2009 Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open
Thurs. May 14 Sun. May 17, 2009
The Resort Course (La Cantera GC) San Antonio, TX
Golf Channel/CBS

by Matt of Predictem.com

A revamped 2009 schedule has the players in the Lonestar state for three straight weeks, and that swing kicks off Thursday with the Valero Texas Open. Zach Johnson recorded his lone win of 08 at the Valero and returns to defend his title. Many of the upper echelon players on Tour skip this stop to rest coming off the PLAYERS Championship, so this will be a wide open event. Justin Leonard will be shooting for his fourth Texas Open title this week and highlights a field that features a number of local favorites. Catch all the early round coverage on The Golf Channel with CBS airing the weekend finish.

La Cantera is not your typical PGA host course. The Weiskoph design plays a bit short by Tour standards at 6,896 yards and the par-70 layout features only one par-5, the 625+ yard first. Low scores can be had even without multiple par-5s; Bart Bryant shot a course record 60 on the way to winning the 2004 event. Look for the sharp iron players to set the pace all week and a good recovery game will be needed to navigate the 70+ bunkers on the course.

Here are our picks to win the 2009 Valero Texas Open. Weve selected a short, middle and long odds player that we think has a chance to take the title this week. Weve taken a look at the golf sportsbooks for a few head to head matches and picked some winners there as well. Odds to win and line information courtesy of the board at Superbook.

Short: Tim Clark (15 to 1 to win)
Clark has been a model of consistency in the early part of the season, making nine of ten cuts with seven top-25s and three top-10s. Most recently Tim ran T9 at the PLAYERS and only a spotty round here and there has kept him out of the winners circle. Accuracy numbers are looking good this week and Clark ranks in the top-25 in both fairways and greens and has the 6th best putter on Tour in terms of GIR average. Clark ranks 2nd in the all around category and has the 5th best birdie per round average at 4.26.

Middle: Chad Campbell (25 to 1)
Campbell has had an up and down campaign to this point, but is a good bet to make the weekend with only two MCs in 11 starts. Chads been off since the playoff at the Masters, but getting in front of the home fans should boost the confidence and drop the scores. Campbell is longer than average off the tee and his 26th rank in greens mixes well with the stat sheet to land him at 31st in the ballstriking rank. Chad really does nothing poorly and should have a solid chance to contend by just turning one bogey round into a par.

Long: Brian Gay (30 to 1)
Gay is another player with a solid 09 track record, missing just one cut in 12 events and logging three top-10s, including a win at the Verizon Heritage. Brian withdrew due to illness at last weeks PLAYERS, but the Fort Worth native should be back to 100% given the rest and the bump from the home crowd. Gays overall ballstriking is a bit down the page, mostly due to a 270 yard average drive, but ranks 2nd in fairways hit and 34th in greens. Thats a great combo when you also have the 29th best putts per round average and the 5th best scrambling percentage. A course like La Cantera sets up well for a run at win number two.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)

* all matches are for entire tournamentcheck with your favorite golf sportsbook for single round matches, updated daily.

John Mallinger (-115) v. Charlie Wi (-115) (Wi)

These players are eerily close in the ballstriking numbers, both ranking in the top-75 in both fairways and greens and nearly identical at 65th and 66th in the actual ballstriking category. With all the similarities, Wi still comes out ranked 37 spots better in the all around, which is a great measure of intangibles and scoring on the course has everything to do with the intangibles.

Daniel Chopra (-135) v. Nick OHern (+105) (OHern)

Chopra and OHern are likewise very close on the stat sheet, although neither ranks very high in any significant category. Given the similarities, it seems a bit odd that Chopra is such a heavy favorite. Im taking OHern here the same way I would take a NFL home dog up against a mediocre offense.

Good Luck!!