Fantasy Insider: Valero Texas Open

April 02, 2013

By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

TPC San Antonio turned 3 years old in February. It is the youngest golf course on the PGA TOUR. Toss in a series of modifications and it's younger still.


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This creates an opportunity if not the likelihood for a leaderboard that won't resemble any of the first three at the Valero Texas Open. Course experience will matter to a degree, but course history buffs are encouraged to blend in guys that are striping it of late, regardless of how they've fared previously at TPC San Antonio.

My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.

On a Roll

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano ... Superb flier option. Eligible for Special Temporary Membership following a T3 at Bay Hill where he ranked T13 in fairways hit and fifth in strokes gained-putting. It's the latest of 19 consecutive cuts made worldwide, a run that includes a victory in Italy and another six top 10s.

Brian Davis ... It happens every year, and it might be that time again. The Englishman manages to get on a roll for about a month during which time gamers latch on like pilot fish following a shark. En route to a share of sixth place at Redstone last week, he ranked T5 in fairways hit, T27 in greens in regulation and third in strokes gained-putting.

Bud Cauley ... Ended an 0-for-4 skid with a T16 at Redstone where he ranked T13 in greens in regulation and 18th in strokes gained-putting. That putting clip could signal a much-needed permanent turnaround for the PGA TOUR sophomore who sits 130th in FedExCup points. He should carry the positive vibes to San Antonio this week where he tied for 18th in his debut last year.

Marcel Siem ... Accepted a sponsor exemption for one last run at the Masters. He went wire-to-wire on the European Tour in Morocco last week but sits one spot outside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and thus outside the bubble for a berth into the season's first major. He's survived eight consecutive cuts, two of which in the World Golf Championships, but that victory was his first top 25 of the stretch.

Horses for Courses

Brian Gay ... Top 25s in both starts at TPC San Antonio, the better of which a T4 last year. He ranked second in strokes gained-putting for the week. However, after winning the Humana Challenge and chasing it with a T24 at the WM Phoenix Open, he's survived just two of five cuts and finished no better than a T35 at the 65-man WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Scott Stallings ... Back-doored a T11 in his only previous appearance here in 2011, but he's struggled on both sides of the birth of his first child on Feb. 11. Since a T4 at the Humana Challenge where he had sole possession of the 54-hole lead, he's 2-for-6 with no top 25s.

David Toms ... He's a first-timer at TPC San Antonio, but any course where hitting fairways and greens has tremendous value is a venue where he can thrive. He hasn't recorded a top 50 in his last four stroke-play events, but he preceded both of his most recent top fives with two missed cuts.

Hunter Haas ... The Texan has placed T15 (2011) and T8 (2012) in his two appearances at TPC San Antonio. He's also grinded out four cuts made in five starts this year, the last of which resulting in a T65 at the Shell Houston Open. His first four were rehab starts on the Tour following hip surgery.

Not So Fast

Ben Curtis ... With the exception of a slight improvement in scrambling, his numbers are markedly down across the board. Now, this isn't cause for alarm as he's never lit up the stats columns, but it does offer a reminder that he's best utilized only when keyed in. To that point, he hasn't connected top 25s since beginning a run of four straight top 15s with his victory here last year.

Padraig Harrington ... While he's coming off a T6 at the Maybank Malaysian Open, the tournament was reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather. And while the field knew that the event was shortened in advance of the third round, it created a tricky dynamic for gamers that want to see how a true final round plays out. He hadn't posted a top 30 in his previous four stroke-play starts.

Jonathan Byrd ... Even though he missed the cut at the Shell Houston Open, this is just a reminder that he's still working his way back into top form following a lengthy layoff following surgery on his left wrist.

Leaking Oil

Matt Every ... A co-runner-up at TPC San Antonio last year, he's missed four of his last five cuts and hasn't posted a top 25 in seven starts. It's his longest drought since he went 10 straight in his rookie season of 2010.

John Huh ... His only top 25 among five cuts made in 10 starts this season was a T18 at the 30-man season opener at Kapalua. He's missed five of his last seven cuts.

Martin Laird ... He's gone 16 consecutive starts worldwide without a top 25 and has missed four of his last six cuts.

Retief Goosen ... Since logging top 20s in two of his first three starts in what was an early return following back surgery, he's gone 3-for-5 with no top 25s.

Tommy Gainey ... Since the PGA TOUR hit the mainland, he's 1-for-9 with a T57 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Robert Allenby ... Just 1-for-9 on the season with a T72 at Bay Hill.

Ricky Barnes ... Ended and 0-for-6 slide in Houston last week, but finished 69th of 72.

Jeff Maggert ... After five consecutive cuts made to begin the season, albeit absent of a top-40 finish, he's missed his last three cuts.

Will Claxton ... In nine starts, he's survived two cuts, neither of which going for a top 35.

Scott Langley ... Since an eye-opening T3 at Waialae to begin his rookie campaign, he's 2-for-8 with no better than a T30 at Copperhead.

Scott Gardiner ... The rookie has missed his last five cuts by an aggregate 25 strokes.

Patrick Reed ... Since a T30 in Puerto Rico, he's missed three straight cuts by an aggregate 15 shots.

Alistair Presnell ... He's missed three cuts since withdrawing from The Honda Classic due to an illness.

Seung-yul Noh, David Mathis and Derek Ernst ... Each has missed four consecutive cuts.

Donald Constable, Paul Haley II and Andrew Svoboda ... The rookies are a collective 0-for-15 this season.

Back in the Saddle

Peter Hanson ... Withdrew before his opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but competed in the Tavistock Cup. Making his debut in the Valero Texas Open. Riding a worldwide consecutive cuts made streak of 18. Top 25s in nine of his last 10 stroke-play starts, including a T8 in his most recent at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Steve Marino ... The first-timer at TPC San Antonio hasn't played since a T74 at The Honda Classic. Withdrew from Tampa Bay and Houston prior to his opening-round tee times. Has 15 starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension.

Notable WDs

Henrik Stenson ... Qualified for the Masters via the Official World Golf Ranking, so he'll take this week off instead of next week.

Geoff Ogilvy ... Failed to qualify for the Masters. Needed to win this week to be eligible for the major.

Chris Kirk ... Didn't qualify for the Masters, so he'll take a minimum two-week break.

Casey Wittenberg ... Second straight week that he's pulled out after committing but before the opening round.

Darren Clarke ... Since winning the British Open in 2011, he has one top 10 in 35 starts.