When to bet
By 1pm on Thursday
Where to watch the Texas Open
Live on Sky Sports Golf from 8pm on Thursday
Steve Palmer’s Texas Open predictions
3pts each-way 18-1 general
2.5pts each-way 22-1 general
1.5pts each-way 33-1 bet365
1pt each-way 150-1 BoyleSports, Hills
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Tyrrell Hatton tops the market for the final event before the Masters – the Texas Open from San Antonio – and the Englishman’s indifference to Augusta is one of the reasons for his visit to the Lone Star State.
While every other member of the world’s top 20 is taking a breather with the first Major of the season on the horizon, Hatton is taking a more casual approach. Masters form figures of MC-44-56-MC-18-52 mean he has low expectations about next week.
A hand issue was bothering Hatton on the range prior to last week’s WGC-Match Play. He said he would “give it a go” and it seemed to improve, but three defeats to relatively humdrum opposition followed. He makes no appeal on his Texas Open debut.
Steve Palmer’s top tip
Rickie Fowler 18-1
A Texas Open victory is required for Rickie Fowler to get into next week’s Masters and there seems every chance that the resurgent Californian enjoys a fabulous fortnight.
Fowler, who was Masters runner-up in 2018, would arrive at Augusta as a genuine title contender if he can earn a tee-time. And the consistency of his performance over the last five months suggests his Green Jacket hopes are still alive.
Butch Harmon has got Fowler swinging freely again. The former world number four finished second in the Zozo Championship in the middle of October and has not finished worse than 54th place over a nine-tournament stretch. He has enjoyed five top-20s and was 13th in the Players Championship in his last strokeplay event.
Last week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play provided further evidence that Fowler’s comeback is nearly complete. He beat Jon Rahm in his opening match, then later Keith Mitchell, losing only to Billy Horschel to end his group in second place. Fowler finished 17th in each of his first two starts at TPC San Antonio, then missed the cut last year when his game was in disarray. This time, with his sparkle back, the course seems at his mercy.
Next best bet
Davis Riley 22-1
The floodgates may open for Davis Riley once he gets off the mark on the PGA Tour – the two-time Korn Ferry Tour champion is blessed with ability – and TPC San Antonio could be the perfect venue for the 26-year-old to make his breakthrough.
The last of Riley’s Korn Ferry successes came at this week’s venue – there was a one-off TPC San Antonio Championship in 2020 – and he triumphed by two shots. He is a Mississippi man who went to college in Alabama and he loves competing in the southern states. Riley was fourth at Colonial last year and ninth in the Byron Nelson. And he has returned to the Lone Star State this week with a month of excellent form behind him.
Riley followed 29th in the Honda Classic with eighth place at Bay Hill and 19th in the Valspar, then last week he showed flashes of his brilliance in the Match Play. From a nightmare group, he lost to Scottie Scheffler on the 18th green, beat Tom Kim, and tied with Alex Noren. The only player to beat him at Austin Country Club last week was the world number one.
JJ Spaun 33-1
Pierceson Coody 150-1
Perhaps the man who will stop the Texas Open turning into a Fowler versus Riley shootout is the defending champion JJ Spaun, who is fitter than ever and has established himself in the top 100 of the world rankings.
Spaun has had five top-20s this season, including fifth spot on his Sentry Tournament of Champions debut in January, and last week he produced some sensational golf to dominate his group in the Match Play. Going 15 under par for the 46 holes he played in his section, Spaun beat Matt Fitzpatrick 5&3, Sahith Theegala 5&4 and Min Woo Lee 2&1.
There was no disgrace in losing to Xander Schauffele at the last-16 stage and Spaun should go close to retaining his Texas Open crown.
Complete a four-pronged attack with Pierceson Coody, a former world number one amateur who seems destined for superstardom. The Texas-born 23-year-old has already won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour and he finished 14th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this month. Coody carded ten birdies when missing the cut by a shot in the Valspar and this former University of Texas star can make merry at a soft, long layout he knows well this week.
TPC San Antonio course guide
Course Oaks Course, TPC San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
Prize money $8.9m ($1.548m to the winner)
Length 7,494 yards
Par 72 – four par-fives; ten par-fours; four par-threes
Field 144 The cut Top 65 and ties qualify for round three
Highest-ranked players in field (world ranking in brackets) Tyrrell Hatton (17), Hideki Matsuyama (21), Sepp Straka (32), Chris Kirk (34), Ryan Fox (36)
Course records – 72 holes 268 Corey Conners 18 holes 62 Trey Mullinax (2018)
Course winners taking part Martin Laird, Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell, Andrew Landry, Corey Conners, Davis Riley, JJ Spaun
When to bet By 1pm on Thursday
When to watch Live on Sky Sports Golf from 8pm on Thursday
Time difference Texas is six hours behind the UK and Ireland
Last week – WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play 1 S Burns (40-1), 2 C Young (33-1), 3 R McIlroy (14-1), 4 S Scheffler (8-1); Corales Puntacana Championship 1 M Wallace (25-1), N Hojgaard (30-1), T3 T Duncan (33-1), S Stevens (40-1), 5 A Eckroat (66-1), 6 W Clark (9-1), R Barnes (300-1), T8 B Grant (66-1), B Martin (28-1), M Schwab (80-1), B Garnett (80-1), T Detry (20-1)
Course type Parkland
Course overview The Greg Norman-designed Oaks Course has been used since 2010. A Korn Ferry Tour event (TPC San Antonio Championship) was staged at the Oaks in July, 2020
Story of last year JJ Spaun repelled Matt Jones and Matt Kucher to become a PGA Tour champion
Weather forecast Unsettled for the first two days, with light rain and moderate breezes, before a warm, calm weekend
Type of player suited to the challenge Course changes before the 2018 edition made the set-up more generous and strong putting has become almost essential for success
Key attribute Touch/putting
Seven of the last eight Texas Open winners have ranked inside the top five of the putting stats
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