Valero Texas Open: Luke is top of the list

Luke List can post his first PGA Tour win
Luke List can post his first PGA Tour win

Red-hot Dave Tindall landed yet more profit last week with 66/1 Wesley Bryan winning the RBC Heritage, and he's back to preview this week's PGA Tour event in Texas...

"The trouser legs certainly flapped in Houston and in 20mph+ winds that week he shot 65 in round three and 68 in round four."

Main Bet: Back Luke List @ 51.050/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Main Bet: Back Luke List e/w @ 50/1

It's not too often you see the favourite quoted at 20/1 in a golf tournament and that suggests this week's Valero Texas Open is wide open.

There are plenty in the band between 20/1 and 30/1 that have strong credentials and they include defending champion Charley Hoffman.

He's got a superb record in this event but missed the cut at the Heritage last week and also failed to make the weekend when last attempting to defend a title. Add in his disappointing end to the Masters and I'm willing to let him go.

Instead, I'll take a player at double the odds and make Luke List my 50/1 headline bet.

For this lengthy Greg Norman layout where the par fives need two huge bashes, I want a big hitter on board and List is definitely that man.

The American is 3rd in Driving Distance this year and, although he's not the most accurate, his power helps rank him 17th in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee.

There are several others relatively high in that category who I looked at but they can't putt. Okay, scoring is tough here and it's a long way from a putting contest but you still have to hole a few.

I get a little twitchy if a potential bet is outside the top 100 in Strokes Gained: Putting but two on my initial shortlist - Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer - aren't even in the top 200 for SGP! Hoffman is 156th by the way.

List isn't exactly the best putter you'll see but, at 81st, he's capable of cashing in on that impressive long game.

So what about the basics of current and course form?

As for the former, List's latest start in Texas brought an impressive tied third at the Shell Houston Open where, for the second tournament running, he topped the Scrambling stats.

The 32-year-old was also T17 at Bay Hill two starts previous and earlier this season he reeled off five straight top 20s. That included finishing runner-up in the Sanderson Farms Championship and T7 at the OHL Classic in Mexico.

The OHL is the other Greg Norman track used on the PGA Tour so that T7 bodes well, as does his T13 at the Sony Open.

Both are played in windy conditions and that's usually the deal this week. The trouser legs certainly flapped in Houston and in 20mph+ winds that week he shot 65 in round three and 68 in round four.

Asked about how he managed to post a 65 in such blustery conditions, List said: "I like tough conditions. To me, it's a premium on my ball striking. More attitude than anything. I worked really hard on that the last couple years, and especially this year, I feel like it's paid dividends for me just being as positive as I can. And so I was just trying to be relaxed out there."

At this week's venue, TPC San Antonio, List was T46 on debut in 2013 and T29 last year so that looks a good foundation from which he can really shine on his third appearance.

Okay, he missed the cut at the RBC Heritage last week but he actually shot a 67 in round two and this course looks far more up his street than the fiddly Hilton Head.

Take him each-way at 50/1 to follow in the footsteps of Wesley Bryan and secure a first PGA Tour win.

Next Best: Back Brooks Koepka e/w @ 25/1

At the front end of the betting, the two I like best are Brooks Koepka and Brendan Steele.

Steele has the course form (he won here in 2011) and has three other top 15s but Koepka is the bigger talent and he looks a spot of value at 25s whereas Steele doesn't at 28s.

Koepka admitted he lost his game for a while this season but the 27-year-old came back to form by making the knockout stage of the WGC-Dell Match Play.

The next test of his well-being was the Masters and Koepka proved he really was on the right track again by finishing T11, his best ever finish there.

It came courtesy of a closing 69 so he would have left Augusta National feeling pleased but with a feeling that there was still more to come, especially as he doubled the 17th in round four which denied him a top 10.

Koepka tends to bunch good performances together and last year followed second place at the Byron Nelson Championship (his last strokeplay start in Texas) with another runners-up finish at the St. Jude Classic.

His strong record in the majors (not outside the top 21 in the last seven he's played) shows he likes a tougher test and he'll certainly get that here at a tournament where the winning score has averaged just above 10-under over the last six years.

Stats-wise, Koepka is a bomber off the tee who ranks 6th in Driving Distance, 3rd in Par 5 Scoring Average and 21st in Strokes Gained: Putting.

All good so far although some will be a little wary of his course form.

A T36 on debut in 2014 was decent enough but last year he shot 73-72 and missed the cut.

I'm putting more faith in his talent (currently world number 24), recent momentum and ability to win in all parts of the world and in different conditions (Japan 2016, Phoenix, USA 2015, Turkey 2014, Scotland 2013, Spain 2012).

Ryan Moore and Adam Hadwin were others who caught my eye.

Moore had an excellent Masters until falling away on Sunday to finish T9. He also posted T8 at this venue on his only start in 2012.

Hadwin rarely has a bad week and did shoot a second-round 69 here in his lone appearance in 2015 despite missing the cut.

Final Bet: Back John Peterson e/w @ 200/1

Finally, I'm going to throw a dart at John Peterson at 200/1.

He's a born-and-bred Texan, who sits 14th in greens in regulation and 32nd for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee.

His weakness is on the greens and on Twitter he even said last week: "Looking for a putting coach asap."

Having said I don't want dodgy putters, it seems contradictory to pick out Peterson but let's not forget he's 200/1 not 25/1 this week.

Strangely, he is actually ranked 1st in Putts Per Round in Rd 3 and 8th in Putting from 8 feet so he's not exactly a write-off with the short stick.

In an ideal world, he'll have located a putting coach and found a quick fix for this week.

Other assets he has this week are an ability to play well in the wind and some useful previous course form.

Peterson was 15th in the OHL Classic (third-round 64) in November and also made the top 25 in Puerto Rico last month where he shot a 66 on the windiest day.

He's teed it up three times in this event and on his last visit to TPC San Antonio in 2015 he closed with a 68 to finish T11. Only five players made more birdies that week and two of those were Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson!

Peterson certainly seems enthusiastic about his return and tweeted on Monday: "Headin down to that @valerotxopen. One of the best weeks of the year."

This is a guy who once finished tied fourth in a US Open (2012) so the potential is there.

He missed the first eight months of last season with a hand injury and the lay-off gave him a new outlook as he watched players he graduated with (Harris English, Russell Henley and others) kick on.

In Phoenix this year, Peterson explained: "Watching them last year when I was sitting around, watching Jordan, all the younger guys, to be frank, I have beaten in the past, I got kind of sick of it and it came to me I just needed to really start putting everything I had into it.

"In my opinion, I have severely underachieved, and I think a lot of people that are around the PGA Tour, have been here for a while, would agree with me. I just haven't really given it my full effort since I have been out here. I just kind of treaded water and do just as good as you can and hadn't really treated it as a job. But now I have a wife, two dogs, a mortgage.

"I want to win, man. I want to win. I have been out here long enough. This is my fourth year. I need to win one. I have got a much different outlook on it now than I did."

This looks a good course for him so hopefully that improved attitude can shine through this week.

Dave's 2016/17 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £640
Returned: £1582.81
P/L: +£942.81

(After the RBC Heritage)

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