We were very close last week with our William McGirt tip finishing just two shots off the winner in 3rd place at the RBC Heritage. This week our attention turns to the Valero Texas Open.
Where: AT&T Oaks Course, San Antonio, Texas
When: Thursday 20th April (10:00pm first tee)
The Valero Texas Open started 95 years ago and the winner received $1500. There’s now over $6 million in the prize pool with a first-place prize over $1.1 million. The event itself is managed by one of Greg Normans many enterprises. Even though “the great white shark” never won the tournament, many other Australians have had success here. Including Adam Scott in 2010. In the past many big names have won this event such as Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead. However, lately the big names have been leaving the Texas Open off their schedule. The highest ranked golfer this week is Patrick Reed (ranked 15th in the world) and the tournament favourite is Brooks Koepka ($17 Ladbrokes) who isn’t even in the top 20 in world rankings.
The current champion Charley Hoffman is back to defend his title. He out lasted Patrick Reed in 2016 with a score of 276 (12 under par) to win by one stroke. TPC San Antonio and Texas in general is known to get very windy. However, this year’s weather forecast seems very golf friendly, therefore we can expect similar scores or even better than last year.
This is also the event that made Kevin Na infamous. In 2011 on the 474-yard par 4 (ninth hole) Kevin Na drove his ball into the woods and instead of taking a drop he proceeded to hack away. 16 shots later Kevin Na made every club golfer around the world feel a whole lot better about themselves.
The 40-year-old Texan native has been consistently good at this event year after year. He finished 6th in 2015 and 4th last year. Last week at the RBC Heritage he put four good rounds together to finish just outside the top 10 in 11th place. Palmer hit 72.22% of greens and should begin the Texas Open with plenty of confidence.
After finishing 7th at the Masters Kevin Chappell was one of my first picks for last week’s RBC Heritage because he has such a good record there. However, he skipped the Heritage this year. He is still searching for his first PGA Tour win and he is getting very close. Chappell has six 2nd place finishes including a 2nd place at the Players championship in 2016. He finished 2nd here in 2011 and 4th last year. He has a great chance to get his first PGA Tour victory this week.
Another player who took a week off after finishing in the top 10 at the Masters. Ryan Moore is making his first start here since 2012 where he finished 8th. He finished 7th in FedEx Cup rankings last year and knows how to get it around.
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