Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Valero Texas Open 2014


Phil Mickelson will make his first appearance at the TPC San Antonio this week and start off favourite to win as he begins his preparations for The Masters in 2 weeks time. First played back in 1922, this is the 3rd oldest tournament on the Tour and is now played on one of the toughest courses on the PGA rota. Accuaracy is key this week if anyone has any ideas about winning. I tweeted my shotrlist on Monday and whilst contemplating the final staking plan I noted a rather telling stat about the Texas Open - Six of the last 11 winners have hailed from the Lone Star State and seven of the last 16 victors overall. Indeed, even the 2005 champion, Gamez can claim to be a native as his father was from the town so perhaps a rethink was required. The only players meeting this criteria that I could actually contemplate adding to the list were Ryan Palmer and Brian Gay, but despite the former yielding a  TOP15 last year, he's not a great bet at just 25/1 for me and the latter, though available @ 150/1, doesn't really make me fancy him to contend here on recent form. That all said the last 3 winners were all triple figure fancies pre-tournament so perhaps there's another decent priced winner in store this week.

I had 4 South Africans on that shortlist- along way away from being natives of the Lone Star State but I'm keen to get involved with Els for starters. He played this course back in 2010 and despite a disappointing opening round managed to finish on -12 for a 4th place. His comments this week when asked about competing on this course again he said "It’s the kind of course where if you get out of position you can easily make a big number. It’s a tough test and you have to be very accurate, but also very creative. Every green is different, with a lot of run-off areas, and it always keeps you thinking. It’s different to what we play most weeks, but personally I felt comfortable out here in 2010." Ernie may not be as accuarte off the tee these days but he has fond memories of the course and will know how to play the down wind and up wind holes here as they can often lead to many's undoing. I think he's worth chancing this week.

Likewise with Brandan Grace who has shown is fondness for links style/wind affected events. He's decent odds as he obviously doesn't play the PGA Tour often and has never played here before, in a tournament where debutants have had very little success. At 125/1 outright he's worth an e/w punt or 5/1 for a TOP20 (11/1 TOP10)

He's not from the Lone Star State but from Arizona and has shown he likes the tough tracks, but I do like the chances this week of Michael Thompson. He's played here just the once though, missing the cut 3 years ago but he's not a 150/1 shot this week ! He currently ranks 21st in Driving Accuracy and his GIR stats aren't that shoddy either (67%), but the encouraging stat if buying into statistics for this week is his scrambling rank of 18th. From his 9 starts this season he has 3 TOP20s and is arriving here having had last week off. He's a definite bet for me.

Having looked further at Andres Romero, I have decided that his driving may not be quite up to TPC San Antonio and have axed him from my final staking plan. Brendon Je Jonge doesn't win tournaments....sure he doesn't? He can hang around leaderboards though, and with 2 TOP25s here in the last 3 years, he may be worth adding for a TOP 20 finish @ 7/2 or 8/1 for a TOP10.

The one player that I am going to add to the final staking plan though who was not on my shortlist on Monday, is Ryo Ishikawa, who I also put up twice in recent weeks. He has finished 8-25-19 the last 3 weeks yet remains a 66/1 shot this week. On the back of that recent form, the Japanese younsgter is kept onside for another week. He comes in at the last minute to replace Retief Goosen. I'd hate to leave him out if he did go on and win when I've been tracking him so much of late.

Staking Plan (9 pts/units) - updated Wednesday 26th @13:20 to include TOP10 (Els & Thompson)

0.5 pts WIN E.Els @ 124.00 Betfair 
0.5 pts WIN M.Thompson @ 250.00 Betfair
0.5 pts WIN B.Grace @ 143.00 Betfair
0.5 pts WIN R.Ishikawa @ 67.00 Betfair

TOP 10
1 pt E.Els @ 13/2  Betpack
1 pt M.Thompson @ 14/1  Betpack
2 pts B.De Jonge @ 8/1 Betpack
1.5 pts B.Grace @ 11/1 Betpack
1.5 pts R.Ishikawa @ 6/1 Betpack