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Fantasy Island: Valero Texas Open

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GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the the Valero Texas Open. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.


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Valero Texas Open

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Chris Kirk

Group C:
Garth Mulroy

Because the golf gods have a grudge against belly putters only at major championships, not off-the-shelf PGA Tour events, and there is no better competitive comeback in golf right now, non-Tiger Woods division, than the Australian.

Kirk played as well as one can without winning the last time the circuit stopped in the Lone Star State (T-2 at Houston Open) and after watching the Masters at home he’s looking not to miss next year’s show.

The second-year Tour player is a flier in a weak field, but he’d done virtually nothing last year before posting a year’s best tie for sixth, and he’s on a similar path this year with just a missed cut on his 2011 card.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell

Group A:
Ryan Palmer

Group B:
Jimmy Walker

Group C:
Steve Flesch
Nice little run at the Masters gets him going in Texas.
 
Good vibes from last year's run in the event gets him going this week.
 
See Jimmy Walker pick above from Group B ...

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer

Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Angel Cabrera

Group C:
Blake Adams
Two kinds of momentum working here: Great Masters and defending champion.

Even though it's not a major, Cabrera is close to being on form based on his getting into the mix at Augusta.  

I'm going with Adams here, mostly because he's a really nice guy and I've got a bit of a hunch.
John Hawkins

John Hawkins

Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Justin Leonard

Group C:
Rocco Mediate



Everyone will be picking him this week as he is riding the Masters wave.

Seems like he wins this thing every other year.

Tough group to choose from this week and Rocco pops up on the leaderboard a couple of times a year.

Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Group A:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group B:
Fredrik Jacobson

Group C:
Kyle Stanley

A bunch of people will jump on Adam Scott, which is precisely why I'm going with the other Aussie. Ogilvy was in the mix last week, and I'm betting he wants to be there again soon.

The other Freddie has consecutive top-5 finishes in San Antonio and has three top-20 finishes in his last five PGA Tour events.

The pick is only a hunch. Stanley is a good young player and he makes birdies in bunches. He's only missed one cut in 10 events this year.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams

Group A:
Ryan Palmer

Group B:
Spencer Levin

Group C:
Garrett Willis
He may have just two top-10s in 2011, but one of them was 10th place last week in the Masters. He shot a final-round 64 at TPC San Antonio last year to finish T-9.
 
He has three top-10 finishes in 2011 – at Pebble Beach, Mayakoba, and Bay Hill – and is seeking his first PGA Tour win. Also finished T-9 at TPC San Antonio in 2010.
 
Finished T-15 at Innisbrook this year and he would have been higher if not for a final-round 74. Had a solid T-13 in San Antonio last year.

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias

Group A:
Bo Van Pelt

Group B:
Jimmy Walker

Group C:
Rocco Mediate


After a slow start to the 2011 PGA Tour season, he is showing signs of life, including his best finish of the year last week – a tie for eighth place at the Masters. Finished T-28 at TPC San Antonio last year.
 
Had three top-10 finishes in his first five starts in 2011 and is showing signs of good play again. He opened with a 63 in the first round in Houston and returns to a course where he finished T-3 in 2010.
 
Taking a bit of a flier with this one. He has not played well in 2011 and missed the cut here in 2010. But I like the guy and I think he will play well.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Group A:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group B:
Chris Kirk

Group C:
Chris Stroud
Had a good showing at the Masters, and Australians seem to play well in Texas.
 
He played well two weeks ago in Houston so I'm hoping he can continue with Texas magic.
 
I'll go with a guy that has Texas roots. He was born in Texas and went to school at Lamaroard.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee

Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Jhonattan Vegas

Group C:
Nate Smith
Though I may be risking the same thing I did by selecting Phil Mickelson the week after his win in Houston, Adam Scott is the defending champion on this second-year site and played beautifully at Augusta.

It's a home game for the University of Texas product. Sure, San Antonio isn't quite Austin, but Vegas should have a significant amount of Longhorn support. And the course should fit his power game.

Call it a hunch, but I think he learned quite a bit from the weekend in Houston two weeks ago.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton


Group A:
Ryan Palmer

Group B:
Jimmy Walker

Group C:
Kyle Stanley
I need to make something happen, and suspect Adam Scott will be the majority pick. Palmer closed out a T-9 here last year with a bogey-free 64. He also placed 10th at the Masters.
 
Cooled since posting top-10s in three of his first five starts, but lives locally and shared third in the debut of TPC San Antonio last year.
 
Rookie ranks 15th on the PGA Tour in the all-around, including 12th in distance off the tee and 24th in greens hit. Also fifth in par-5 performance. Has cashed in nine of 10 starts.


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