Golf tips: Our 4 best bets for this week’s Texas Open

Sporting Life's brain box Ben Coley leaves no stone unturned ahead of the action in San Antonio

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

It’s the final tournament before The Masters this week as we head off to Texas for the 2022 Valero Texas Open and we’ve got Sporting Life’s Ben Coley here to give us a rundown of his favourites.

Let’s get into it!

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BEN COLEY:

This is the final chance to qualify for The Masters if you haven’t already, you do have to win to get that final invite. It’s always a good tournament this with excitement building towards Augusta. It’s a fun course, I classify it as a bit of a ‘risk-reward’ par 72, it’s a little bit like Scottsdale for the Phoenix Open.

It’s thrown up a lot of brilliant ball-strikers; Kevin Chappell would be a great example, a real flusher but he doesn’t hole many putts, Charley Hoffman another one. So, it’s been a course where you’ve really got to drive the ball well and hit good approach shots and from there we’ll take our chances with the putter.

Valero Texas Open
Thursday 31st March, 5pm
TV: Sky Sports Golf

Main selection: Abraham Ancer (nap)

For my main pick, I’m going with ABRAHAM ANCER. One of the things that has often pointed towards winners of this event is Texas ties – it’s obviously a really important tournament to anyone from Texas and it’s got real heritage. 

So, although Ancer is Mexican, he was actually born in Texas and he went to college here. He calls it home and he actually lives just 10 minutes away from this course. He spends time practicing here in the winter and he’s made the cut on every visit. 

Although he’s yet to really get in the mix here, we know he can raise his game in these circumstances and he’s a really good ball striker. He’s really strong off the tee and is generally very strong with his approaches. 

His 7&6 beating of Colin Morikawa last weekend was a real turning point for him after a quiet start to the year. So, the timing of this event is really good and Ancer’s the best bet.

Next best selection: Gary Woodland

I like GARY WOODLAND. He reminds me of Jordan Spieth last year, when he’d contended a few times, including in Phoenix where Woodland is a past champion, and we were waiting for it to all come together and end a four-year winless drought. 

Well, Woodland’s winless run is approaching three years now, since he won the US Open but just like Spieth he’s back in the mix all of sudden. He won the Honda Classic, he was fifth at Bay Hill where he was leading with two holes to go. 

Last time out he played well at the Valspar, finishing 21st but he was in contention all week and it was another step forward. 

He was sixth here last year and it’s a really good course for him. As well as winning at Scottsdale, he’s been a runner-up in a play-off at PGA West, another desert course. So, there are loads of reasons for him to go well and with it being three years since he won, I think it’s all about winning for him this week. 

Outside Selection: Rickie Fowler

I’ll go with RICKIE FOWLER. I know there’ll be some eyes rolling here because we do know Rickie’s not been at his best. He does a top-five finish this season in the desert, finishing third at the CJ Cup, which is high-class form, but I’m not going to kid anyone into thinking he’s been tearing it up lately. 

He has made his last three cuts, though, and last time at Bay Hill he hit the ball as well as he has for about a year. If we’re talking about someone who could qualify The Masters at the 11th hour then why not someone who’s contended to win The Masters and who absolutely adores Augusta and plays so well there. 

This is a really good course for him, he’s played here twice and been in the top-20 both times. One of those was last year when he was very much struggling at the time. This sort of course suits him as there is a bit of space off the tee and if he gets those irons dialed, I can really see him going well here.

Outside selection: Doug Ghim

I’ll go with DOUG GHIM here. I already referred to those Texas ties and, although he’s from Illinois, he went to university in Texas and anyone who knows the American college scene will know that when you’ve gone to university somewhere it very much becomes a part of you. He’ll have a lot of support and you’ll see him feeding off that this week. 

Last time out he was sixth at the Players’ Championship. He struggled on the Sunday last year but this time he stuck around and was really proud himself. This is a good course for him and if you look at his performance here last year, he was down the field but he putted so badly. He was 77 out of 78 in putting but was one of the top-10 ball strikers so we’ll give him another chance. 

He’ll have to improve his putting but he’s one of the best ball strikers in the field and back on adopted home soil, I thought he was a big price. 

* Read more of Ben Coley’s top tips at SportingLife.com

TEXAS OPEN TIPS

Main selection: Abraham Ancer (nap)
Next best selection: Gary Woodland
Outside Selection: Rickie Fowler
Outside selection: Doug Ghim

    *All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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