US Tour specialist Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) backed the 30/1 winner of the Valero Texas Open last year so we’re keen to hear his thoughts ahead of the 2017 renewal.
Valero Texas Open | 20th-23rd April 2017 | Sky Sports
As I sit here pondering if I can follow up last year’s 30/1 winner in this tournament, the government has just called a snap General Election, and in more shocking news, Arsenal picked up a meaningless three points last night.
After the devastation of Dustin Johnson withdrawing from the Masters and Arsene Wenger inching his way towards two more years, the prospect of the country tearing itself apart in the run-up to an easy Tory win is almost a pleasant distraction.
TPC San Antonio hosts the Valero Texas Open and more specifically the 7,435 yard AT&T Four Oaks Course which plays as a tough par-72.
There are a lot of similarities with what we saw in South Carolina last week. This is a tough tree-lined track and, although it plays a lot longer than Hilton Head, has similar demands.
It’s almost that classic second shot course where immaculate ball striking is key (hello again Luke Donald) but we really are looking for both length and accuracy off the tee. Greens are once again small and multi layered.
I wrote last year, this might be the point you stop reading as I tell you that prior to Jimmy Walker strolling in by four shots at 25/1, the last four winners started at odds of 350/1, 100/1, 150/1, 300/1.
Last year Charley Hoffman triumphed with a 12 under total of 276. Shame he could not have scored similar at Augusta two weeks ago after a stunning start.
What to look for
This is by no means a stellar field but there is some quality in there. No mucking about, this is a very tough one to call as this place is normally windy with lightning fast greens. In fact, this year should see much more powerful gusts than 2016. I would expect a winning score in single digits.
Long off the tee, hitting plenty of greens in regulation and a hot putter have to be three must haves this week. There are lots of sub-plots as there are still spots in The Players Championship up for grabs whilst Ian Poulter will need a finish somewhere around the top-30 to retain his playing privileges next year.
A top-10 would have done that at Hilton Head but Poults, along with half the field, had a bit of a disaster on Sunday as Wesley Bryan came through for a well deserved win.
Charley Hoffman (22/1 888)
Charley Hoffman has to be first name down this week. A favourite of ours, The Hoff gave us a 66/1 winner just over 12 months ago as well as the aforementioned victory here.
The Hoff has nine top-13 finishes in this tournament, including three to- 3s – it’s hard to ignore that kind of form.
He’s playing really well right now and 23/1 is a very decent price to retain his title.
Branden Grace (28/1 Betfair)
World number 21 Branden Grace is another who has provided us with plenty of wins.
His form here is eye catching – 79-30-9 – show a man getting to grips with the course but also reflects his progress in the world rankings over the last three years.
The 2016 champion at Harbor Town should show up well here and is worth supporting at 29/1 with Betfred.
Ryan Moore (28/1 Betfair)
It’s almost impossible to ignore the claims of Ryan Moore at the moment.
An excellent ninth-place at Augusta, Moore is always dangerous in fields like this where the elite are nowhere to be seen.
28/1 seems a little high and I am happy for the week to revolve around what I see as the three best players in the field at 22/1, 28/1 and 28/1.
Soren Kjeldsen (80/1 BetBright)
A quick look down the field and Soren Kjeldsen catches my eye.
55/1 is enough to make me look twice, but the 80/1 offered by BetBright makes him a must bet on a windy difficult course with fast greens.
He will enjoy this track and these conditions.