Stricker is Your Houston Winner

Just like last week I am going to attempt to pick this weekend’s winner nice and early.  Last week I had the great foresight to pick Graeme McDowell as my fantasy pick for Bay Hill.  As most of you know he shot a first round 80 to dig himself into a hole that proved to be insurmountable to stick around for the weekend.  Needless to say, I am looking for redemption this week and I think I may have found it in Steve Stricker.

Anthony Kim is the defending champ this week and it is always hard to pick against him.  Especially because I think he is a stud on the course and it is only a matter of time before he puts it all together for a multiple win season.  I just don’t think he has played enough this year to really get himself motivated enough to get that first win of the year.  Last year he didn’t drive the ball well and missed most of the greens, but still won.  Hopefully I don’t have to eat my words again this week.

I am going with Stricker for three reasons.  First, he is solid off the tee and hits greens in regulation like they owe him money.  Week in and week out he is a solid pick to hit a lot of fairways and greens.  Second, he is as solid of a putter as you can find and that paired with greens in regulation is always a positive.  Lastly and most importantly, I am going with Stricker because he ranks second in scrambling this year.  If Kim taught us anything last year it is that you can still score in Houston when you miss greens.  Stricker is basically the all around package for a winner this week.  He is a hybrid machine who hits greens and always gets up and down when he doesn’t.  I don’t see how I can go wrong with this pick.
Another guy I think will do well this week is Ben Crane.  If his back has healed at all he will be a contender.  He has played well through the beginning of the year, prior to his bad back and is an excellent putter.  He will find the bottom of the hole often if he is healthy.

Other guys I am keeping an eye on this week are Steve Marino and Jamie Lovemark.  I really believe Marion is due and you could really see the fire in his eyes coming down the stretch on Sunday this past week.  You can tell he wants it bad and he has proved he has the game to get him in contention.  If he isn’t still too crushed by his double bogey on 17 on Sunday I could see him will his way into the winner’s circle.  Lastly, I will be watching Lovemark closely.  This kid has proved his entire career that he is not just a good golfer but a winner.  NCAA champ and Nationwide Tour money leader.  He knows how to win and he will break through.  He has also had some back problems, but eventually he will get healthy and take the next step as a PGA tour winner.

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