Three weeks out from the US Masters and the Tour swings into one of the toughest tracks – TPC San Antonio.
Matt Kuchar traded at odds on to win the Texas Open last year but blew it with a final-day 75 as Aussie Steven Bowditch lost his PGA Tour virginity with a one-stroke win over Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays.
Despite there being plenty of cash for one of the most consistent players in world golf, Jim Furyk hasn’t quite made the final cut at noon on Wednesday as but could do so by tee-off time on Thursday.
Furyk’s win-rate may be similar to Leicester City’s but there’s a couple of picks below who’d love his ability to hang in there come Sunday night.
Paddy’s paying six places from now until the US Masters on the PGA Tour and here are the half dozen players you’re backing to make him pay this weekend.
1. Jordan Spieth 8/1
The World No 6 became just the fourth player to win twice on Tour before the age of 22 when winning the Valspar Open in a three-way go from Sean O’ Hair and motor mouth Patrick Reed a fortnight ago.
Finished 10th at TPC San Antonio in his home state on his third visit last season before almost pushing Bubba Watson all the way (three-stroke second) at Augusta. Sure to be a major contender this weekend and at the Masters.
2. Zach Johnson 25/1
Hard to know whether the perma sun-glassed Johnson is being backed on the basis of his T9 behind Matt Every [an 18 hole record holder (63) at TPC San Antonio] in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last weekend or for going back-to-back in this tournament in 2008 & 2009.
If it’s the latter we need to point out that those two wins were at La Cantera but ZJ did finish T6 over course and distance last year behind Steven Bowditch. There’s plenty banking on a repeat – or better – this weekend.
3. Dustin Johnson 10/1
Victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral signalled DJ’s return to the top table after his self-imposed exile to deal with a reported fondness for the Colombian marching powder.
Has only teed it up five times this season but that win and two other places looks like he has re-discovered his ‘A’ game ahead of his first visit to the course.
One of the Tour’s great boomers, his current hot streak already sees him as the fourth biggest loser in the ante-post book for Augusta on April 9. Has always had the game and is heading in the right direction to prove he has the temperament to be a Major winner.
4. Brendan Steele 40/1
It’s no surprise that the lanky Steel lists TPC San Antonio as one of his favourite tracks after he won on his debut here in 2011.
Finished T4 when trying to defend his title but since slipped to a 46th-place finish in 2013 and missed the cut last year.
Best-placed finish so far this term is T2 in the Humana Challenge behind Bill Haas after a closing-round 64. The World No 99 tees it up here on Thursday fresh from posting a T35 at Bay Hill last Sunday.
5. Ryan Palmer 30/1
Plenty of chat about the Texan being ‘at home’ in the Lone Star State but it doesn’t really stack up when you delve into his course form.
The World No 30 has posted a MC-32-15-56 on his last four visits to TPC San Antonio. Admirably consistent this season with three top 10s in seven events including when runner-up to Brooks Koepka at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
One to watch if the wind gets up. Apparently.
6. Cameron Tringale 80/1
Can’t quite figure out why there’s a stack of cash for the 28-year-old Californian who has yet to win on Tour.
Last year proved a breakout season as he won $2.1m thanks mainly to filling the runner-up berth at The Barclays and three top 10 finishes as he made the cut in 25 of his 31 tournaments.
Is 8 from 11 so far this season but has only troubled the Top 25 twice.
Has shown decent course form here in the past but since finishing fifth and eighth, he’s missed the cut and finished 46th on his last two visits. Go figure.