PGA Tour Picks: Valero Texas Open

The PGA Tour remains in Texas this week ahead of the Masters for the 100th version of the Valero Texas Open on the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, where Texas native Jordan Spieth will try to become the first back-to-back winner of the event since Zach Johnson in 2008-09. 

Spieth ended a four-year non-winning streak last year when he closed with a 6-under-par 66 and held off Charley Hoffman for his 12th PGA Tour victory, but the first since the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. 

“Winning the Valero Texas Open last year was incredibly special for me and my family,” said Spieth, who is No. 17 in the World Golf Rankings. “We’re really looking forward to returning to San Antonio to defend my title and the fact that it’s the 100th anniversary of the tournament makes it even more exciting. 

“ … There’s peaks and valleys in this sport, but I never expected to go that long. Back then, in between wins, maybe I took things more for granted than I should have. It’s very difficult to win out here and I certainly enjoyed this one as much as I have any other. 

“This was a monumental win for me. It was a long road. There were a lot of times that I didn’t know I would be there again.” 

Other top players in the field are ninth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (pictured), who skipped the WGC-Match Play, reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Bryson DeChambeau, Gary Woodland, Abraham Ancer of Mexico, Si Woo Kim of South Korea, Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter of England and Jason Day of Australia. 

Texan Scottie Scheffler, who rose to No. 1 in the world by winning the WGC-Dell Technologies on Sunday for his third victory in his last five tournaments, committed to the tournament earlier but has decided not to play the week before the Masters.    

In addition to Spieth, former Valero Texas Open champions scheduled to compete are Corey Conners of Canada (2019), Andrew Landry (2018), Kevin Chappell (2017), Charley Hoffman (2016), Jimmy Walker (2015), Martin Laird of Scotland (2013) and Brendan Steele (2011). 

In addition to those past champions competing in the tournament, a number of legendary players and former Texas Open champions will be on hand during tournament week to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration. 

Among those winners of the tournament who are scheduled to appear are Deane Beman (1969), Ben Crenshaw (1973 and 1986), Hale Irwin (1977), Lee Trevino (1980) and Tom Watson (1987). 

BEST BETS 

1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland – The ninth-ranked McIlroy skipped the WGC-Match Play but is playing in the Texas Open to be ready for his eighth attempt to complete the Career Grand Slam by winning the Masters. He won the CJ Cup this season, finished third in the Dubai Desert Classic and has six results in the top 20. He was second in his only Texas Open start in 2013.  

2. Corey Conners, Canada – Started 5-0 in the WGC-Match Play before losing in the semifinals to Kevin Kisner, but rebounded to beat Dustin Johnson in the consolation match. Conners also tied for 11th recently in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and was solo 11th in the Sony Open. He claimed his only PGA Tour victory in the 2019 Valero Texas Open by closing with a 66.  

3. Bryson DeChambeau, United States – Even though he didn’t get out of Group Play in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, DeChambeau showed some signs of his old form and is still ranked No. 14 in the world. His best result this year is a tie for 25th in the Sentry TOC and could be ready to return to his old form. Missed the cut in the Texas Open in 2016 and 2017.  

4. Abraham Ancer, Mexico – The 16th-ranked Ancer reached the quarterfinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last week before being eliminated by Corey Conners of Canada. He also tied for seventh at Mayakoba and tied for 14th in the CJ Cup this season. Ancer’s best finish in four appearances in the Valero Texas Open came was when he tied for 23rd last year. 

5. Hideki Matsuyama, Japan – The 2021 Masters champion will warm up for this title defense with his second start in the Valero Texas Open, in which he tied for 30th last season after opening with a 67. Matsuyama, ranked No. 12 in the world, has won the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Zozo Championship this season and ranks fourth in the FedEx Cup point standings. 

6. Jordan Spieth, United States – The defending Valero Texas Open champion is back up to No. 17 in the World Golf Rankings after a slump in recent seasons. Spieth also finished second in the tournament in 2015 and was 10th in 2014. This season, he finished second in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, tied for 18th in the CJ Cup at the Summit and tied for 21st in the Sentry TOC. 

7. Gary Woodland, United States – The 2019 U.S. Open champion tied for fifth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Honda Classic during the Florida Swing and also tied for ninth in the CJ Cup at the Summit this season. Woodland’s best result in four appearances in the Valero Texas Open was a tie for sixth last season, when he shot 67-69 in the last two rounds.      

8. Carlos Ortiz, Mexico – A three-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2014, Ortiz also claimed his first PGA Tour victory in the 2020 Vivint Houston Open by two strokes over Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama. Ortiz finished solo second at Mayakoba this season, and he tied for sixth in his fourth start in the Valero Texas Open last year by shooting 67-69 on the weekend. 

9. Charley Hoffman, United States – This is one of Hoffman’s favorite events of the season, as he claimed one of his four PGA Tour victories in the 2016 Valero Texas Open by one stroke over Patrick Reed, and also finished second the last two years and in 2017 among six top-10 results. His best results this season were at tie for 22nd in the Fortinet and a tie for 28th at the Zozo.   

10. Chris Kirk, United States — A four-time winner on the PGA Tour after claiming three victories on the Korn Ferry Tour, Kirk has recently tied for fifth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, tied for seventh in the Honda Classic and tied for 14th in the WM Phoenix Open. Kirk’s best finish among three top-10s in the Valero Texas Open was a tie for sixth last year.    

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jason Day, Australia; Jimmy Walker, United States; Henrik Stenson, Sweden; Martin Laird, Scotland; Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Rickie Fowler, United States; Matt Kuchar, United States; Si Woo Kim, South Korea; Cameron Champ, United States; Adam Hadwin, Canada.  

SLEEPERS 

1. Maverick McNealy, United States – Only player to go 2-0-1 in the WGC-Match Play and not advance, has finished second in the Fortinet and T-7 in the Genesis. Making Texas Open debut.  

2. Matt Jones, Australia – Finished third in Sentry TOC, T-15 in Genesis and T-18 on Zozo this season. Playing in the Texas Open for 10th time and finished T-13th in 2017 and T-22 in 2010. 

3. Robert MacIntyre, Scotland – Two-time winner on the DP World Tour who was T-8 in 2021 Open Championship finished T-15 in the Genesis Invitational. Making his debut in Texas Open. 

4. Chad Ramey, United States – Claimed his first PGA Tour victory, second as a pro, last week in the Corales Puntacana Championship, after also winning the 2021 Live and Work in Maine Open title on Korn Ferry Tour. Also T-5 in Puerto Rico Open, T-14 in Shriner’s this season. 

5. Brian Stuard, United States — Winner of 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans finished T-7 at Puntacana and T-9 in the Honda Classic this season. Stuard also was T-4 in 2019 Texas Open.  

For first-round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html      

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

2,267FansLike
354FollowersFollow

Latest Articles