After a week in the South Carolina lowcountry, the PGA Tour trades Harbour Town, where precision is key, for TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks Course, which tops out at 7,435 yards.
Long-hitters will do well, but putting will also be key on this course’s large, challenging greens. And like we’ve seen before at this event, weather can be a big factor. (Remember 2015?) This year’s forecast does, however, look good.
Here are my top 25 players for this week’s Valero Texas Open:
1. Charley Hoffman: Nothing worse than T-13 in seven starts since 2010 Texas Open. That run includes his win last year and two other top-3 finishes, in 2011 (T-2) and 2013 (T-3). Faded late at Masters and missed the cut at Harbour Town, a course where he’s had success, so pick with slight caution.
2. Matt Kuchar: Hasn’t missed a cut at TPC San Antonio with three top-15 finishes in five starts since 2012. Was T-4 in 2014. Posted strong finishes at Augusta and Harbour Town, and enters this week coming off finishes of T-4 and T-11 in those events, respectively.
3. Jimmy Walker: Won here in 2015, but also has three MCs in seven starts since his T-3 finish in 2010. T-18 at Masters was best finish since T-11 at Riviera.
4. Branden Grace: Love his game on this course. Has gone T-30, T-9 the last two years here. T-11 in Harbour Town further proves that his slump is over.
5. Brooks Koepka: Missed the cut last year after T-36 in Valero debut in 2014, but his length is an asset here. Enters this week coming off a T-11 at the Masters and a Round-of-16 appearance at the Match Play.
6. Kevin Chappell: T-4 last year at Valero and has made four of six cuts in the event, including a runner-up showing in 2011. Also coming off his best finish of the season, a T-7 at Augusta.
7. Brendan Steele: 2011 Texas Open champ has two other top 10s here, plus a T-13 last year. Has yet to miss a cut this season and is coming off a T-27 at Augusta.
8. Ryan Palmer: Seems to have really figured out TPC San Antonio with finishes of T-4, T-6 the last two years. Has three top 10s and has missed just one cut in seven Valero starts since 2010. Game is coming around, too, as he was T-11 at Harbour Town.
9. Daniel Summerhays: His last four starts here look like this – T-7, T-2, T-4, T-13 (last year). Made cuts at Masters and RBC Heritage.
10. Ryan Moore: T-8 in 2012 is his only start here other than 2005. Played nicely at Masters with a T-9.
11. Billy Horschel: Feels comfortable here with three top-4 finishes in last four trips. Missed the cut at Harbour Town, but remember his wife gave birth to their second child last Tuesday, and you can’t argue he’s a course horse in San Antonio.
12. Ollie Schniederjans: Nearly won in Harbour Town, but his game is probably better suited for TPC San Antonio.
13. Soren Kjeldsen: Bombers do well here but so do guys with deft short games. Kjeldsen falls into the latter category. First-timer here, but T-36 at Masters was his worst start in last four worldwide starts.
14. Adam Hadwin: Missed cut in 2015, his only Texas Open start. But he’s a different player now. Has a win and no finishes worse than T-39 in his last seven Tour starts.
15. Luke Donald: T-13 in Valero debut last year and is coming off a runner-up finish at Harbour Town, arguably his best course on Tour.
16. Patrick Reed: Game fits this course well and he proved it with his runner-up finish in his Valero debut last year. Highest-ranked player in this year’s field, but also coming off two straight MCs. Hasn’t had a top 10 since Kapalua.
17. Tony Finau: T-68 in only Valero start, in 2015, but has the length to compete here. Well rested as he hasn’t played since T-34 in Houston.
18. Ben An: First visit to TPC San Antonio, but his game fits this course. T-33 at Masters and still hasn’t missed a cut since he was disqualified from last year’s Italian Open.
19. Zach Johnson: Won this event in the two years right before it moved from LaCantera to TPC San Antonio. T-6, T-20, T-29 (2016) the last three years here. Hasn’t had his best season but seemed to be gaining some momentum before MC at Masters.
20. Sung Kang: T-42 in Texas Open debut last year. Playing well right now – T-2, T-11 in last two starts. Ride the heat wave.
21. Chris Kirk: The last two years here he’s gone T-8, T-13 (last year). Current form is a worry – he’s missed three of his last four cuts worldwide.
22. Kevin Na: T-20 here in 2015 after T-11 the previous year. Followed MC at Masters with T-39 at Harbour Town.
23. J.J. Spaun: T-6 in Hilton Head came after his fourth straight cut made.
24. Jhonattan Vegas: Not great record here – T-68, MC the last two years – but one would think his length will be a nice asset. Had four top 17s in five starts before MC at Augusta.
25. Jamie Lovemark: T-36 in Valero debut, in 2014. Not great form coming in, but has made five of last six cuts on Tour.