PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

Our golf writer previews the Valero Texas Open set to take place between 19 April and 22 April at TPC San Antonio.

The PGA Tour tees it up in the Lone Star State for the third time in five weeks, with San Antonio playing host to the Valero Texas Open. First staged way back in 1922, the Valero Texas Open is one of the older events on the Tour.

It was hosted at La Cantera Golf Club between the years of 1995 and 2009, until it migrated to current home TPC San Antonio. Sergio Garcia will be looking to put that cringe-worthy Tin-Cup Augusta meltdown behind him as he heads a field that contains a host of simmering contenders.

Valero Texas Open | 19 April - 22 April | TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course), Texas

The Greg Norman designed TPC Antonio is a real test for the players, ranking as the 10th toughest course out of 50 on last year’s PGA Tour. Affectionately known as the Oaks, the abundant oak trees are to be avoided on a course that has fairways of varying width. The unique course design will see all downhill holes playing into the prevailing winds, whilst the uphill ones play downwind. The Bermuda fairways are exposed and the wind is a huge factor at this event. The greens are overseeded with bentgrass and poa.

Defending champion Kevin Chappell will be looking to double up on a course that tends to reward familiarity. Sergio Garcia rather short, especially in the wake of that horrorshow at Augusta. The likes of Charley Hoffman and Matt Kuchar will lead the American charge, whilst there will be various players looking to gain precious FedEx Cup points in the absence of true big name players.

Past Winners
2017: Kevin Chappell (-12)
2016: Charley Hoffman (-12)
2015: Jimmy Walker (-11)
2014: Steven Bowditch (-8)
2013: Martin Laird (-14)

To Win Outright:
Sergio Garcia 14/1 | Matt Kuchar 18/1 | Charley Hoffman 18/1 | Luke List 25/1 | Ryan Moore 28/10

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Value Bets

Billy Horschel- To Win 35/1, To Place 15/2
The mercurial Horschel is perhaps one of the most infuriating players on tour, always dealing with some drastic swing renovation or injury rehabilitation. His course form here reflects that Jekyll and Hyde tendency, with figures of 74-75-3-MC-3-4-MC at TPC San Antonio. The former back-to-back FedEx Cup event winner has started to show glimpses of his best form of late, with a fifth at Hilton Head last week. He has a decent pedigree in Texas, having won the Byron Nelson Championship last season. He also finished runner-up in the Houston Open in 2013, so he should be quite confident this week, especially at a course that tends to reward familiarity.

Scott Piercy- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
Looking back at recent champions, the ability to deal with windy conditions around this exposed course is crucial. The Las Vegas resident has honed his game in blustery conditions, with a second Round 65 at Hilton Head last week coming in conditions of 15-20 mph winds. One look at his performances in similarly wind affected events makes for intriguing readings. He has three top 25 finishes in his last four Sony Open starts. He also finished T4th and T6th in his last two starts at the OHL Classic- another wind affected Greg Norman design. He is coming for consecutive top 25 finishes and could be a factor this week.

John Huh- To Win 80/1, To Place 17/1
Huh managed to finish runner-up at this course in 2012 despite an opening round of 77. He reversed that trend last season, sitting second going into the final round before that dreaded 77 popped up on Sunday. Born in South Korea, the naturalized American is hardly the most attractive bet, but comes in with some encouraging form. He was fifth for driving accuracy in Houston- where he ultimately finished T32- and was 12th for GIR at the Heritage- where he ultimately finished T23. He has finished T26 or better in four of his last six events. He also won at the Greg Norman designed El Camaleon in 2012 and has a third placed finish at the CareerBuilder this season.

The Man to Beat- Charley Hoffman- To Win 18/1, To Place 39/10
The languid American just loves it around this course. The 2016 Champion has impressive course figures, reading 6-2-13-3-11-11-1-40. And that 40 must be taking with a pinch of salt, as it came in the wake of that considerable Augusta meltdown last season. Hoffman has played the course in 41 under par since 2010. To put that into perspective, Aaron Baddeley is placed second over that time frame with a score of 18 under par. I expect Hoffman to perhaps return to contention after another solid start to the season.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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