THE focus of world golf may well be on the WGC Dell Match Play Championship in Austin this week but there is another PGA Tour event which will mean as much to many in that field as the Match Play means to those involved in the Lone Star State.
The Puerto Rico Open carries a purse of only US$3 million and a first prize of US$560,000 but for many in this field that will feel like a fortune and a win would provide a level of security for ongoing missions on the PGA Tour in 2017 and security of tenure for some time to come.
Australia is well represented numerically in so much as John Senden, Matt Jones, Cameron Percy, Stuart Appleby, Brett Drewitt and Steve Bowditch are in the field but none have been playing well of late.
This, though, is a chance to get things moving in the right direction given the weaker field they will face although contending and / or winning on the PGA Tour, whatever the event, is never easy.
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Canadian Graham DeLaet has a solid record in this event having finished no worse than 24th in five trips to Puerto Rico and although he missed the cut at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational some of his more recent form has been very good.
He has been let down by disappointing final rounds in this event in the past but if he can find a way to put a good Sunday round together then his chances look good.
Wesley Bryan was 4th at Riviera, 4th at the Honda Classic and 7th in Tampa suggesting his game is approaching where it needs to be for him to win his first PGA Tour title after being one of the stars of the Web.Com Tour last year.
Ian Poulter is a long way from the player he was when he won the Accenture Match Play seven years ago and so does not get into this week’s field in Austin but he is playing ok at present and did finish 3rd in this event last year.
Graeme McDowell has hardly been setting the world on fire of late but neither has he been playing all that badly.
He plays this event for the first time so is an unknown quantity in that regard but he is a class player at best and if he is anywhere near his best he could he could handle this field.
New Zealander Danny Lee has begun to play better again after an awful start to the season and having finished runner-up here several years ago this might be an event to get his season on track.
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