April 7 2013
Martin Flores notched his first top-10 finish of the 2013 season this week in San Antonio. (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Tim Price, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN ANTONIO -- Martin Flores sometimes thinks he didn’t get enough golf in when he lived less than 30 minutes from the place that would become TPC San Antonio.
Flores won the state high school championship while playing at the city’s Clark High School. But he left with his family after his sophomore year and only gets back to play when the Valero Texas Open comes to the AT&T Oaks Course.
It brings back good memories, and it only got better when he shot a final-round 68 for a tie for 10th. He was 7-under and seven shots back of winner Martin Laird.
The only thing that makes it better is doing it in front of friends and family -- including his 89-year-old grandfather.
“Yeah, he’s on a little scooter somewhere,” Flores said.
The Flores family left for Dallas-Fort Worth area when his father got a transfer. That was 1998, and TPC San Antonio opened a dozen years later. He finished up high school at Mansfield, losing in a playoff for a second state championship his senior year and then headed to University of Oklahoma where he eventually would be a teammate of Anthony Kim.
This is the 31-year-old Flores’ best finish this year. He has made six cuts in 10 tournaments. His previous best was a 34th-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“My short game was very solid,” Flores said (he finished in the top 5 in putting and finished every round with less than 30 putts). “I always seemed to keep myself in it.”
His measured drives this week eclipsed 300 yards and put him in the top 10.
The only thing Flores had to explain that was curious about his game was his choice of shirts. A Sooner wearing the orange of arch-rival Texas?
“I’ve got to explain that,” he said sheepishly. “It all started at Q School, the first time I got on TOUR I just happened to have an orange shirt left I shot a final-round 65 to get may card. Ever since then I said I played well in the final round wearing orange.
“Definitely got some criticism from my OU friends for wearing orange. I guess I just have to keep wearing it.”
This was his best finish since coming in sixth at The Greenbrier Classic last year.
“But this is one of my favorite places to come back to,” Flores said. “There are so many good memories of growing up. It was great to see old faces.”
With a finish like this, Flores’ face may be the one people see at future events.