The tour heads west following the RBC Heritage and the first career win for Wesley Bryant as it is back to Texas for the Valero Texas Open from the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course. This is the eighth year that the Oaks will host this event and the second straight year that it falls into the same part of the schedule following Hilton Head and preceding the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The field strength was down last week following the Masters and it is even down lower this week.
For the fourth straight year, the Oaks was ranked as one of the most difficult courses in non-majors while ranking third for toughest in par five scoring and the 7,435-yard layout is expected to play difficult again this year. This is a shot makers course and that is proven with the way the par fives are played. The scoring average on those holes last year came in at just under par for the fifth straight year and when players can't score on par fives, they aren't going to score much of anywhere else.
Now with seven years of history, we have some good data to look at as far as course history and course fit. Similar to Augusta and Harbour Town, this is a unique course where some players have proven to have a great history here. Additionally, Texas golf is in effect so those who can hit through wind and keep the ball low will be rewarded. Temperatures will be moderate with rain possible early on but the weekend looks great with moderate wind throughout.
This Greg Norman designed layout emphasizes ball striking while distance is a plus as well. That makes Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green a very essential stat this week and even more so with the difficulty of the par fives with three reaching 591 yards and over. Five of the 10 par fours are 450 yards or longer so hitting greens is tough at the Oaks which makes scrambling another key stat to hit on. The winning score has ranged from -8 to -14 since moving here in 2010.