Fantasy Tip Sheet: Shell Houston Open

Ernie Els at No. 6 during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Ernie Els at No. 6 during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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Ernie Els has made his intentions well known - he wants to get into the field at Augusta. He has to win this week to make that happen, and two of our panelists think that he will.

The Shell Houston Open acts as a last-ditch opportunity for plenty of golfers to earn a spot in the field at the Masters, and for the first time since 1994, Els is one of those guys.

After a pair of prime opportunities the last two weeks in Florida, Els will take on an impressive field that includes Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker.

Fred Couples is also making an appearance on Tour, a week after a dramatic win on the Champions Tour. Our Jeff Rude thinks he has enough gas to make a run for it at Houston.

As for our fantasy panel, Lance Ringler took top honors this past week by picking Els and Jim Furyk, but Alex Miceli is still at the top of the overall rankings for the year. Jim McCabe and Rude both picked up ground on Miceli with solid weeks as well.

Take a look at who our panelists like this week:

Rank Winner Wild Card Last Week
Rude Ernie Els

Should have won Transitions and tied for fifth at Bay Hill. He's not only in form but needs to win to get back to the Masters.

Fred Couples

Coming off Champions Tour victory. Has won here before. Has Thursday-Friday comfort pairing with buddy Phil Mickelson.

Winner: Webb Simpson ($27,650); wild card: Ernie Els ($209,571). 2012 total: $4,111,324.

McCabe Hunter Mahan

Now conventional wisdom would predict a missed cut. After all, since 2007 his performance at this tournament has gone T-5, MC, T-6, MC, T-8 . . . so a MC would keep the trend alive. But here's another trend to take stock in – Sean Foley students (Mahan, Justin Rose, Tiger Woods) have been playing beautifully and winning.

Johnson Wagner

He's already qualified for the Masters, so he doesn't need a repeat of his 2008 win in Houston that sent him to Augusta. But the consistency with which he has played this year makes him an attractive choice.

Winner: Webb Simpson ($27,650); wild card: Stewart Cink (MC). 2012 total: $4,151,970.

Martin Matt Kuchar

He's up to his usual consistent ways, having finished in the top 25 in five of six starts this season, including three consecutive top-10s. Kuchar has finished eighth at the past two Houston Opens.

Henrik Stenson

He finished third in his last start in Houston (2009) and has finished in the top 25 in his past three starts (21st-3rd-15th) after years of struggle.

Winner: Justin Rose ($96,000); wild card: Sang-Moon Bae (MC). 2012 total: $3,123,221.

Miceli Lee Westwood

Two weeks off and getting ready for the Masters, what's better then winning the week before?

John Rollins

Likes to play two and three weeks in a row. Guess what? This is his third in a row.

Winner: Robert Garrigus (MC); wild card: Ernie Els ($209,571). 2012 total: $4,468,183.

Ringler Steve Stricker

Always seems to play well when you somewhat forget his name. First start since T-8 at Doral and recorded three top 10s in fours 2012 starts. Recent form at Shell Houston Open shows us four top 11s in last five starts.

Ernie Els

By ranking only is Els a sleeper. Els, who has made the cut each event played in 2012, has posted top 5s in his last two PGA Tour starts.

Winner: Jim Furyk ($132,000); wild card: Ernie Els ($209,571). 2012 total: $2,283,934.

Who is in the field, based on the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings:

