Valero Texas Open
Very much a nearly week both in Europe and US as we backed two runners-up: Russel Knox and Joost Luiten. It was a decent week in the end, but at one stage on the European Tour, we had 5 players inside the top 18 on Saturday.
Moving on to this week, our focus reverts back to the PGA tour and the Valero Texas Open. There are some big events coming up in May and therefore the quality of the field this week is probably best described as “second rate.” This is really reflected in the betting as there doesn’t appear to be an overwhelming favourite. As it’s been a while since the tournament had a back-to-back winner we’re going to leave Jimmy Walker alone, despite his strong form this season.
It’s a relatively tough course, with the forecast for some heavy rain at times, and if you factor in the usual winds, it’s going to take an experienced head to keep things together.
Patrick Reed 22/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £295
The Texas native hasn’t played here for a couple of years but brings in some good form this time around. He should be refreshed after a week off and surely can’t be too far off recording another win on the PGA tour.
J.B. Holmes 25/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £332.50
Another player who’s snuck along playing some good golf this season culminating in a best major finish of T4th at The Masters. He obviously bombs it off the tee and will avoid any great punishment this week with the rough being virtually non-existent given the great lies that the players have been getting in practice. You’d say that he can go at it with reckless abandon, and when you consider that he ranks 1st this season in approaches from between 50 and 125 yards, he suddenly looks like a decent punt!
Billy Horschel 33/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £432.50
He’s got 3rd place finishes in each of his last 2 visits here and looks to be trending toward a win this season. Since we became one of only two approved fitting centres for PXG in the UK, we’ve been waiting for one of their players to enter the winners circle. Of their Tour players, we think BillyHo has the best chance this week.
Aaron Baddeley 66/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £957.50
Top 10 last week at Harbour Town for Badds got our attention for this week. He’s always played well here and given the regularity of Aussie winners in this tournament and also in this current season, we fancy him to get amongst it. Couple his renowned putting with a solid wind game and growing confidence – he could be worth a crack.
Ernie Els 125/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £791.25
Don’t laugh! We know what you’re thinking – 1st green at The Masters …… well, he’s moved on and even topped the “Strokes Gained Putting” stats last weekend at Harbour Town. We also consider that his experience of tough weather conditions will be a huge advantage this week. He’s actually been hitting the ball pretty well this year, and everyone knows what’s been going on with the putting but … we’re cautiously optimistic.
Ricky Barnes 200/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £1260
Like Baddeley, Barnes popped up inside the top 10 last weekend and has been shaping towards some better form. He’s inside the top 20 in the “Strokes Gained Putting” category this season and has famously performed well in some grim weather. We hear that his family are heading down to spend the week with him – let’s hope they get to do some celebrating.