Expert picks: Valero Texas Open

Jordan Spieth could do well in a return to the state of Texas at the PGA Tour's 2014 Valero Texas Open this week, according to experts' picks (shown here during this year's WGC Match Play).

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Former Texas Longhorns player Jordan Spieth and Brendan Steele are two of the players drawing interest from our experts in their picks for this week's Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour.

Spieth has played well much of this season, and a homecoming could be just what he needs to put four solid rounds together.

Here's a look at the picks of our staff experts:

• • •

Jeff Rude, senior writer

Favorite: Jimmy Walker

Keep an eye on: Jason Kokrak

Don't forget about: Jordan Spieth

Sleeper: Brendan Steele

Comments: Walker is a three-time winner this season, playing a home game, rested since Doral and tied for third here in 2010. . . . Texan Spieth has three top fives this year and four other top 25s. . . . Kokrak is coming off fourth place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a week after tying for 14th at Valspar Championship. . . . Steele won the Texas Open in 2011 and tied for fourth in 2012; he has five top 25s this season, including T-20 at Arnold Palmer Invitational.

• • •

Jim McCabe, senior writer

Favorite: Jason Kokrak

Keep an eye on: Brendan Steele

Don't forget about: Ryan Palmer

Sleeper: Peter Uihlein

Comments: Have to love the way Kokrak is “trending” and first-time winners have been the rage of late. . . . Palmer is well-rested and well-suited to golf in his native state, while Steele won here in 2011 and has a comfort zone on TPC venues. . . . Uihlein has shown a lot of polish and certainly is in his element among the best the PGA tour can offer, especially on a track like this.

• • •

Adam Schupak, senior writer

Winner: Jordan Spieth

Don't Forget About: Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk

Keep an Eye on: Billy Horschel, Charley Hoffman

Sleepers: Freddie Jacobson, Brendan Steele

Comments: If everything's bigger in Texas, then nothing would top a Texan boy wonder on top. Spieth has been a victim of one bad round, usually Saturday, this season. Not this week. Time to get win No. 2. . . . Johnson has won the event twice, though at a different course, and always plays well in Texas. . . . Furyk finished T-3 here last year with Horschel and Hoffman (2nd, T-13, T3 last three years). . . . Steele won here in 2011 and finished T-4 in '12. . . . Jacobson has played every VTO since the event moved to TPC San Antonio in 2010 and never has finished outside the top 18 during that stretch (second in 2010).

• • •

Nick Masuda, digital director

Favorite: Jordan Spieth

Keep an eye on: Zach Johnson

Don’t forget about: Pat Perez

Sleeper: Chesson Hadley

Comments: Spieth is due for a victory, and no better place to do it than in his home state. My gut tells me he is going to be a major factor at Augusta and I think a little run starts now. . . . Zach Johnson is like a gnat that just won't go away, seems to love this event (two victories, at different course) and always is primed for Augusta. . . . Pat Perez has quietly (I know, go figure) enjoyed a very good season. I think his new demeanor is helping. . . . Hadley is a great story and he needs a top-five finish (at least) to get inside the top 50 and earn a spot in the Masters. Here's betting he does it.

• • •

The Valero Texas Open field, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings

