Power Rankings: Valero Texas Opentext sizeApril 11, 2011
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
Not since Greg Norman's epic collapse at the Masters in 1996 has Australia come so tantalizingly close to its first green jacket. While Charl Schwartzel indeed went out and won this year's edition thanks to a pair of early hole-outs, four closing birdies and a field-low 66 on Sunday, co-runners-up Adam Scott and Jason Day didn't roll over.
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For Scott and Geoff Ogilvy (T4), to name two Aussies, this week's test at the Valero Texas Open will offer a soft landing of sorts following the intensity in Augusta given that Norman designed the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. Scott recorded a one-stroke victory in the track's debut a year ago. His 14-under 274 was easily the highest aggregate since David Ogrin's 275 in, you guessed it, 1996.
Sergio Garcia isn't in the field, but he served as player consultant to Norman. As you'd expect from the eye of the renown ball-striker, TPC San Antonio is a bona fide test tee to green. Of all courses played in 2010, it ranked sixth-most difficult in fairways hit, 19th in distance off the tee and seventh in greens in regulation.
The par 72 can be stretched to 7,435 yards on the scorecard, but the field could have trouble capitalizing on its quartet of par 5s, as the course registered a scoring average of 4.87 on those holes, third-highest on TOUR (and second among non-majors). Five of the top 10 at the Masters are scheduled to play. Only Angel Cabrera is omitted below.
As is often the case in southern Texas, the wind will offer the primary challenge this week. Forecasts already call for sustained breezes at 15 mph through next week. Otherwise, sunny and mostly dry conditions are anticipated.
Power Rankings: Valero Texas Open Rank Player Comment Ryan
Texas native finished solo 10th at the Masters, hitting over 70 percent of his fairways and greens. Placed T9 here last year, closing with a bogey-free 64. Ranks 35th on TOUR in total driving, 56th in greens hit and T46 in par-5 scoring average. Adam
Criticized for resting following his T6 at Doral, but quieted naysayers with a 67-67 weekend at the Masters to share second place. Defending champion here sits 10th on TOUR in total driving, 15th in greens, and leads the circuit in birdies or better on par 5s. Jimmy
Local resident has been quiet of late, with no top 25s in his last four starts, but finished T3 here last year, ranking T10 in greens, sixth in putting and T2 in birdies. Currently 30th on TOUR in putting, and sixth in adjusted scoring average. Bo
Placed T8 at the Masters, where he eagled both par 5s on the back nine on Sunday. It was his first top 10 of the year. Finished a relatively disappointing T28 here last year, but enters on an upswing, which favors the streaky veteran. Spencer
Followed his Sunday fade at Bay Hill (76 to finish T6) with missed cut in Houston, but he's now rested and separated from that close call. Ranks 26th in greens, fifth in adjusting scoring average and T6 in par-5 scoring average. Placed T9 here last year. Geoff
One of three with three rounds in the 60s at Augusta National, where he shared fourth place. Bogey-free 31 on inward nine on Sunday, with five straight birdies. Played holes 10-18 in 11-under for the week with just one bogey. First-timer here. Martin
First-timer at TPC San Antonio. Finished T20 at his first Masters for his seventh top 25 of the year. Currently seventh on TOUR in the all-around, 15th in adjusted scoring average, 18th in putting and 11th in scrambling. J.J.
The Fort Worth resident has cashed in all 10 starts this year with six top 25s, including a T19 in his last start in Houston. Sits 21st on TOUR in total driving, 13th in greens in regulation and 19th in adjusted scoring average. Marc
Had the week off after wild experience in Houston -- two eagles, 15 birdies (including five straight on his final nine), two double bogeys, two triples -- but has proven track record of success in the wind in Texas. Ricky
His T20 at the Masters was his third top 25 at that major in as many starts. First-timer reminded us that he loves when par is rewarded. Overall splits still showing evidence of his back injury, but he's 36th in adjusted scoring average.