With many of the world's top players taking the week off as several big events loom in the not-too-distant future, a full field heads to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. Many players will look to emulate Brendan Steele, who used a win at this event last year to springboard into a strong rookie campaign. Young guns and grizzled veterans alike will by vying for the trophy this weekend at TPC San Antonio, hoping to capitalize on a full FedEx Cup point event without having to combat some of the game's top names. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:
• Matt Every carded his third top-10 finish of the year last week at the RBC Heritage behind a hot putter, averaging only 25.8 putts per round for the week. In his three best events of the season (Sony, Mayakoba, RBC) Every has averaged exactly 27 putts per round. By contrast, he has averaged 30.4 putts per round across the five events in which he has missed the cut in 2012.
• Golfers this weekend will be facing a stern test from their very first shot. The 454-yard, par-4 first hole has averaged 4.341 strokes during the tournament the last two years, making it the hardest hole on the course during that time. Conversely, holes 14-18 feature four of the six easiest holes on the course by stroke average.
• Veteran Billy Mayfair will be looking to build on his T-4 finish at Hilton Head last week, his first top-5 finish on Tour since August 2010. The medalist at Q-School in 2010, Mayfair has had a solid start to the year based largely around his short game. Always typically a straight hitter off the tee, he currently also ranks ninth on Tour in scrambling and second on Tour in sand save percentage.
• Boo Weekley logged his second top-10 finish of the season last week in the friendly confines of Harbour Town and will need to tame a balky putter to post a similar result this week in San Antonio. Although Weekley is second on Tour in total driving, he ranks outside the top 150 in strokes gained putting, total putting and average distance of putts made.
• Fredrik Jacobson seems to thrive at this event regardless of venue. The Swede has notched a top-5 finish here each of the last three years, including 2009 when the event was staged at La Cantera. In two years at TPC San Antonio, Jacobson has averaged fewer than 27 putts per round.
• Rookie Harris English continues to have a strong start to his first season on Tour, as his T-8 finish at Hilton Head marked his fifth top-20 finish in ten starts this year. Statistically speaking, his game appears very well-rounded: the University of Georgia alum currently ranks in the top 20 on Tour in driving distance, greens in regulation percentage, birdie average and the all-around ranking.
• James Driscoll will look to continue his strong play in the state of Texas. Coming off a season-best T-8 finish at Houston last month, Driscoll will be in the Valero field looking to improve upon his T-9 finish here from 2010. He also lost to Zach Johnson in a playoff in 2009, the event's final year at La Cantera. The Virginia Cavalier currently ranks third on Tour in total putting.
• When discussing players with strong track records at this event, it may take a while before coming to the name of Brandt Jobe. But in his last four starts here dating back to 2006, Jobe has three top-17 finishes, including a T-15 showing last year at TPC San Antonio. Since starting his 2012 season with four straight missed cuts, Jobe has rebounded by making the cut in four of his last five events, including a T-9 finish at the Puerto Rico Open and a T-16 finish at the Honda Classic.
**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com**
Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3-6PM ET for live coverage of the Valero Texas Open.
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