The Valero Texas Open gets underway on Thursday morning at TPC San Antonio with a modest field of PGA Tour Pros. Players with Masters invitations in hand are looking to get ready for Augusta next month like Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth. Others like Puerto Rico Open Champ, Chesson Hadley still needs a win if he wants to get to the Masters.
With some of the top European and Asian players in Malaysia this week for the inaugural Eurasia Cup, that leaves a somewhat watered-down field to play in Texas. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity for second and third tiered players to make some money, FedEx Cup points, and a possible Masters Berth.
TPC San Antonio is long, with narrow fairways, so who better to put at the top of the list than Matt Kuchar. The Kuch never seems to play well on the Florida Swing, but tends to warm up in Texas. Kuchar has had a bunch of top ten finishes this year, but hasn’t been able to visit victory circle in a points event. He missed his first cut in over a year and a half at Riviera and needs to get the rust off his game if he want to make a run at his first major this year.
Like Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson has the type of game for this golf course. His little draw, and immaculate wedge play was made for TPC San Antonio. Zach hasn’t played well since leaving the West Coast, but does own two victories in this event, and already has a Green Jacket in his wardrobe.
With a win on his resume already this season, he has no pressure this week, and that can be a formula for success.
Jim Furyk has been playing fairly well lately, and is in need of a win soon. He still struggles on the greens, and San Antonio would be a good place for the grinder to break out of his slump. Furyk finished T3 here last year, and has had three top 25’s this season including a T20 at Copperhead two weeks ago.
Jason Kokrak is one of the best players on the PGA Tour without a win on his resume. A solo 4th place finish at Bay Hill last week was the last in a line of decent finishes in 2014. He missed three cuts in 2014, but has two top tens. and seven top 25’s. He still needs an invitation to Augusta, and this would be a great week for the youngster to pick up his first win. A 73 on Sunday at Bay Hill short-circuited a nice run that could have very well ended with a trophy and hand shake from the King.
I like what I’ve seen from Chesson Hadley since winning the Puerto Rico Open. Unfortunately, that win doesn’t come with a Masters Invitation, so he is my Dark Horse pick for this week. The youngster missed a lot of cuts early in the year, but the win in Puerto Rico seems to have boosted his confidence.
Hadley is ranked 56th in Official World Golf Rankings, and could gain an invitation to Augusta with a couple of nice finishes in Texas. The sure-fire way however would be a win this week in San Antonio.
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