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Michael Taylor 18th Apr 2012 - 11:17

Valero Texas Open – five players getting early attention

The Valero Texas Open has played host to some memorable moments in its 90-year history, including Arnold Palmer dominating for three years in a row from 1960-1962, Tommy Armour recording a PGA Tour record 72-hole score of 254 in 2003 and Kevin Na making a 12-over par 16 in last year's edition.

It's a tournament generally dominated by the Americans with only eight overseas players ever tasting glory in San Antonio, although Australia's Adam Scott did land two years ago. So the question is where is the betting money going ahead of Thursday's play?

1. Harris English - 40/1

The 22-year-old Georgian managed a career best eighth place finish in last week's RBC but obviously showed enough as he's currently the biggest loser in our book. He started at 40/1 and despite a flood of bets he remains a 40/1 shot mainly down to his lack of experience and more importantly the lack of a top five finish on his resume.

For English it's more a question of when he'll break through rather than if. We'll certainly be monitoring him closely but, for now, he's still a lay we're happy to make.

2. Bud Cauley - 28/1

Another 22-year-old is also drawing attention this week and he's a guy we're expecting to see a lot of in the future. Don't be fooled by Cauley's slight frame. He has sufficient distance off the tee and an all-round game that will only get better. A couple of top-10 finishes already this season hint at an imminent breakthrough and as such he has our traders slightly worried.

We put him out at 40/1 and he has been nibbled at enough to warrant cutting him firstly into 33s and then to 28s. It will be interesting to see if his support keeps growing before the tournament begins despite the price moves - either way he's definitely going to draw our attention on Thursday.

3. Cameron Tringale - 50/1

We're beginning to see a trend this week of money heading towards youth with 24-year-old Tringale our third biggest loser. This one seems to have real substance though after an unlucky fifth place finish in last year's Texas Open and an eighth place in last week's RBC showing he areas with both current form and course form.

Given his ability it's a bit surprising to see him at only 70% on the year for made cuts but we would be more than happy to see that percentage drop even more this week. Despite all of this, if he can keep his momentum going then he could easily be the value pick in San Antonio at 50/1 - it's also worth mentioning he's the most popular bet so far.

4. Charley Hoffman - 25/1

Hoffman breaks the streak when it comes to support for Tour event winners, although he has gone winless since 2010. Another one of the eighth place finishers at the RBC, he'll be looking for a more consistent week after making life difficult last week with an opening round 74 followed by a second round 65.

He has an astonishing record at the Texas Open, finishing outside of the top-15 only once in six attempts and should be there or there abouts again. Whether he can make the final step and become the champ is anyone's guess - and the reason we're out at a rather cagey 25/1.

5. Jimmy Walker - 50/1

Walker rounds off the list and we can only assume our punters have good memories. To simply put it he stunk it up in San Antonio last year, shooting five over before getting a weekend break. Prior to that he hadn't failed to shoot under par, with his best finish coming in 2010 (3rd).

At this stage it's hard to tell whether he's a value pick in a weak field or whether his big name status and big price is the driving force. Whatever the reasons we can expect further action before play gets going although at this stage a Walker win is not a huge disaster for our book.


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