Expert Picks: Valero Texas Open


This week marks the 20th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to the Lone Star State for the Valero Texas Open, where 144 players will battle at TPC San Antonio. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jimmy Walker: He may have cooled a touch since his torrid start, but he's still the only three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season and the Texas Open is a home game.

Group 2: Chesson Hadley: He needed a top-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to move into the top 50 and earn his first trip to the Masters, but faded on Sunday. At 56th in the world, however, he has plenty of motivation to play well this week.

Group 3: Aaron Baddeley: The Australian hasn't been at his best this season, but his putting is starting to come around (he's fourth in strokes gained putting) and he was in contention until a Sunday 77 derailed his week at Bay Hill.

Group 4: Joe Durant: Still among the game's top ball-strikers, and that's what matters at TPC San Antonio, where last year's champion Martin Laird finished tied for seventh in greens in regulation and tied for eighth in fairways hit.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Jim Furyk: Accuracy is a must on this track, and that's right in Furyk's wheelhouse, as he proved last year with a T-3 finish.

Group 2: Billy Horschel: One of the game's top young ball-strikers has shown signs of soon coming out of a season-long funk.

Group 3: Justin Leonard: One of the forgotten heroes of Texas golf in the past quarter-century, Leonard still has some gas in the tank.

Group 4: Ben Curtis: Every so often, sometimes when we least expect it, Curtis has a way of showing up on the leaderboard and getting into contention.