From the coastal Carolina to south-central Texas we go. The PGA Tour heads to TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open this week.
The long-running Texas Open has been contested at the 7,400-plus-yard TPC course since 2010. Greatest golf course architect of all time in his own mind, Greg Norman, was the hand that guided TPC San Antonio's difficult layout.
Given the massive length of the course and the narrowness of the fairways, even the best drivers struggle to separate themselves from the field with their work off the tee at this track. And for what it's worth: This is the venue where Kevin Na made his 9 after fun the in some of the course's many native areas.
Greens are on the smallish side and feature plenty of undulation, much of which feeds the ball away from the green down tightly mown banks. Look out for plenty of Texas wind, which requires officials to keep the greens a bit slower than average, so, you know, balls don't blow off them.
Generally, TPC San Antonio is a putter's paradise and favors strong play inside 150 yards, as well as capable scrambling.
Creme de la Creme
Ryan Moore: $10,200
It's tough to pay the premium for a Kuchar or a Koepka this week. Off since a top-10 finish at the Masters, perennially steady Ryan Moore finished eighth in his only appearance at TPC San Antonio (2012). Moore was 32nd on Tour in strokes gained: putting for 2015-2016 and is 47th across his 26 measured rounds this year.
Branden Grace $10,000
Grace finished tied for ninth at TPC San Antonio last year. The South African tied for 11th with three rounds in the 60s at the RBC Heritage last week and tied for 27th at Augusta National in his start prior. While he struggles with the flatstick, Grace is an adept approach player, placing 13th on Tour in strokes gained: approach last year.
Ian Poulter: $7,900
Poults has never needed it more. Playing on a medical extension, he needs to essentially finish inside the top 30 to pocket enough money to keep his tour card. He played well for three rounds at Hilton Head. There is arguably no player in the field who needs a high finish more. He made the cut in his only appearance at the Valero Texas Open. While he's struggled with his normally steady putting this year, Poulter is 10th on Tour in strokes gained: around the green. But again, it's the qualitative elements that make Poults a must play.
J.J. Spaun: $7,800
The Spawn tied for sixth at the RBC Heritage and has made his last four cuts. He's never played the Valero, so expect him to slide under the radar this week. A Tour rookie, Spaun has proved more than capable of tackling tracks he's seeing for the first time. A solid player off the tee, Spaun is 44th on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season.
Michael Kim: $6,700
Sure he missed the cut at Hilton Head last week, but Michael Kim has been playing some sneaky good golf lately with top-20 finishes in two of his last three starts. And even better: He tied for 21st at last year's Valero Texas Open. Kim is a superb putter and is presently 12th in strokes gained: putting.
David Hearn: $6,500
While his finishes haven't been brilliant, David Hearn has made his last five cuts. He also cracked the top 15 at TPC San Antonio in his two most recent Texas Open starts. Hearn is generally a respectable putter, and he's presently 66th in strokes gained: around-the-green, 10th in sand save percentage and 32nd in scrambling. At $6,500, he's a respectable bet for a top-20 finish.