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Valero Texas Open + Picks

   by Matt Fargo - 04/12/2011

First off congratulations goes out to Charl Schwartzel who survived a wild Sunday finish at Augusta National to capture his first major this past weekend. With the first major in the books, it is time to bring back a full field that will be grinding it out once again in the Valero Texas Open this week from the AT&T Oaks Course in San Antonio. This is the second year that the Oaks will host this event as it took place at the La Cantera GC-Resort Course the last 15 years.

Even with one year played here, it is still difficult to look at how players have fared in this event and that means a lot of the past history can be tossed away. However, this is still in Texas and Texas golf is still in effect so those who can hit through wind and keep the ball low will be rewarded. Temperatures will be moderate and lots of sun is in the forecast with winds likely pretty strong. This Greg Norman designed layout emphasizes ball string while distance is a plus as well.

Last year, the Oaks ranked 17th most difficult out of 52 courses including sixth toughest in fairways hit and seventh toughest in greens hit. The par 72, 7,522-yard layout is expected to play difficult again this year. Despite the Masters being played last week, there are some big names in play this week as the field will include five players who finished in the top 10 on the Masters leaderboard last weekend - Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Bo Van Pelt, Angel Cabrera and Ryan Palmer.

Overall, six of the top 30 players on the money list will be playing this week as well as three of the top 30 players in the OWGR and eight major championship winners. The field is highlighted by the defending champion Scott who nearly became the first Aussie to bring home the green jacket. It was not a massive surprise he won last year considering fellow Australian Norman designed the Oaks.

Scott (+1000) is the favorite this week which is no surprise. He finished at -14 at the Valero last year and won by a stroke over Fredrik Jacobson following a weekend where he went -11. It will be hard to determine if Scott will be in letdown mode or if he will use last week to keep building confidence. It was his second straight top ten after a T6 finish at the Cadillac Championship.

Geoff Ogilvy (+1200) is normally a player we stay away from with this being his first ever Valero Texas Open. However as mentioned, no player has more than a year of experience here if that so Ogilvy is not at a big disadvantage. He closed Sunday at Augusta on fire as he shot a 31 on the back nine that included five straight birdies. He is another Aussie that could have an edge with the Norman design.

Bo Van Pelt (+2000) was a pleasant surprise at the Masters with his T8 finish and after a rough start, he is finally turning the corner. This is right around the same time last year when he caught fire with three straight top five finishes so he is a very streaky player. He finished T28 at the Valero last year and is used to the conditions as he played his college golf at nearby Oklahoma St.

Jimmy Walker (+3000) got off to a great start this season with three top tens in his first five events but he has slowed down since then with a T43 being his best finish in his last three events. Walker went to Baylor so he knows Texas golf and he proved that last year with a T3 finish, two shots behind Scott. This year he is sixth on tour in both overall scoring and putting.

J.J. Henry (+4000) has some very good value this week. While he has only one top ten this season, he is a perfect 10-10 in made cuts and his last three finishes have resulted in top twenties including a T19 in Houston two weeks ago. He went to college at TCU so he is familiar with the conditions and even though he missed the cut here last year, that came right after a horrible weekend at THE PLAYERS.

Spencer Levin (+3000) was a disappointment two weeks ago in Houston as he missed the cut but he is still on a solid run. He was coming off a T6 at Bay Hill the week prior which gave him his third top ten finish of the season. Last year he had just one top ten in his first 25 events on tour and it happened to come here where he finished T9 and could have been better if not for a Sunday 73.

For a longshot, we will take a chance with Jhonattan Vegas (+6000). Vegas started the season hot with a win at the Bob Hope Classic and followed that up with a T3 at the Farmers. He has two top 20 finishes since then. Last week at the Masters he was playing well but played five over in his last 15 holes to miss the cut. He is a University of Texas grad and should rebound well here.

Valero Texas Open Win Bets

Geoff Ogilvy (+1200)

Bo Van Pelt (+2000)

Jimmy Walker (+3000)

J.J. Henry (+4000)

Spencer Levin (+3000)

Jhonattan Vegas (+6000)

Valero Texas Open Matchup Bets (All from sportsbook.com) – All for 2 Units

Geoff Ogilvy -105 over Adam Scott

J.J. Henry -125 over John Senden

Bo Van Belt Even over Martin Laird

Ryan Palmer -135 over Charles Howell III

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