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Strong Australian interest in Valero Texas Open

Bowditch a winner three years ago but struggling with current form (Photo: Bruce Young)
The historical Valero Texas Open is this week’s PGA Tour tournament, the event having been first played in 1922 and having witnessed some of the game’s greats claiming the title.

The Greg Norman designed TPC San Antonio will again host the tournament, the venue having switched from the La Cantera Golf Club in 2010 after that venue had played host for the previous fifteen years.

The event has been good to Australians since the switch to this venue with Adam Scott and Steven Bowditch both successful and in 2017, ten get their chance.

Cameron Smith, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones, Curtis Luck, Geoff Ogilvy, Cameron Percy, John Senden, Greg Chalmers, Steven Bowditch and Brett Drewitt are those players with much of the focus on just how Curtis Luck will play in his debut as a professional.

Luck is a little under the weather after a cold last week and in today’s press conference he struggled with a voice but he felt it was clearing up and that he would be ready to go later in the week.

“I was sick last week and I'm just coming off it now,” said Luck in today’s press conference. “I just -- I haven't got my voice back. A little bit tired this week.“Obviously with being ill so I didn't do as much preparation as I'd like last week but -- yeah, I'm feeling physically fine. I've just got to get a couple of good night's rest.”

Of the Australians in the event Aaron Baddeley and Steven Bowditch have perhaps the best record in the event, Bowditch having won three years ago and Baddeley not having missed a cut and finished 3rd in 2010.

Baddeley surprisingly missed the cut last week on a golf course on which he had previously won last but his 15th place finish in Houston was encouraging and he could do well again in this event.

Bowditch however has made only one cut in his last 21 starts so his chances of contending again appear very slim but a return to a golf course might just get his heading in the right direction again at least.

Of the more realistic chances Matt Kuchar has been playing well of late including when 4th at the Masters and while he has not won this event he has often played well.

Charley Hoffman is the defending champion and finished runner-up at the Arnold Palmer event before a very good tournament at the Masters. He missed the cut last week at Hilton Head but he does love this golf course having not only won but finished runner-up and third in other starts.

Billy Horschel is another who has often played well in this event and although he has been mixing his results of late that he has recorded three top fours in his last four starts in this event then he has genuine prospects.

Luke Donald gave an indication last week that his game was in better shape and despite the fact that effort was on a golf course where he has always played well he did finish a solid 13th here last year in his first start in the event for thirteen years.

Jimmy Walker was the winner two years ago and although below his absolute best of late he is playing perhaps better than his results suggest.

Zach Johnson might not be in the best of form of late but it has not been terrible and he is a two- time winner over this layout. He missed the cut at the Masters but he played well at the Dell Match Play and there have been other glimpses of form this season.

Kevin Chappell was 4th last year and did also finish runner-up a few years ago. His 7th place finish at Augusta national was a reminder how good he is and he might be one for longer odds.

Ryan Palmer played a lot better last week at the RBC Heritage after what has been a tough year to date. His wife Jennifer is recovering from cancer and appears on track to a successful recovery and that might aid his continued return to form.

Palmer has been inside the top 6 in his last two starts in this event and might just be approaching his 4th win on the PGA Tour.

  

  

  

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