Conditions in Texas this week may be rather different to Drogheda, but like the Irish Open, this is a tournament where form students should have a better chance than usual. We know La Cantera GC well, as its been hosting this longstanding fixture for decades, though this will be the last time as the event moves to San Antonio from next year. One last chance then, to put that massive bank of previous course form to good use.
A very short course by modern standards, this par-70 has become one of the easiest tracks on the PGA Tour. The highest winning score this century was a mere -14, while Zach Johnson won with -19 last October. The stats here repeatedly show that driving distance is of little relevance to scoring, with pinpoint accuracy from tee to green plus a hot putter the key to success.
Though the event has seen several shock winners; all four from 2003 to 2006 started at 200/1+; detailed study of previous course form has normally proved a very reliable guide. There are a number of course specialists, none more so than Justin Leonard, who is bidding for his fourth win here. Besides those three victories, Leonard has also been runner-up twice, so it’s no wonder to see him sharing favouritism with defending champion Johnson.
It would be easy to recommend either player, as their chances look rock-solid. Both are relatively short-hitters, and it is only their weakness in that department that keeps them just outside the game’s elite. This course clearly doesn’t penalise any lack of distance, bringing their iron supremacy to the fore. Nevertheless, every player has his price and 14/1 is no more than correct. Leonard hasn’t done anything special lately anyway, and Zach could be distracted by other duties as defending champion.