Texas Open Preview
After Scottie Scheffler triumphed in the World Golf Championship-Match Play and subsequently became world No. 1, the PGA Tour prepare for the Texas Open.
With The Masters a matter of days away, this will be the final opportunity for players to play themselves into form.
In total, 20 Masters participants will be teeing it up at TPC San Antonio, including Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau.
The Previous Edition
Jordan Spieth produced an excellent final round to snatch victory away from Matt Wallace, who looked set to record his maiden PGA Tour victory.
The Englishman had held a two-stroke lead over eventual champion Spieth at the climax of the third round, before a two-under finale failed to match his competitors.
Charley Hoffman, who has earned the most money from this event in its history, finished runner-up for the second time in three years.
The American, who also triumphed here in 2016, opened with 75 before producing three rounds in the sixties, but the damage was effectively done.
Rickie Fowler, Luke List, Corey Conners, Keith Mitchell, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland all finished within the top 20.
This was Spieth’s first win since the 2017 Open Championship, nearly four years between his two latest victories.
TPC San Antonio will be playing host to the Texas Open for the 13th time, as the tournament celebrates its 100-year anniversary.
Measuring 7,438 yards and boasting a par of 72, it is considerably longer than last week’s match play arena, which will undoubtedly interest the longer hitters.
With only 100 feet of elevation throughout the layout, the Oaks Course has been designed in a traditional manner.
There is a blend of wide, open fairways and narrow targets that are tree-lined for increased defense.
Typically, the downhill holes play into troublesome and deviating wind, whilst the uphill holes usually have the wind behind them.
72-hole record: Corey Conners, 268
18-Hole Record: Trey Mullinax, 62
When a PGA Tour event takes place so close to a major championship, there are usually several story lines that should attract your interest.
For this week, the majority of players who are part of the Augusta field will be looking for a strong finish and something to take into the following tournament.
If your name is Richard Bland, however, you’ll be targeting victory as it’s his strongest chance of getting into this year’s Masters.
He may be given an exemption by the club themselves, although that seems unlikely and thus, will need nothing short of victory at the Texas Open this week.
Rory McIlroy opted out of the Match Play event but he returns to the fold in Texas, hoping to find some inspiration as he prepares for his quest for the grand slam.
Major-less since 2014, Augusta has become quite a difficult place for McIlroy over the years – he has never finished in the top 3.
Spieth will be returning to a track he has previously championed, but he may not want to pick up victory again…
In modern history, only two players have won a PGA Tour event the week before The Masters, and they were Sandy Lyle and Phil Mickelson.
Bryson DeChambeau will be featuring in his first competitive stroke-play event since the end of January, which equates to more than six weeks away from his profession.
Plagued by injuries and kept silenced at the sidelines, DeChambeau will need to deliver this week if he looks to gain any form heading into the first major of the season.
More good news is the availability of Hideki Matsuyama, who had to withdraw from The Players Championship through injury.
The Japanese star will return to Augusta as defending champion, and he’ll be hoping for an immediate return to form after a two-week hiatus from the tour.
Min Woo Lee and Garrick Higgo will make their debut in both the Texas Open and The Masters, as the young duo look set to have fantastic careers in golf.
Although the overall quality of the field may not be as strong as previous weeks, the Texas Open usually provides a grand spectacle for golf fans.
And, we must not forget, that The Masters will begin next week – are you ready for the first major of the golfing season?