Late entries from Rory McIlroy, who is trying to recapture some consistency and Marcel Siem 66/1 who was the winner of last weekends Trophee Hassan ll, rock up at this weeks Valero Texas Open, which is played on the demanding 7,435 yard Greg Norman designed TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course, which had some input from Sergio Garcia.
It’s a tough track and any player who suffers from claustrophobia will not enjoy the tight narrow tree lined fairways here. If you miss the first and second cuts of rough you are in deep trouble, with thick knee-high native grass just off the second cut of the fairway.
Once a player has negotiated the tee shot then they have to aim at greens that are guarded by 12-foot deep bunkers. The greens are in near perfect condition and ample in size but they have plenty of movement in them, with lots of slopes, undulations, spines and ridges.
I think the odds on both Rory McIlroy 9/1 and Charl Schwartzel 10/1 are a bit restrictive. I can understand those odds with Charl Schwartzel, but Rory is still struggling. I am not sure how many of the top players would really like to win the week before The Masters. They would like to play well and be in contention, but you don’t really get many back-to-back wins especially going into a Major. So I am going to go for players who would take a win here and HOPE to do well next week, if they have an invite that is!!
My tips to win:
Henrik Stenson 25/1 comes into this week in great form after shooting a final round 66 to take the runners-up spot at last weeks Shell Houston Open. If you are a regular follower to this guide you will know we have tipped Henrik a few times and with his power it’s always been a matter of time before he started to get back to where he was and I don’t think it will be long before he adds to his two PGA Tour victories.
Fredrik Jacobson 25/1 has played in the Valero Texas Open six times and has only been outside the Top 25 once (29th in 2004) and the last four years he has only been outside the Top 5 once (18th in 2012) so you could say he seems to like this event. He’s also in great form this year and from his six events he has missed out on the Top 25 once and has three Top 10 finishes.
Another player in good form is Ian Poulter 22/1 and while I am saying that I don’t think too many players could feel they could win The Masters after winning the week before, Ian Poulter is a player who would believe he can. His record this year on the PGA Tour is played four with two Top 10s and two Top 25s. In the other tournament he was just outside the Top 25. He also won the Tavistock Cup which is an unofficial PGA Tour event.
There are so many good each-way bets this week, but I am going with Peter Hanson 40/1, another player who is using this as a warm-up to The Masters, but he’s another player who has a great record so far this year and this lad knows how to win on the European Tour. He won twice last year and his record of played four with three Top 20 finishes and a runner-up in the Tavistock Cup add a couple of Top 25 finishes on the European Tour so far this year, shows the Swed is in solid form.
I am going to stick with Chris Kirk 40/1 this week, as I stated last week the Georgian has two top 5 finishes and a missed cut from his seven events so far this season and he’s just had his second Top 25 finish on the spin. It’s only his second full season on the PGA Tour, but he has two Web.com and 1 PGA Tour victories to his name already.
This week’s outside tip is Justin Leonard 100/1. Justin has won this title three times and has two runners-up finishes. Leonard my not be the force in golf he once was but he can still produce a Top 5 finish as he showed at the Tampa Bay Championship three weeks ago and in a tournament he seems to enjoy, and at these odds it’s got to be worth a couple of quid each-way.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com