Valero Texas Open Preview

The PGA Tour heads west to San Antonio, Texas for the Valero Texas Open -- one of five tour stops in the Lone Star State. The beautiful JW Marriott TPC San Antonio Oaks Course will host the talented field for the 26th tournament of the 2015-2016 season.

Past champion headlines field

Jimmy Walker will return to his residential state of Texas to attempt to defend his 2015 Valero Texas Open title. Walker is fresh off an over-par, tied for 29th finish at the Masters. The American has yet to win a championship since this exact tournament a year ago.

Joining Walker in the field is Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Thongchai Jaidee as well as many more elite worldwide golfers. Branden Grace will look to back-up his first career PGA Tour win last week with a solid week on the Oaks Course. Bryson DeChambeau will make his second professional start this week and with his recent form his name shall be expected to be seen near the top of the leaderboard throughout the week.

Jimmy Walker at the 2015 Valero Texas Open. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jimmy Walker at the 2015 Valero Texas Open. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Course analysis

The TPC San Antonio Oaks Course will throw a handful of challenges to the golfers teeing it up for the Valero Texas Open this week. The beautiful golf course consists of an abundance of Bermuda grasses. The native grasses will threaten the golfers if they strike the ball astray from the fairways.

The course is weaved throughout oak trees and narrow openings which will ask of consistent ball-striking and shot-placement with the course lacking lenience for misfired golf shots. The par 72 course's slopes work with the wind to make the uphill and downhill holes equivalent. Golfers will ultimately need to stay positive as they should expect good and bad breaks from the sloping terrain.

Final round action of the 2015 Valero Texas Open. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Final round action of the 2015 Valero Texas Open. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Golfers expected to be in contention

All eyes will be on Jimmy Walker as he returns for his title defense, but Walker does not necessarily deem the favorite. Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell both had solid weeks last week in Hilton Head and with their performances at the Valero Texas Open in the past, they both know what it takes to score low on a challenging golf course, the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course.

Branden Grace just joined the winners circle on the PGA Tour which opened many doors for the South African. Grace played brilliant golf on and off the greens and his fine form could carry over to this week and cause trouble for the rest of the elite field.

Steven Bowditch and Jordan Spieth have played magnificent golf on the Oaks Course in the past, but will be absent for this year’s tournament. Without Spieth, the tournament deems as an opportunity for all the golfers to take the championship. Zach Johnson played his best golf on a hilly, native course, as he went on to win The Open Championship last year. The golf course will suit his game, but his recent form has been shaky and inconsistent. Phil Mickelson will also be in conversation throughout the event as he looks for his first PGA Tour trophy in three years.

Phil Mickelson in the Masters action. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Phil Mickelson in the Masters action. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

Prediction

Charley Hoffman could win his fourth career PGA Tour victory this weekend. His golf this year, along with his previous results in San Antonio, gives the American the confidence and belief it takes to win out on the grueling tour. Hoffmann could have four rounds in the 60s as he will utilize his driver during his Valero Texas Open campaign.

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