st)
Cabrera Bello is making his third consecutive appearance in Houston with mixed results. Last year he missed the cut but finished fourth the previous year.
He has been a steady player on the PGA Tour over the past two years with four top 10s in 2017 and three in 2016. This season he has three with a T3 at the WGC-Mexio Championship and a T5 at the WGC-HSBC.
The Spaniard has the game to win on the PGA Tour and although he doesn’t hit a particularly long ball he has the accuracy which can help him here.
- GIR: 71.83% (6th) Par 4 Scoring Average: 3.99 (25th)
Kuchar may not have won a PGA Tour event since the RBC Heritage in 2014 but he has had 14 top fives, including a T4 at the Masters last year.
This year he has a T5 at the WM Phoenix Open and T9 last weekend in Austin. Lost in a play-off here four years ago to Matt Jones and has a very up and down relationship with Houston.
The Kooch will be doing his own thing and getting in the groove for next week. Think he’ll be there or thereabouts.
- GIR: 68.86% (49th) Par 4 Scoring Average: 4.00 (36th)