Power Rankings: Cadence Bank Houston Open

Hideki Matsuyama, Will Gordon, Luke List and David Lingmerth will be among the notables discussed in Draws and Fades.

In its first two years since returning to host the annual stop in Houston — it served as the site for 14 editions in the mid-20th century and shortly after the tournament was launched in 1946 — Memorial Park has been the most challenging track down the stretch. Last year’s course average of 70,799 reflects some relief, but it was still just a hair stronger than Colonial Country Club among all par 70s in 2021-22, and remember that winds gusted to 30 mph and stronger over the weekend in North Texas later in the season.

Memorial Park is unusual as a par 70 in that its route includes five par 3s and three par 5s. While most courses that are new to most golfers present a reasonable test only in the context of unfamiliarity, Memorial Park hasn’t budged much despite the emerging relationship. Consider that all three par 5s are ranked within the top-40 most difficult of the 163 par 5s played all of last season. As a group, they ranked second in difficulty, and that was after tying the number of most challenging in the 2020-21 super season. So having the muscle to move it off the tee has merit, but actually capitalizing on par 5s isn’t as much of a goal because they don’t beat it.

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In general, Memorial Park is no joke, and the lushest of the Bermuda bushes is a tad taller this year at 2½ inches. Bermuda greens are still willing to run up to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, and are ready to defend as the stingiest in average yielding pair of breakers from last season. Although the host course ranked a solid and fair T16 in greens in regulation among all courses, no other has surrendered a lower conversion percentage for birdies and better with a putt in hand.

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Primary levers have been pulled for rate management and patience this week. Distance is a bonus, but only if used. Setting plays more than usual.

After a couple of days with seasonal conditions, jackets and umbrellas will be the norm by Saturday. Daytime temperatures could drop as low as 20 degrees, with highs around 60 degrees if that, and the wind will be refreshing as rain is a coin toss. Things should settle down a bit for the finale.

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SCHEDULE OF ROB BOLTON

PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton provides a recap and overview of each tournament from a number of perspectives. Look for his next scheduled contributions.

MONDAY: Ranking of powers
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Draws & Fades
WEDNESDAY: Pick ‘Em Overview
SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Medical Expansions, Qualifications, Change, Novice Ranking

* – Rob is a panelist for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which he also publishes on Tuesdays.

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