The Valero Texas Open
Dates: April 14 17, 2011
Course: TPC San Antonio San Antonio, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Pro Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
A nice breather is in order after a wild finish to The Masters, but the PGA seldom rests and the Tour is on to San Antonio for the 2011 Valero Texas Open. Many of the top Tour stars are taking a rest this week and several of the best Euro players are headed back overseas, but a solid field remains to take on the TPC San Antonio, including defending champion Adam Scott. With any luck, a wide open field full of hungry youngsters will produce the same type of finish that we saw a week ago. The Golf Channel has the early round coverage with CBS picking up the weekend finish.
The Valero Texas Open has a long history in the San Antonio area, but the TPC San Antonio will be serving as the host course for just the second year. The par-72 layout will play over 7,500 yards for the championship and features two par-5s that measure over 600 yards. A Greg Norman design makes the track flow a bit different than your normal Texas course, but the challenge of hitting the ball long and in the fairway remains, along with the potential for the wind to become a major factor. TPC San Antonio played as the 17th most difficult course in the 2010 Tour rotation and the winning score should come in the 12 to 16 under par range.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think can win it all. We give you a short, middle and long odds golfer to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any online betting site. Here are our picks to win the 2011 Valero Texas Open with odds and matches courtesy of the board at Bodog.
Short Favorite: Adam Scott (10 to 1 odds to win)
The defending champ got off to a so-so start in 2011 but has come on strong with a T6 finish at the WGC-Cadillac and a T2 at the Masters in recent starts. A 66/67 finish to grab the win last year is a good indicator that something about the course fits his eye and his stat sheet looks pretty well suited for another run this year. Scott hits the 11th most fairways on Tour and is long enough to come in at 10th in total driving along with the 15th best GIR%. No one has a better birdie or better percentage on the par-5s than Scott and that will be a factor this week.
Middle of the Road: Bo Van Pelt (22 to 1 odds to win)
After missing the cut in four of his first five starts this year, Van Pelt has righted the ship and made some noise on Sunday at Augusta, eventually finishing T8. BVP did play here last year and notched a T28, and that course familiarity will give him an advantage over the first timers at least. Bo is currently 3rd in total driving and in the top-35 in both fairways hit and ballstriking so the tee to green game is looking good. The putter has been spotty, but he did putt well to get in contention last week and there arent many tougher greens that what he saw at the Masters.
Longshot: Kevin Na (40 to 1 odds to win)
Despite missing the cut last week, Kevin is off to another good start to the year with two top-10s, including a solo 3rd at the Northern Trust. Hes making a ton of birdies as well; ranking 15th in total birdies entering the week and is 10th in par-5 birdie or better percentage. It all comes down to the putter for Na and he is in the top-10 in both putting average and putts per round and is currently 19th in birdie average. He is long enough to win here, so a good week with the irons should have him on the front page come Sunday.
Head to Head Matches (our pick to win) *matches are for entire event. Check with your bookie for single round matches, updated daily and prop bets.
Ryan Palmer (-115) v. J.B. Holmes (-115) (Holmes)
Palmer is the steadier player in this match, but its hard to pick against the longest driver on Tour on a course that is 7,500+ yards long. Holmes is the better putter as well and owns too big of an advantage in birdie average to side with Palmer this week.
Scott Verplank (-115) v. Brian Gay (-115) (Verpank)
Two very similar players matched in this one and both will have some crowd support as native Texans. Both are shorter players but hit a ton of fairways and putt well but Verplank owns the edge in greens hit and birdies made. This one should be a close match, but Verplank just seems to get up for the Lonestar State events.