After spending the last four weeks battling the elements in Florida, the PGA Tour heads West as the focus shifts to Texas for the last two events before the first major of the year at Augusta National. This week, the tour heads to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio which is always a tough test for the pros especially if the wind kicks up.
Last week, the elements played a role in the collapse of Adam Scott who started the week with a blistering -10 in round one and faded with a final round 76 to finish third behind Keegan Bradley (who was on my fantasy roster) and the eventual winner Matt Every. Ten teams in our FanSided and Friends group had Every including our new overall leader Team Tiger who takes a slim six point lead into the final week of the Winter segment. The high-scoring team of the week was Lee Carvallo’s Fantasy Golf who put up a solid 198 points to lead the way.
Our group continues to be extremely strong and adds a lot of fun to every week’s experience. Winning a week is tough, and even a top-ten finish demands a very good week. If you are just joining fantasy golf, it’s a great time to get in on our group with a new segment getting underway next week (details to join here).
As we wrap up the Winter segment, these are the players who will be on my roster for the 2014 Valero Texas Open:
Charles Howell III: CHIII hasn’t played the Valero the last two seasons, but he did post a top-ten finish in 2011 finishing eighth. Howell has quietly put up five top-ten finishes this season dating back to the fall and was in position for a nice finish last week before fading with a final round 76. He’s a bit of a long shot, but I think Howell III will have a good week at TPC San Antonio this week.
Matt Kuchar: Kuchar finished in the top 25 at TPC San Antonio last season for the second year in a row. He’s been in the top 15 in five of his seven events this season, but he’ll be looking to bounce back from a t38 two weeks ago at the Valspar. Look for Kuchar lurking on the leaderboard Sunday as he usually is. Since Howell is a bit of a risk, I’ll go with Kuchar as a sure thing backup for this week.
Fredrik Jacobson: Jacobson has been in the top 20 for each of his last three events and also has a great history at this event. Last year, he finished t15 giving him five straight top-20’s at TPC San Antonio including three top fives highlighted by a runner-up finish to Adam Scott in 2010. He’s a great pick this week as his current form meets a course where he’s had past success.
Jordan Spieth: Spieth continues to emerge as a legit star on the PGA Tour and is showing he’s a good pick every week he tees it up. With a limited group in the B-list this week, he’s an even more attractive option as he tees it up in his native Texas. He’s setting himself for a big debut at The Masters next month, so expect him to be focused and in contention the next two weeks on the Tour’s Texas two-step.
Zach Johnson: Johnson’s game is perfect for TPC San Antonio as he’s proven by winning here back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009. He’s made the cut in all eight of his stroke-play events this season and has three top ten finishes including a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Jason Konrak: Konrak has been playing well lately with a season-best fourth place finish last week at Bay Hill. He’s made the cut in five of his last six tournaments with a top-20 finish in four of those events. Last year, he tied for fifteenth at the Valero.
Ryan Palmer: Palmer has finished runner-up in two of his last four tournaments and has three top tens in his five events this calendar year. Palmer is a Texas native who graduated from Texas A&M, so he’ll be looking to continue his momentum on a course close to home. Palmer finished t15 last season in San Antonio and also has a top ten from 2010 at this event.
Brendan Steele: Steele won this event in 2011 and followed that with a t4 in 2012. He’s been playing well of late making five cuts in his last six events. He finished t20 last week at Bay Hill. There are some other great choices in a stacked C-list this week including three-time winner on tour this season Jimmy Walker, Valspar Champion John Senden, and Kevin Na who is famous for his +12 16 on the ninth hole back in 2011. There are lots of good picks for your C-list this week, but I’m taking a little bit of a flier on Steele since I’m confident Palmer will finish strong this week giving me the freedom to take a bit of a risk with this pick.