PGA Tour makes stops in Texas

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As is usual, the PGA Tour will make a couple of stops in Texas before the highly coveted Masters Championship gets underway later this month.

The first tournament of the Texas swing was the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which was played late last month. It was played at the five-year-old TPC San Antonio.

The two courses of TPC San Antonio, the AT&T Oaks and AT&T Canyons Course, are consistently rated as two of the hardest courses on the PGA Tour by scoring average. Their long distance and brutal winds make birdies a lot harder to come by than most PGA Tour venues.

Texas native Jimmy Walker won the event with a 11-under-par 277. Other notables in the field included 2014 FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Harris English and Jimmy Walker. Former Longhorns Jordan Spieth, Justin Leonard, Jhonattan Vegas and Lance Lopez also competed.

Notably, this was be Lopez’ first PGA Tour start. After a successful college career, he has struggled to translate his game to the professional level. That changed when he shot a 6-under 66 at the Monday qualifier to make the field for the tournament. Lopez looked to take advantage of the opportunity to help him gain access to even more PGA tournaments.

Spieth came into the event fresh off of his win at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida two weeks ago. Before the event, he was ranked ninth in the FedEx Cup rankings and was a favorite to win. However, he finished four strokes behind Walker for second place. 

Leonard is the veteran of the Longhorn trio as his 21-year career and 12 PGA Tour wins show. His season has gotten off to a slow start with only one top-10 finish and he has been cut from five of the ten tournaments he has played in.

Next, PGA Tour will head to the Golf Club of Houston for the Shell Houston Open.

The course has traditionally served as a warm-up for the Masters with the golf course set up to emulate many of the same features as Augusta National.

Last year, Matt Jones won the event, which was his first win on the PGA Tour. His 15-under-par total forced him into a playoff with Matt Kuchar whom he would eventually defeat.

Notables in the field include Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth, all of who are ranked in the top-10 in the World Golf Rankings.

Play will get underway on Thursday, April 2. It will be televised on the Golf Channel.