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Michael Taylor 13th May 2009 - 11:03

Bac-Kim to end drought

Anthony Kim has failed to reach the supreme heights that saw him finish fourth in last year's Race for the FedEx Cup but he has a great opportunity to get back on track at this week's PGA Tour event, the Valero Texas Open.

The young Californian had a breakthrough year in 2008, winning two tournaments as well as cementing his place in history as a winning member of the US Ryder Cup team.

It had all been so easy for the Korean American but, as so often happens in sport, his second year is proving far tougher.

There have been highlights including a second place finish at the Mercedes Benz Championship in January and a record breaking second round at the US Masters which saw him card an incredible 11 birdies over 18 holes.

Kim obviously has the talent, all he needs now is the luck to go with it and, with a field lacking the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and PLAYERS Championship winner Henrik Stenson, he could have found the perfect event to get back to the winners' enclosure - he is also a pretty handy looking 18/1 to claim the $1,098,000 first place prize.

After all La Cantera Golf Club in San Antonio is ideal for flair players and birdie makers, of which Kim excels like few others.

The par 70 course has become renowned for low scoring and putts dropping which could prove just the tonic Kim needs after miserably missing the cut in last week's PLAYERS Championship.

Of course there are threats throughout the field - none more so than Texas resident and former three time winner (and twice runner-up) Justin Leonard.

The 1997 Open winner is not often a pre-tournament favourite but there is no doubting he deserves is this week on a course that seems almost tailor made for the accurate 36-year-old.

He's also in great form having made six cuts from the last seven tournaments but that is where my scepticism about his chances begins.

He makes cuts, he cards good rounds, yet on final day play this season he is ranked 112th on the PGA circuit. So whether it is age catching up with him, or pressure getting the better of him he cannot be trusted to stay ahead when it matters - therefore I would be reluctant to take the short looking 12/1 about him registering a fourth Texas open title.

A better looking option that has had previous success at La Cantera is Charlie Wi at 25/1.

In fact it's a wonder that his price is that big with the season he's been having.

Three top 10 finishes already this year; stats that rank him amongst the best around and bags full of confidence more than make up for no tour wins. It's definitely more a matter of when rather than if now.

Finally, if you're looking for that surprise outside shock who may find a little extra from somewhere this week then look no further than five-time tour winner Rocco Mediate.

Ok so he hasn't won an event since 2002 but he also hasn't missed a cut this year and at 100/1 he looks a bit of value as an each way shot.

The 46-year-old plays with a smile on his face every time he visits La Cantera and the fact that he's only ever failed to play the weekend once is testament to him getting all the fundamentals right.

It should be a great four days in the Lone Star State although if Anthony Kim re-discovers his touch it may be enough to spur him on to a much needed victory in San Antonio.


18/1 Anthony Kim to win

25/1 E/W Charlie Wi

100/1 E/W Rocco Mediate

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