The PGA Tour lands in Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open. The event is only in its’ third year at the AT&T Oaks course, and the Greg Norman design has proven quite the test in its’ short history. Last years scoring average was a little over 1.6 over par, with eventual winner, Brendan Steele, able to claim victory by posting a total score of 8 under par. Norman had help from Sergio Garcia in designing the course, and it sets up well for ‘good ball strikers’ – it’s just a
pity that Garcia himself isn’t playing this week.
Matt Kuchar, currently heads the betting at 12/1, and with four top-ten finishes in his last five events, his favouritism is probably justified, especially in this reasonably weak field.
While a ‘weak’ field may take away some of the prestige associated with this week’s event, its $1,116,000 prize for the winner is definitely not to be sniffed at, and many of the lower ranked players will consider this week as one of their best opportunities of the season to add to their pension fund. One such man is Jimmy Walker.
Walker will be looking to add to his three top-ten finishes already this year as he looks to build on his T3 finish here two years ago. Walker also lives in the area so I am also hopeful that he has been spending all of his free time relentlessly practicing for this specific event. Even if he hasn’t, the 50/1 available for him still represents good value.
Next up I’ll have a go at another 50/1 shot in the shape of Kevin Stadler. Stadler also has three top-ten finishes to his name this year and he is coming off the back of an impressive T4 finish last week. Stadler would have been in contention here last year were in not for a horrid second round 77 and with a bit more luck this year, he can definitely go close.
Lastly, I’ll have another go at Bud Cauley. Cauley has not been our friend so far this year, but he really has impressed me with his overall game, and in a few years time I expect him to be battling it out with McIlroy and company for majors. Until then we should take advantage of his large prices and hope for a bit more luck. Cauley is 33/1 this week, which I still think is too big in such a weak field. He will probably prove me wrong again, but until such a time as his price hits the 20/1 mark, he will always be on my radar.
There are some firms paying 6 places this week, so make sure you take full advantage and shop around.
Running total for 2012: +70 pts
Bets this week:
1 pt e/w Jimmy Walker @ 50/1
1pt e/w Kevin Stadler @ 50/1
1 pt e/w Bud Cauley @ 33/1