The tour rolls on and this week welcome to San Antonio Texas, the host city for the Valero Texas Open, where things are always “unapologetically Texan.” 13 of the top-30 in the World Golf Rankings will be in the field including Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Dustin Johnson. The Valero Texas Open is played at the Greg Norman/ Sergio Garcia designed AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. The Norman/Garcia design kept nature and environmental issues at the forefront of the design. According to Norman:
“The topographic subtleties of the rolling Texas Hill Country terrain, framed by magnificent stands of mature live oaks, create a pristine natural setting that is as playable as it is beautiful”
Dates: March 16 -29 2015
Course: JW Marriott TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course
Stats: Par 72, 7,522 yards
Television Broadcast Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 1:00 – 3:00 PM EST, NBC 3:00 -6:00 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 1:00 – 3:00 PM EST, NBC 3:00 -6:00 PM EST
Purse: $6.2 million total purse, $1.116 million winner share
Valero Texas Open Swing Holes
When players approach the 481 yard, par-4 fourth hole they will be in for quite the test. This monster also boasts one of the narrowest fairways at the AT&T Oaks course. Assuming players find their way into the fairway, which is a must, they will be left with a hybrid or long iron into a green protected by oak trees and a rock backdrop behind the green. Players will also have to navigate the bunker complex around the green and large swooping putting lines. If this hole can be played in even par it will be like stealing a couple from the field.
The 474 yard, par-4 ninth hole is unique in that it lacks a bunker but don’t let that fool you. Players are once again forced to push the driver in order to leave a manageable second shot into one of the deepest greens here at the AT&T Oaks course. The native vegetation and mix of crud off this fairway must be avoided. Hitting this hole in two is a must as this green falls off in any direction. Nor scared yet? In 2011, PGA Tour pro Kevin Na managed to card a whopping 16 here. Par, par and more pars should be on the players minds here.
The 591 yard, par-5 finishing hole at the AT&T Oaks course is fitting and frankly impressive. It is deserving challenge for players looking to win the Valero Texas Open. If the length is not enough here, the hole plays uphill and slopes from right to left. There are not many in the field that will get home in two here, instead players should focus on the right side of the fairway. But this layup must take the creek and some challenging bunkers into account or risk a less than stellar finish. From there, a short iron will attack a three-tiered green that is protected by a few bunkers and that pesky creek. A player looking to make birdie and win the Texas Open just might end up with a double-bogey if they are not careful.
Valero Texas Open Top Picks
A full field will be at the TPC San Antonio this week for the event. With the Texas wind, challenging design and fairly evenly matched field who is the most likely to win this week at the TPC San Antonio? Attempting to pick a winner out of a full field event is a lot like a needle in a haystack. This year one of my top-3 has won more than one event including the last few weeks until Bay Hill where I admittedly missed. Let’s see if I can get things rolling again with 2015 PGA Tour predictions. It’s time to get to the predictions and picks for the 2015 Valero Texas Open.
|Freddie Jacobson||Since the Valero Texas Open moved to its new home at the Tournament Players Club San Antonio, Freddie Jacobson has finished 16th last year, 15th in 2013, 18th in 2012, fifth in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2010. In fact, 15 of his last 20 rounds at the TPC San Antonio have been at or below par for a combined 24 under par. He is not lighting it up in his last couple but he loves this event.|
|Zach Johnson||Johnson is familiar with the weather and the idea of spring golf in Texas. In limited starts at the Texas Open he was a back-to-back winner in 2008 and 2009 at La Cantera in San Antonio. Last year he returned after a couple of year hiatus and finished tied for 6th. In fact, in the Texas climate in the lovely city of San Antonio , Zach Johnson has shot 64 or lower on three occasions including a 60 in 2009.|
|Jordan Spieth||His last four starts include a tie for 17th at the Cadillac Championship, a tie for 4th at the Northern Trust, a tie for 7th at Pebble Beach and his second career win at the Valspar Championship. Success has eluded the Texas native in his home state but did finish 10th here last year and is playing much better than he was at this time last year. He could win in back-to-back starts.|