I am not sure that even D.A. Points saw last weeks victory coming, but he should be thanking that putter his mother gave him. We now move to the Valero Texas Open played at beautiful TPC San Antonio. This is the week before the Masters and once again most of the players will take this week off. The top ranked player this week (World Golf Rankings) will be Rory McIlroy. Though it is an extremely weak field, I do see an excellent opportunity to grab yet another winner.
Located in San Antonio, Texas, this course has only been the home of the Valero Texas Open for 3 years. TPC San Antonio is a 7522 yard Par 72 course that demands a player’s full attention and creativity. With a plethora of different holes and ways to play the golf course, fans should be treated to another very exciting week.
The course only features 3 water hazards and 58 bunkers (though they are placed very well), but instead utilizes the player’s difficulty to hit fairways and greens. Course designer Greg Norman did an excellent job making the course a test for the Tour professionals. With windy conditions expected this week, put a premium on Driving and ability to hit Greens in Regulation.
The most difficult hole on the course is the 454-yard 1st hole. A Par 4 to begin the players round that will test them right out of the gate. The average score here over the last 2 years has been 4.2, meaning most players will be thrilled to walk away with a par.
The easiest hole on the course over the past 2 years has been the Par 5 14th. This hole has played to a stroke average of 4.6 and is a must birdie on this course. At 567 yards it is the shortest of the Par 5’s, and with an accurate drive most players will go for it in 2.
With very little top end talent, the field is a little more wide open than most weeks. This means we can find some value with players who have played well this year but have not won. We will also look into players who have previously played well at TPC San Antonio.
Plenty of attention will be on the World Number 2 Rory McIlroy this week. He announced last week that he needed more competitive reps and that playing this week will hopefully have him ready for Augusta. His game has been completely off this year, and there is no reason to think that will change at TPC San Antonio.
Ben Curtis will return to defend his championship along with a slew of young talent. Look for mistakes to happen as some players have not played TPC San Antonio before. Also players from the Texas area tend to thrive when playing in their home state.
Steve’s Free Pick for the Valero Texas Open
BRENDON DE JONGE 70 TO 1 – The big man continues to put himself in position to pick up his first victory on the PGA Tour. Brendon likes to play plenty of golf, as this will be his 12th Tournament already in 2012 ( Rory has about the same number of rounds as he does tournaments). He has four Top 15 finishes to date this season, and should be able to carry over his hot play from Sunday at The Shell Houston Open. De Jonge fired a final round 66 last week to finish in a tie for 10th. Brendon ranks 5th on Tour for Total Driving and this leads to plenty of birdies. He ranks 16th on Tour for Par 5 Birdie or Better percentage (52.52%). He will not be thrown off by the wind this week as he has enjoyed success playing in breezy conditions. I attribute his success when the wind picks up to his solid ball flight and ability to be very accurate. Look for De Jonge to post a low round coming out of the gate this week and be in contention come Sunday.