After a Covid-enforced break in 2020, The Texas Open is back with just one week to go before the first major of the season.
Despite a somewhat weaker field than last week, there’s plenty to be excited about as Corey Conners finally has a chance to defend his 2019 title alongside past Masters champions Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, and Danny Willett.
Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth will make one more start in his run-up to the Masters and returns to TPC San Antonio having finished T30 in 2019, his first start at Valero since 2015 when he finished runner-up.
Course: TPC San Antonio – The AT&T Oaks Course
Length: 7,435 yards (Par 72)
Architect: Greg Norman, in consultation with Sergio Garcia
The tour makes the short trip from Austin to just north of San Antonio and TPC San Antonio (The AT&T Oaks Course) for the last preliminary tournament before the Masters next week.
While the field isn’t spectacular due to The Masters being just a week away, we do get the continuation of what I think is the most interesting story in golf this year, the return of Jordan Spieth.
TPC San Antonio is a relatively open parkland course that usually plays tough especially when the Texas wind kicks up. The players will face some tough to hit fairways (10% lower than tour average) protected mainly by bunkers and some water (on 3 holes).
The greens are Bermuda on the larger side but with players struggling to find them in regulation (58% compared to tour average of 65%) we get another data point for the toughness of TPC San Antonio.
Besides bunkers, the greens are protected by many severe shaved run-off areas so if you want to contend you better bring your around the green game.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Strokes gained around the green
- Good drives
- Proximity 150-175 yards
- Bermuda putting
- Par 5 scoring
- Bogey avoidance
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 158 units
Won: 352.42 units
Result: 194.42 units
Waste Management: Brooks Koepka @ 41-1, Genesis Invitational: Max Homa @ 56-1, The Players Championship: Justin Thomas @ 19-1
Spieth continued his way back to the top of the game with a solid match play performance last week getting out of the group undefeated before losing a close match to Kuchar. With him not getting further, he should be fresh to compete at a course where had back-to-back top 10s including a runner-up when he last was the player he is starting to become again now.
His form is second to none with five top 15s in his last six starts including three top 5s. His iron play has been out of this world gaining 4,5 strokes over the last five tournaments, his short game and putting has never been a problem and has also been good and over the past month his nemesis the driver has even started to cooperate with him gaining off the tee in 3 of his last 4 starts.
As regular readers will know I like to bet proven winners and if there is one thing Ryan Palmer is not it is a proven winner on this level, his solo PGA win came over a decade ago.
That being said everything is pointing to the Texan playing in his home state on a course where he has three top 6 finishes in the past five years.
Last week he played good getting eliminated without losing a match after being sent packing after a playoff loss to Rahm after winning his first two matches.
His long game has been solid gaining both off the tee and on approach in four of his last five start which included a runner up at the Farmers and a solid T17 at the Players.
With even his sometimes-unstable putter coming around with Palmer gaining over a stroke on the greens over his last 10 tournaments I can’t see a better spot for the veteran to finally get his second win.
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