  • 1. Steve Stricker
  • 3. Lee Westwood
  • 10. Phil Mickelson
  • 11. Charl Schwartzel
  • 15. Hunter Mahan
  • 17. John Senden
  • 26. Peter Hanson
  • 27. Rickie Fowler
  • 28. Aaron Baddeley
  • 31. Bud Cauley
  • 32. Carl Pettersson
  • 33. Keegan Bradley
  • 39. Pat Perez
  • 40. Spencer Levin
  • 42. Jeff Overton
  • 45. Ryan Moore
  • 47. Robert Allenby
  • 48. Kyle Stanley
  • 49. Brandt Jobe
  • 51. J.B. Holmes
  • 55. Brian Davis
  • 56. Anders Hansen
  • 57. Ernie Els
  • 59. Andres Romero
  • 60. Graeme McDowell
  • 64. Scott Verplank
  • 66. Kevin Streelman
  • 68. Johnson Wagner
  • 70. John Huh
  • 71. Charley Hoffman
  • 72. Padraig Harrington
  • 74. Josh Teater
  • 75. Y.E. Yang
  • 76. Bryce Molder
  • 79. John Rollins
  • 85. Chris Stroud
  • 87. Ryan Palmer
  • 88. Louis Oosthuizen
  • 90. Cameron Tringale
  • 91. Brian Harman
  • 92. Thomas Bjorn
  • 93. Ricky Barnes
  • 94. Harris English
  • 99. Brendon de Jonge
  • 100. Ben Crane
  • 104. Chris Kirk
  • 105. Chad Campbell
  • 106. Jimmy Walker
  • 109. Stewart Cink
  • 110. Matt Every
  • 112. John Mallinger
  • 113. Michael Thompson
  • 119. D.A. Points
  • 122. David Hearn
  • 123. Kris Blanks
  • 124. Nick O'Hern
  • 127. William McGirt
  • 128. Blake Adams
  • 132. Kevin Stadler
  • 133. Scott Piercy
  • 134. Lucas Glover
  • 137. Chris Couch
  • 139. Sean O'Hair
  • 140. Camilo Villegas
  • 142. Bill Lunde
  • 143. Billy Mayfair
  • 146. Paul Casey
  • 149. Rod Pampling
  • 153. Brendan Steele
  • 154. Heath Slocum
  • 159. J.J. Killeen
  • 165. Harrison Frazar
  • 166. Tim Herron
  • 167. Seung-Yul Noh
  • 168. Jonas Blixt
  • 169. Marco Dawson
  • 172. Ted Potter, Jr.
  • 174. Chris DiMarco
  • 180. Michael Bradley
  • 185. John Merrick
  • 196. Danny Lee
  • 199. Boo Weekley
  • 201. Erik Compton
  • 206. D.J. Trahan
  • 207. Ben Curtis
  • 208. Jason Kokrak
  • 209. Vaughn Taylor
  • 210. Henrik Stenson
  • 216. Roberto Castro
  • 219. Marc Leishman
  • 222. Jhonattan Vegas
  • 231. Nathan Green
  • 233. Justin Leonard
  • 234. J.J. Henry
  • 235. Martin Flores
  • 238. Greg Owen
  • 241. Anthony Kim
  • 245. James Driscoll
  • 249. Troy Matteson
  • 254. Jason Bohn
  • 259. Miguel Angel Carballo
  • 261. Darren Clarke
  • 271. Mathew Goggin
  • 272. Troy Kelly
  • 281. Tom Pernice Jr.
  • 285. Mark Anderson
  • 287. Sunghoon Kang
  • 296. Graham DeLaet
  • 297. Tag Ridings
  • 298. Hunter Haas
  • 305. Jim Herman
  • 306. Steve Wheatcroft
  • 314. Bob Estes
  • 318. Billy Hurley III
  • 319. David Mathis
  • 323. Tommy Gainey
  • 326. Ryuji Imada
  • 333. Will Claxton
  • 353. Arjun Atwal
  • 359. Kevin Kisner
  • 360. Tommy Biershenk
  • 362. Joe Ogilvie
  • 386. Shaun Micheel
  • 391. Kyle Reifers
  • 393. Cameron Beckman
  • 406. Bobby Gates
  • 422. Colt Knost
  • 424. Richard H. Lee
  • 449. Jeff Maggert
  • 465. Roland Thatcher
  • 475. Matt Bettencourt
  • 479. Brendon Todd
  • 491. Stuart Appleby
  • 511. Angel Cabrera
  • 530. Daniel Summerhays
  • 548. Duffy Waldorf
  • 619. Jeff Curl
  • 627. Derek Lamely
  • 629. Gavin Coles
  • 731. Omar Uresti
  • N/R. Lonny Alexander
  • N/R. Fred Couples
  • N/R. Jamie Lovemark
  • N/R. Shawn Stefani
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