Valero Texas Open 2016 Preview

Written by Commodore Vegas for @Hollywoodbets.

Valero Texas Open | Thursday 21 - 
Sunday 24  April | Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio

Usually played in the week’s leading up to the Masters, the Valero Texas Open has suffered a relegation of sorts this year. Coming a fortnight after the Masters, interest is low, with a fairly mediocre field on display in the Lone Star State. None of the world’s top 10 players will be there, while just nine of the world’s top 30 players will tee it up in Texas.

Local lad Jimmy Walker took home the title last year, but in previous season’s it’s paid to look beyond the obvious at the par 72 Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. Last year’s scoring average of 74.52 was the highest on the PGA Tour last season and with three holes measuring over 591 yards, the ability to hit the ball long is a definite advantage here.

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule on what it takes to win here. Last year’s result suggest being American is a good place to start. The wind will likely become a factor, but after heavy rain earlier this week, low scoring in the opening round can be expected. Scoring will get tougher over the weekend, so players will look to fire early and ride it out. Let’s see if anyone fits the bill.

Last Six Winners
2015 – Jimmy Walker -11 | 2014 – Steven Bowditch -8 | 2013 – Martin Laird -14  |
2012 – Ben Curtis -9 | 2011 – Brendan Steele -8 | 2010 – Adam Scott -14

To Win Outright
Jimmy Walker 16/1 | Branden Grace 18/1 | Zach Johnson 18/1 | Matt Kuchar 20/1

Value Bets
Charley Hoffman First Round Leader (34/1)
It may not have paid off in the Masters, but I have a feeling this punt could come good this week. Hoffman loves this course having finished among the top 15 nine times out of his last 10 visits. He’s coming off a T14 at Harbour Town and loves to fire on a Thursday. One negative is his early tee-off time, which could prove pivotal. Perhaps play for smalls and look at the later tee-offs for some value – Thomas Aiken perhaps.

Thongchai Jaidee (140/1 Win & 30/1) 
A bit of an unknown prospect on the PGA Tour, the man from Thailand has been dangerously overlooked by the bookies this week. Those that follow the European Tour will know he has the temperament to win – his seven European Tour titles will attest to that. Yet somehow, the world number 43 has over 40 players shorter priced than him in the betting. I don’t mind much, that’s value any way you put it. Fill your boots.

Billy Horschel (30/1 Win & 66/10) 
One of the shorter prices in the field, Horschel gets my pick among the favoured group. Dechambeau is still a bit green, Patrick Reed is having a mare with the putter and Branden Grace is too short after winning last week. Horschel offers some value on the back of two third-place finishes here in the last three years. He also knows how to knuckle down when the weather gets nasty, which it inevitably will in Texas.

Aaron Baddeley (70/1 Win & 15/1)
The final member of my motley crew is Australian Aaron Baddeley. There’s a theory that Aussies fare well in Texas thanks to the similarities to their homeland. An Australian won this tournament two years ago and have generally fared pretty well on the Greg Norman-designed course in the past. Baddeley has a solid record at TPC San Antonio and has been running hot with the putter this season. If he can keep that run going, we could be in the money come Sunday, even if it means shouting home an Australian.

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