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Steve Stricker Heads The Field at the Houston Open

Steve Stricker Heads The Field at the Houston Open


Steve Stricker had two wins in 2010, but he’s coming off a rough stretch in his 2011 campaign as he looks to right the ship at the Shell Houston Open as the world’s best players get in their final tune-up before the season’s first major in Augusta next week.

Stricker started the season in fine form.  He tied for 4th in the season opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions where he finished four back of eventual playoff winner Jonathan Byrd.

The veteran then followed that up with a 9th at the Sony Open in Hawaii, but then the results began to slide and he comes to Houston not having cracked the top-15 in his last three events.

Regardless of the recent struggles, Stricker is the pre-tournament favourite at (8-1).

World number two Lee Westwood comes in behind Stricker at (12-1), but as always he’s a shaky top pick as he piles up top-10’s worldwide every year, but rarely gets a victory.

However, recently, Westwood has been increasingly underwhelming and hasn’t put up a result of note yet this season.  His best finish coming at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic where stumbled to a 15th place finish after failing to break par in his final two rounds.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Westwood contends this week as the game’s best tend to dial in coming into a major championship, but his recent run says it would be a surprise if he ultimately holds the trophy.

Phil Mickelson and Australian Nick O’Hern come in at (16-1) and Mickelson should have his game in order as he looks ahead to the Masters and defending his 2010 green jacket.

Granted, Lefty’s best finish in his last four events was a tie for 17th at the Accenture Match Play in late February.  Mickelson has been an afterthought for much of the season after his impressive start at the Farmers Insurance Open where he fell just inches short on 18 in his bid to catch Jhonnatan Vegas for the victory, but this is major season and Mickelson should be in fine form as he always is this time of year.

O’Hern, meanwhile, is a curious pick this high up the board.  He’s made just 3 of 8 cuts this season and has earned  paltry $75K.  With the odds given, he seems like a realy flier.


Winners are different. They're a different breed of cat    - Byron Nelson

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