TOUR Returns to History-Rich Texas

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2006 Valero Texas OpenThe Valero Texas Open is has left its bootprints in golf history dating all the way back to 1942 when Chick Harbert beat Ben Hogan in a playoff at Willow Springs Golf Club in San Antonio.
 
It was the first of many memorable Texas Opens in a state where the golf lore is richer than the Hunt Brothers.
 
In the second Texas Open Byron Nelson, a Texan just like Hogan, also finished runner-up'this time to Johnny Revolta. Nelson ran second the following year to Sam Byrd and never did capture his states open.
 
Hogan beat Byrd by six shots in 1946 and then it was Sam Sneads turn in 1948 and 1950. Jack Burke Jr., yet another Texas golf legend, triumphed in 1952.
 
Soon enough a charismatic Pennsylvanian named Arnold Palmer was winning three straight from 1960 through 1962.
 
And here was Ben Crenshaw, fresh out of the University of Texas, capturing the 1973 event. Don January came first two years later. Lee Trevino got his first Texas Open in 1980.
 
The Texas tradition continued in 2000 and 2001 when Dallas Justin Leonard won on the Resort Course at LaCantera in San Antonio.
 
This years renewal remains at LaCantera and will take place the first week of October as the third event of the PGA TOURs Fall Series.
 
One player to watch in this years field will be, of all things, a Wisconsin native. His name is Mark Wilson and he finished third at LaCantera two years ago. Earlier this year he broke through for his first PGA TOUR win at the Honda Classic.
 
One of his incentives is finishing the season in the top 30 on the money list. Earlier this year The Masters announced it would invite winners of 2007 TOUR events to the 2008 Masters. But that announcement was not retroactive to Wilsons victory at Honda.
 
I had to read the fine print on that one, Wilson said. Since then Wilsons wife, Amy, gave birth to the couples first child, Lane Joseph Wilson. So he has more to play for now.
 
Plus, Wilson said, a lot of the equipment companies base their incentives on finishing in the top 30 on the money list. Through the Turning Stone Resort Championship Sept. 23, Wilson stood at No. 48.
 
Tommy Armour III, the 2003 champion of the Valero Texas Open, ranks No. 98 through the same period. Eric Axley, the 2006 Valero Texas Open winner and the first to take this event in his first appearance since Ron Streak Streck in 1978, was poking along at No. 145 on the money list.
 
Axley is exempt from Q School worries through 2008 thanks to last year at LaCantera. But there will be plenty of tournaments within the tournament as players jockey for spots inside the top 125 as the Fall Series careens towards its early October conclusion.
 
Armours 2003 win was one of the finest 72-hole putting displays in recent PGA TOUR history. And his 72-hole total of 254 still stands as a PGA TOUR record.
 
The Resort course at LaCantera plays to a par of 70.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Valero Texas Open