Jordan Spieth Favored At PGA Tour Texas Open
The PGA Tour’s Florida Swing is in the books and now it heads to Texas for two tournaments ahead of the Masters. This week the Tour stops at TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, and Texas native Jordan Spieth opened as the 7/1 favorite at Bovada to win a tournament for the first time in his home state.
Spieth didn’t play last week at Bay Hill but won the week before in the Tampa area, taking the Valspar Championship in a playoff. Spieth won a three-way play-off with a 28-foot birdie on the third extra hole to become only the fourth player since 1940 to win twice on the PGA Tour before turning 22. It is a feat that not even current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy mastered with Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Robert Gamez the only players to have achieved that particular accolade in the past 75 years. Spieth said then he was targeting that No. 1 ranking, but he has a ways to go. Winning this week would make it possible to overtake McIlroy at Augusta.
Spieth and Dustin Johnson head a lineup that features 13 of the top 30 players in the current rankings. Spieth, FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker and No. 30 Ryan Palmer give TPC San Antonio three Texas pros among that group. Johnson, winner of the WGC Cadillac Championship, makes his first appearance at TPC San Antonio. His last Texas Open start came in 2009, its final year at LaCantera GC.
Phil Mickelson begins his pre-Masters push, seeking a turnaround from a spotty opening run that has yielded just one top-20 finish in four starts. In addition, Masters invitations hang in the balance for world No.51 Marc Warren and No.52 Harris English, trying to crack the rankings’ top 50 upon tournament’s end. After that, the only way to a berth will be to win next week at Houston.
The defending champion of the Texas Open is Australian Steven Bowditch. He survived a windblown 76 on the final day to emerge with his first Tour victory, outlasting Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays by a shot. Bowditch came to San Antonio with just two top-10 finishes in eight seasons, but used rounds of 69-67-68 to open a three-shot lead heading to the final day. Bowditch’s 76 was the highest final-round score by a winner since Vijay Singh won the 2004 PGA Championship with a closing 77.
Breaking Down Favorites
Spieth (7/1): Not only did he win the Valspar two weeks ago, he won two big tournaments at the end of last year, and has been solid in 2015. The Dallas native has shown he can handle the wind and long courses that come with the Texas Swing.
Johnson (10/1): Like Spieth, Johnson is making his first start after a win, having captured the trophy at Doral earlier this month. Johnson is making his first trip to TPC San Antonio, but he now has three top-five finishes in his last four starts, including a playoff loss at Riviera last month.
Jim Furyk (16/1): Furyk finished third in his debut at TPC San Antonio in 2013, then followed with a T-6 finish last year. He has only one finish outside the top 15 this season and currently ranks second on Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and third in GIR percentage.
Jimmy Walker (20/1): FedExCup points leader and local resident has gone three starts sans a top 20. Chased opening 76 with three red numbers last year (T16).
Matt Kuchar (22/1): He has been his consistent self this season: no result worse than T-33 in eight starts. He is also comfortable on the AT&T Oaks Course, with three straight top-25 finishes in this event highlighted by a T-4 finish last year.
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