After a rousing finish at Hilton Head Island, S.C., over the weekendthat crowned Wesley Bryan champion, the PGA Tour headsback to Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open.
Luke Donald lost to Bryan by one shot at Harbour Town. Donaldhas now finished in the top 3 at the RBC Heritage seven times in the last nine years, but still has not won the event. He is back in the field this week trying to rediscover the form that once saw him rise to No. 1 in the world rankings.
Where is the Texas Open played?
Relatively newTPC San Antonio, a 7,435-yardspar 72, which opened in 2010, will once again play host to the event. Newlyminted Masters champion Sergio Garcia served as a consultant to chief designer Greg Norman when constructing the course.
The fairways are tight and the trees have some wicked undergrowth, making wayward shots very penal.Five years ago, Kevin Na recorded a 16 at the par-4 ninth hole after struggling to free himself from right of the fairway.
Who won theTexas Open last year?
Charley Hoffman edged out Patrick Reed by one shot to win his fourth PGA Tour event. Hoffman rose to 34th in the world rankings after the win. He has since dropped to 49th, though he did prove he can hang with the world's best players while contending at the Masters earlier this month.
Who are this year's favorites to contend?
Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Branden Grace, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed appear to be the favorites on paper because of their pedigrees and past success on this course.
Grace, ranked 21st in the world, finished T-9 here last year having just won the RBC Classic the week before. He finished T-11 at Hilton Head this yearand has four top-25 finishes worldwide since the Sony Open in Hawaii. His low ball flight helps him in the stiffTexas winds.
Walker has not recorded a top 10 since theSBS Tournament of Champions to kick off 2017. He battled mono throughout the latter part of the winterand is only just getting back to full strength. He won here in 2015and finished T-18 at the Masters.
Kuchar arguably enters the tournament in the best form of anyone in the field. After a T-4 at the Masters, helped by a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th, he finished T-11 last week after a 7-under 64 Sunday. Though he doesn't have a rich history here, this may be the week he adds another win to his total.
Reed, believe it or not,has just one top 10 worldwide since the Ryder Cup.Hehas missed his last two cutsand has become something of a forgotten man with numerous young stars playing well in 2017. His success at this course might kick-start his season.
Sleepers fortheTexas Open
Billy Horschel and Kevin Chappell have come close to winning this event a few times. Horschel just introduced a daughter into the world, but he is expected to play this week. Chappell, who finished T-7 at the Masters, finished T-4 here last yearand T-2 in 2011.
Horschel has three top-4 finishes at this course in the last four years. Though he has just one top 10 all year, Horschel should be a dangerous player this week on a course in which he's comfortable putting up low scores.
Horse for the course
There are a number of players who could feature here. Tracking past leaderboards of this event might make you feel a sudden case of deja vu. However, Daniel Summerhays is the true thoroughbred of this course in recent years.
Summerhays has gone T-13, T4, T2 and T7 in his last four trips here. Peppering the leaderboard on a consistent basis is hard to do, but Summerhays obviously likes what he sees at TPC San Antonio.
Other guys, such as Ryan Palmer, Zach Johnson and Cameron Tringale, also have rich histories here.