  • 6. Matt Kuchar
  • 7. Zach Johnson
  • 14. Phil Mickelson
  • 15. Jim Furyk
  • 19. Charley Hoffman
  • 22. Jordan Spieth
  • 23. K.J. Choi
  • 29. Brendon Todd
  • 32. Ryan Palmer
  • 37. Jimmy Walker
  • 40. Kevin Chappell
  • 42. Brendon de Jonge
  • 45. Billy Horschel
  • 48. Jason Kokrak
  • 49. Kevin Na
  • 50. Will MacKenzie
  • 53. Stuart Appleby
  • 56. Russell Knox
  • 61. Justin Leonard
  • 63. Jerry Kelly
  • 64. Camilo Villegas
  • 68. Martin Laird
  • 70. Ernie Els
  • 74. Pat Perez
  • 80. John Senden
  • 81. Michael Putnam
  • 82. Jeff Overton
  • 83. Will Wilcox
  • 84. Daniel Summerhays
  • 85. Brian Davis
  • 86. Ben Martin
  • 88. Freddie Jacobson
  • 89. John Merrick
  • 90. Bryce Molder
  • 92. Brooks Koepka
  • 97. Brendan Steele
  • 98. Cameron Tringale
  • 103. John Peterson
  • 107. Ryo Ishikawa
  • 108. Ben Crane
  • 109. Richard H. Lee
  • 122. Jason Bohn
  • 123. Bo Van Pelt
  • 124. Morgan Hoffmann
  • 125. Carl Pettersson
  • 130. John Huh
  • 134. Josh Teater
  • 136. Tim Wilkinson
  • 137. Jim Herman
  • 139. Chesson Hadley
  • 140. Justin Hicks
  • 141. Martin Flores
  • 143. David Lingmerth
  • 144. Jhonattan Vegas
  • 156. Peter Uihlein
  • 162. Nicolas Colsaerts
  • 164. Seung-Yul Noh
  • 165. William McGirt
  • 166. Luke Guthrie
  • 167. Branden Grace
  • 168. Retief Goosen
  • 169. Brian Harman
  • 172. Brian Gay
  • 175. Peter Malnati
  • 177. Chad Collins
  • 179. Matt Bettencourt
  • 184. Nicholas Thompson
  • 187. Erik Compton
  • 196. Andres Romero
  • 200. D.H. Lee
  • 202 . Ted Potter, Jr.
  • 206. Wes Roach
  • 209. J.J. Henry
  • 215. Tyrone Van Aswegen
  • 216. Danny Lee
  • 218. Brad Fritsch
  • 225. Padraig Harrington
  • 226. Brice Garnett
  • 231. Robert Streb
  • 234. Scott Langley
  • 240. Michael Thompson
  • 243. Scott Brown
  • 246. Geoff Ogilvy
  • 254. Billy Hurley III
  • 256. Greg Chalmers
  • 257. Aaron Baddeley
  • 258. Charlie Wi
  • 259. Jamie Lovemark
  • 265. Steven Bowditch
  • 266. James Hahn
  • 271. Tim Herron
  • 274. David Toms
  • 275. Kevin Tway
  • 276. Edward Loar
  • 278. Mark Wilson
  • 281. Trevor Immelman
  • 283. Bud Cauley
  • 286. Ricky Barnes
  • 288. Alex Prugh
  • 294. Kyle Stanley
  • 298. Joe Durant
  • 310. Hudson Swafford
  • 312. Ben Curtis
  • 317. Sean O'Hair
  • 324. Heath Slocum
  • 325. Kevin Kisner
  • 329. John Rollins
  • 331. Jeff Maggert
  • 338. Andrew Svoboda
  • 351. Robert Allenby
  • 356. Charlie Beljan
  • 370. Tommy Gainey
  • 388. Troy Merritt
  • 391. Woody Austin
  • 397. Miguel Angel Carballo
  • 400. Daniel Chopra
  • 405. Troy Matteson
  • 414. Bronson La'Cassie
  • 416. Mike Weir
  • 418. Alex Aragon
  • 422. Lee Williams
  • 427. Andrew Loupe
  • 441. Joe Ogilvie
  • 489. Scott Gardiner
  • 514. Johnson Wagner
  • 517. Jim Renner
  • 535. Stephen Ames
  • 581. Paul Goydos
  • 613. Scott Verplank
  • 645. Bobby Gates
  • 661. Cameron Beckman
  • 673. Benjamin Alvarado
  • 758. Kevin Foley
  • N/R. Briny Baird
  • N/R. Hunter Brown
  • N/R. Harrison Frazar
  • N/R. Fred Funk
  • N/R. Dudley Hart
  • N/R. J.B. Holmes
  • N/R. Derek Lamely
  • N/R. John Mallinger
  • N/R. Jay McLuen
  • N/R. Mike Miller
  • N/R. David von Hoffmann
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