PGA Tour Odds and Golf Predictions: Valero Texas Open
by Alan Matthews - 4/13/2011
There’s really no sugarcoating this week’s Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio: the field is rather lame. But you can bet on the tournament, so who cares, right?
This is usually the case after major championships in that most of the big names take the week off or head back overseas. Maybe the only worse field comes after the British Open because most of the top Americans don’t want to fly all the way back and then go play in Canada (some fields in tournaments that go opposite WGC events are even worse off). For example, this week world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, 54-hole Masters leader Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel are all at the European Tour’s Malaysian Open. Most of the big-name Euros probably won’t be back in the States until the Players Championship (and some big-name Europeans already have said they will skip that, too).
With that said, there are only six of the world’s Top 50 teeing it off this week in San Antonio: Adam Scott (No. 17), Martin Laird (23), Geoff Ogilvy (29), Anthony Kim (41), Bo Van Pelt (44) and Anders Hansen (45). Only three players are in the field who has won on tour this year: Jhonattan Vegas, Johnson Wagner and Laird.
Scott, who seems to have his career back on track with that putter that stretches up to his chin, is both the defending champion and the betting favorite at Bodog at 10/1, according to PGA Tour odds. Last year the Aussie was four shots back through 54 holes, but he shot a final-round 5-under 67 to win his first PGA Tour title in more than two years. He finished at 14-under 274 to beat Fredrick Jacobson by a shot. And last week, Scott played brilliantly on the weekend with a pair of 67s to finish in a tie for second with fellow Aussie Jason Day, two strokes behind Schwartzel. With that funky putter (which I think should be illegal), Scott took 111 putts at Augusta, fewer than everyone else in the top 10 except Luke Donald's 102 and Schwartzel's 107. Still, for my Valero Texas Open predictions, I think Scott may be mentally drained.
Two other guys who might be a bit mentally fatigued this week are Ogilvy (11/1) and Angel Cabrera (33/1). Both were in contention at Augusta, but then again half the field was on Sunday when McIlroy went all Tin Cup. Ogilvy had a stunning five straight birdies on the back-nine and does have five Top 30-finishes in seven PGA Tour starts overall. Cabrera started the final round tied for second and had a 34 on the front nine but finished seventh. Still, he has yet to win anything but a major on the PGA Tour.
The three best long-shot bets are Jacobson (33/1) Jimmy Walker (33/1) and Ryan Palmer (28/1). Walker is a San Antonio native and should know the course well. Walker started the year very strong, then missed a few cuts before a T30 in Houston the week before Augusta. He finished T3 at this tournament last year. Palmer, meanwhile, had a confidence-building T10 at Augusta last week. The Texas native was T9 here last year when he posted a final-round 64, the best score of the day. Jacobson, a Swede, had that runner-up last year and a T5 the year before (although the latter on a different course). He might be the best value at +250 on top European this week.
If in-tournament betting is available, know this fact: Since 1988 the third-round leader has won 16 of the 23 Texas Opens.
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