By Walker Polivka
The PGA Tour season continues this week as it visits Memorial Park Golf Course for the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and player to fade predictions.
Player to Fade: Jason Dufner- It has been a grind for Jason Dufner lately, missing the cut in 16 of his 22 PGA Tour starts last season and in all 4 starts so far this season. Dufner, who last finished inside the top 10 at the 2019 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, has been spraying it all over the map in the early part of this season, hitting just 46% of his fairways and only 65% of his greens. Memorial Park Golf Course is a course suited for ball strikers and Dufner is about as cold as you can get in that department. Dufner missed the cut in both of his previous starts here and is a lock to miss the cut again this week.
Dark Horse: Matthew NeSmith- NeSmith has gotten off a terrific start this season, as he has had 3 straight top 10 finishes in 4 starts, highlighted by a T-2 finish at the Shriner Children’s Open. NeSmith hasn’t really had much previous success in this event, with a best finish of T-46 coming here last year in 2 previous starts. Even so, NeSmith has momentum on his side and fits the ball striker mold, ranking 19th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green, 38th in Strokes Gained; Putting, and 4th in Greens in Regulation Percentage. A win is not that far-fetched at this point, but a top 20 is certainly doable for NeSmith.
Top 10: Joel Dahmen- Dahmen has also had a solid start to his season, with 3 top 20 finishes in 5 starts, highlighted by a T-3 finish last week at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Dahmen is no stranger to success at Memorial Park Golf Course, as he finished T-5 here last year. Dahmen is also one of the fine ball strikers on tour, ranking 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, inside the top 40 in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee and Approach the Green, and inside the top 50 in Driving Accuracy Percentage and Greens in Regulation Percentage. Dahmen will definitely be in the mix for a win this week, but a top 10 seems almost certain at this point.
Winner: Sam Burns- A three-time winner on the PGA Tour last season, Burns is off to a decent start in the new season, with 1 top 10 and a pair of top 30’s in his 2 starts. Burns has had great success at Memorial Park Golf Course in the past, finishing T-7 here each of the last two years. Burns’ recent success has hinged on his putting, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Putting on the season. Burns ranked inside the top 20 in both Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and Putting last season, two areas that are key for success in this event. We predict that Burns will get the ball rolling this week and pick up his first victory of the season in the Cadence Bank Houston Open!