Ollie Schniederjans ready to win a Lone Star State shootout
Adam Scott can become a contender again in Texas
Starts 1pm Thursday
Live on Sky Sports from 6.30pm Thursday
Sergio Garcia tees up at the layout he helped design for the first time since 2010, the Spaniard assuming market leadership for the Texas Open. Garcia assisted Greg Norman with plans for TPC San Antonio while dating The Shark's daughter, but the couple split and Garcia's love for the course quickly waned too.
Garcia has since married a Texan and settled in the state, but he looks a short price at 14-1 this week given a disappointing and slightly embarrassing Masters title defence in which he took 13 shots at the 15th hole in round one.
Palmer's top tip
Ollie Schniederjans 45-1
The Texas Open looks wide-open with an unappealing favourite, two regular nearly-men in Matt Kuchar and Charley Hoffman coming next in the betting, and a defending champion in Kevin Chappell who has performed abysmally since withdrawing from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with a back injury.
The stage could be set for one of the brightest young talents on the US Tour to make his breakthrough. Ollie Schniederjans, who was born in Dallas and will enjoy some home-state support, looks ready to become a champion at the age of 24.
Schniederjans was world number one amateur for 41 weeks, starring at college for Georgia Tech, and he finished 12th as an amateur in the 2015 Open at St Andrews. The following summer he won on the Web.com Tour before going on to establish himself as a US Tour star.
Last season, Schniederjans posted five top-ten finishes, his best performances coming with third place in the Heritage and a runner-up effort in the Wyndham Championship at the end of August. He produced some magnificent golf down the stretch of the Wyndham, closing with a 64 and pushing Henrik Stenson all the way, the Swede needing to cover his final six holes in four under par for a one-shot success.
This year, Schniederjans has further impressed, finishing seventh in the Sony Open and third in the Phoenix Open, ending up only three shots shy of a playoff in both events. He has not played terribly in any of his eight 2018 spins – his two missed cuts were both by a single shot – and he hauled himself from the cut-line to 42nd place with solid golf last weekend in the Heritage. He closed with back-to-back birdies and headed to Texas full of hunger.
Last season, Schniederjans struck his ball superbly while struggling on and around the greens, while this season it has been the other way around. It is unlikely to be long before everything clicks and this venue, where he finished 18th on debut last year, represents a fine opportunity.
Adam Scott 33-1
The career of Adam Scott is at a crossroads and could go either way. The Australian turns 38 in July, having dropped down the world rankings last year, and he needs to arrest the decline quickly or could fade into obscurity. His well documented putting problems have not gone away.
It is definitely worth taking the chance at a juicy price that the Texas Open provides a springboard to better things. There were plenty of excuses for the form-dip of Scott last season and TPC San Antonio is the perfect course for the former world number one and 2013 Masters champ to get back on track.
Scott made just 19 starts last year – the fewest of his career – as he adjusted to life as a father of two. He spent much of 2017 relaxing at his houses in the Bahamas, Switzerland and Australia. Practice was on the backburner and he did not even have a swing coach for the occasions when he did decide to work on his game.
A more determined Scott has been on show this year. He has recruited George Gankas as his new coach, and a couple of bright performances on the Florida Swing suggested it will not be long before the 14-time US Tour champion resumes his place in the top 50 of the world rankings.
Scott has always been a man to fear in Texas. He has won four US Tour events in the Lone Star State, including the Texas Open when TPC San Antonio was first used in 2010. He was 23rd on his only subsequent visit. This is a ball-strikers' track which plays massively to the strengths of Scott.
It is a positive that Scott has finally ended his part-time relationship with Steve Williams and will have a full-time caddie this year. The chopping and changing did no good. David Clark is the permanent bagman for 2018 and that consistency can help Scott recover his status in the game.
Others to note
Si Woo Kim
The Korean suffered a two-shot penalty for a rules infringement in round two of the Heritage last week, then threw the title away with a succession of missed short putts in the closing stages. Can he bounce back from his agonising playoff defeat by contending in his adopted home state this week?
Another recent playoff loser is worth a second glance. Hossler, who was defeated by Ian Poulter in the Houston Open, went to college in Texas and has impressed on a few occasions this season.
The greens-in-regulation machine has a good venue to show off his ball-striking solidity, but he missed the cut by two shots on his TPC San Antonio debut last year.
The power-packed Seattle man had another great opportunity for a US Tour breakthrough in the Heritage on Sunday, but came up just shy again. Could run into a place in San Antonio.
The Texas-born Mexican has settled nicely on the US Tour and finished eighth in the Houston Open last time out. Tempting each-way option at big prices.
The powerhouse rookie is one of the most promising youngsters on the circuit and TPC San Antonio is a layout where he could show off his skills.
2pts each-way 45-1 Betfred
2pts each-way 33-1 Coral
Course TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course), San Antonio, Texas
Prize money $6.2m ($1.116m to the winner)
Length 7,435 yards
Course records – 72 holes 274 Adam Scott (2010), Martin Laird (2013) 18 holes 63 Matt Every (2012), Martin Laird (2013)
Course winners taking part Adam Scott, Brendan Steele, Martin Laird, Steven Bowditch, Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell
When to bet By 1pm Thursday
Where to watch Live on Sky Sports from 6.30pm Thursday
Time difference Texas is six hours behind the UK and Ireland
Last week – The Heritage 1 S Kodaira (250-1), 2 S-W Kim (100-1), T3 B DeChambeau (45-1), L List (40-1), T5 W Simpson (33-1), B Horschel (200-1), T7 K Streelman (125-1), P Cantlay (35-1), B Haas (150-1), B H An (70-1), C Hadley (125-1), K Kisner (40-1), I Poulter (50-1)
Course overview The Oaks Course was designed by Greg Norman (with the assistance of Sergio Garcia) and has been used for this tournament since 2010. Adam Scott won there first before saying that the layout reminded him of sandbelt courses in Australia.
There are plenty of deep bunkers, along with lots of penal scrubland, off the fairways. Most holes are tight off the tee, others afford room for manoeuvre. The greens are undulating and tough to hold. Three of the four par-threes are 200-yards-plus with the 13th a beast at 241. The first two par-fives (second and eighth) are over 600 yards apiece. The par-four fourth is the hardest hole of all. The par-fours of one and nine (where Kevin Na once carded a 16) are also difficult, but the 14th and 17th are excellent par-four birdie chances.
Not many players finish under par in this event and anything double-digits under always has an excellent chance of victory.
Story of last year Kevin Chappell repelled a fast-finishing Brooks Koepka to land a maiden US Tour title, the Californian holing from eight feet for a winning birdie at the final hole
Weather forecast Humid and unsettled, with a thunderstorm expected from Friday night through Saturday morning. Moderate breezes peaking on Sunday
Type of player suited to challenge Crisp ball-strikers who find plenty of greens in regulation are typically favoured for this challenging assignment. Length is a serious asset in aiding GIR stats on a long course which is set for a Saturday morning soaking
Key attribute Power
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