Valero Texas Open Predictions to Win
Dates: March 26-29, 2015
Course: TPC San Antonio
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, Pro Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
With just two events left before Augusta, the PGA Tour and the players are going full-throttle in preparation for the years first Major. The Florida Swing is behind us as we move into a Texas two-step, beginning with this weeks Valero Texas Open. This event has roots back to 1922 and nearly all of the greats have teed it up at various incarnations of this Texas stop but recent schedule movements have seen more journeymen win titles in the last few years. Two weeks before the Masters is a prime spot however, and a strong field is in attendance, led by the likes of Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
The players will fight it out at TPC San Antonio as they have since 2010 and the Greg Norman design has shown the tendency to play very difficult at times. Last years winner, Steven Bowditch, survived a final round 76 to win by one as only two players managed to break 70 on Sunday. Bowditch was the only player to card three rounds in the sixties on the 7,435 yard, par-72 course last year and his 8-under par winning total was tied for the highest score by a champion since the event moved from La Cantera after the 2009 season. Much of this course is exposed to the sometimes dramatic prevailing winds and that makes navigating the winding layout a true test of ballstriking. The players have gone along without playing too many courses that feature difficult roughs so far but TPC San Antonio will penalize wayward drives and players will be facing tricky approaches if they fail to find fairways. Several of the greens feature massive runoffs to tightly mowed chipping areas so some imagination and talent in the recovery game should pay dividends this week.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think can win it all. We make a few picks to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any golf betting site. Here are our picks to win the 2015 Valero Texas Open.
Zach Johnson (25 to 1 odds to win)
Johnson is a multi-time Texas Open winner but none have come at TPC San Antonio. Still, this course seems to favor the more accurate players in the field and Zach certainly qualifies in that category. He finished T6 here last year and is fresh off a T9 at the Palmer that saw him cruise to a 68/66 weekend finish. Im sure there is a little looking ahead to Augusta for Zach but I think a win or at least a good contending run here is the best prep in his mind. Johnson is a top-20 driver in terms of accuracy and should be in great positions to work the ball and avoid the greenside bunkers and run-offs. Playing from the fairway should help him control the ball on the greens and also manage the winds if they kick up to true Texas form. Zach is a top-15 putter in terms of GIR average so far and he has turned that into a top-15 birdie average.
Kevin Na (33 to 1)
Na has some notoriety at this course as he rather famously carded a 16 on the par-4, 12th hole in 2011. Now, that certainly wouldnt be a high note on his record but it should be pointed out that he still managed an 80 that day despite the 12-over single hole, so good on him for keeping it together after that disaster. Kevin is playing well with three straight top-10 finishes leading into this week and he ran T11 here and was in position to better that but got lost in the shuffle with a Sunday 76. There isnt much that stands out for me when I look at Nas stat sheet but he is good enough across the board to earn a respectable 40thin the all-around so he isnt weak in anything outside his short-ish driving distance. Kevin is a good putter with top-20 marks in overall putting average and putts per green in regulation so he often makes the most of his rounds.
Jason Kokrak (45 to 1)
Kokrak has been busy to this point as the Texas Open will be his fourteenth start. He has mad cut in all but two of his previous events and has consecutive top-7 finishes heading into the week. Jason has the power to take advantage of this course and he would have been much more of a factor if he could have avoided a 77 during the 2014 event. Kokrak is a power player and that is really his only strong suit but he is relatively weakness free as his all-around clocks in at 24thand he is top-35 in scrambling, birdies and scoring average. If this event really is tailored more to the lesser known players, then Jason should be looked at to do well as he has shown flashes of what it takes to win on Tour.
Pat Perez (125 to 1)
The business of picking longshots in gof often feels about as lucrative as lottery scratchers but I really like Perez this week. Pat finished T11 here last time around and was one of the few players to break 70 on two separate days. The hope would be that he has a little feel for this course and he can use it to save some strokes on the days when the scoring pace gets really slow. Perez is a respectable 48thin fairways hit and top-40 in birdies so he can attack this course and score. Bogeys have plagued some of his rounds this year but hes only missed three cuts to date and is a great value play this far down the board.
Head to Head Golfer vs. Golfer Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets. The best golf sportsbook online is undoubtedly 5Dimes. Their odds are discounted and they have the most wager offerings on the web.
Jimmy Walker v. Matt Kuchar (pick to win: Walker)
I do like both of these players to have a good week but Walker has had the better season so far in many regards and has a solid edge in ballstriking over Kuchar. That tee-to-green advantage should play out over four days at TPC San Antonio and Walker also is the longer player so he can more easily take advantage of par-5s. Both players have nearly identical scoring averages but Walker is the better ballstriker and has hit more greens this year as well so give him a small but meaningful edge each round and the pick to win this match.
Jordan Spieth v. Dustin Johnson (pick to win: Johnson)
Spieth is one of my favorite young players on Tour but I still find it hard to pick him on ballstriking courses as his fairways and greens hit percentages are average at best. DJ hasnt been lighting it up in that regard either but he is such a dominant distance player that he makes up some inaccuracy simply by being that much closer to the hole. Jordan is a gutty player and seems to have plenty of veteran moxie in his bag but Johnsons scoring has been so much better than his raw numbers would indicate so he has a bit of magic going on in his game as well. I think 2015 will be a good year for Johnson behind a clearer mind and I think he can overpower the roughs here and take advantage of his Tour-leading length in winning a close match with Spieth.
Good luck and good golf!