Valero Texas Open Fantasy Golf Preview
Last week saw Matt Every defend his title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the title won with a clutch putt at the 18th to see off the impressive Henrik Stenson. The tour now moves to Texas and with the Masters just two weeks away the build up to Augusta is now in full force. The field this week is a strong one, perhaps stronger than we might have expected, as the top players in the game fine tune their game for the first Major of the season. Here are my picks for this week:
Picks and Sleepers
Jordan Spieth – I am generally a little wary of picking a player who won last time out unless they have shown that they are capable of back to back wins. Spieth fits this bill, having dominated back to back events at the tail end of last year, showing that when he is on form he can keep it going. Having missed the cut here two years ago (while he was still making his name on the tour), he finished top 10 last year, so there are many positives for Spieth this week.
Zach Johnson – Zach Johnson won’t be overly impressed with his season so far, with three top ten finishes where he was never really in contention and two missed cuts, a run which has seen him drop to 24th in the world from 18th at the end of 2014. However, last week was very promising, a final round of 66 which included a double eagle (only the second ever at the Arnold Palmer invitational after Daniel Berger’s earlier in the week) so he will enter this week full of confidence. Johnson has won here twice before, so course form is a big plus for this player.
Matt Kuchar – Kuchar is having a very solid season with both a second and a third this year and a worst finish of 33rd on the year. This is nothing unusual for Kuchar as he is one of the most consistent players on the tour, having only missed eight cuts since the start of 2010. He plays this tournament well having finished in the top five last year. This is possibly the most solid pick of the week.
Sean O Hair – O’Hair seems to have a new lease of life this year, his game looking in the shape that saw him win multiple titles five or six years ago. He followed up a playoff defeat (which for all the world he looked like he had won after his putt lipped out on the 2nd extra hole) with a solid top 30 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. After dipping out of the world’s top 500 players he is up to 185th and will rise further without any doubt.
Kevin Na – If it is form you are after, Kevin Na might be the pick of the week. He finished joint 6th last week, showing amazing consistency with his worst round of the week being 70 and had top ten finishes in his previous two starts to that. He also finished joint 11th here last year. The only slight worry for me is the fact that he has played in five tournaments out of the last six and might be a little jaded – however so far it doesn’t seem to be bothering him.
Matt Jones (sleeper) – Jones is a player in great form right now, his seven events of the year seeing him make every cut and four of those have seen top twenty finishes. His best performance of the year was last week with an impressive 3rd at Bay Hill. Jones comes into this week fresh, having had 3 weeks off prior to Bay Hill, so it may be an ideal time to pick him.
Cameron Tringale (sleeper) – For a low salary player on a positive progression look no further than Tringale. He hasn’t set the world alight at all this season but his last five starts have seen him finish 69th, 47th, 44th, 38th and 17th. This is a player clearly going in the right direction, a steady rise up the world rankings extra evidence of this. He even has positive progression at this event – missing the cut two years ago and finishing 46th last year.
Stephen Bowditch (sleeper) – Bowditch is the defending champion here and for a small salary you could have a worse pick. One look at his form however tells you that he should be avoided, his last six events showing five missed cuts and a 62nd place. However this time last year he entered this event on a similar run (three missed cuts and a 37th). Using the same thought process last week would have seen Matt Every chosen and that worked out OK.
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