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Kuchar heads weak Texas field - Valero Texas Open

Matt Kuchar of the United States waves to fans during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour moves from South Carolina to the Lone Star State this week for the Valero Texas Open.

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It is by no means the strongest field with most of the big names taking a week off. Matt Kuchar is the favourite and a repeat of his display at the Masters might be good enough to claim the title.

Kuchar turned professional back in 2000 and secured his first title on the PGA Tour within two years, claiming the Honda Classic in 2002, but it took him another seven years to return to the winner’s enclosure.

Another victory followed at the 2010 Barclays but he has not added to his three titles in the past couple of years and he will be desperate to get another win on his CV.

The 33-year-old has been ranked as high as 6th in the world but is currently 15th in the standings although his display at the Masters will have given him hope of getting back into the top 10 this season.

The Florida-born star finished in a tie for third at Augusta and was right in the mix until Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen broke away towards the end of the tournament.

He has secured four top 10s already in 2012 and is a consistent performer stateside and will be the man to beat in San Antonio this week.

Any tournament that has Kevin Na as the second favourite is clearly a wide open event as the 28-year-old has won only once in his 10-year professional career.

But that was in October last year and he was also in decent form at the Masters with a share of 12th place.

He will not have too many fond memories of this tournament, however, having taken an amazing 16 shots at the par-four ninth 12 months ago – the worst score on a par-4 in PGA Tour history.

However, the South Korean-born star has four top 10 finishes to his name this season including a share of eighth place at last week’s RBC Heritage.

He is one of the in-form players on the PGA Tour and looks set for a high finish this week.

KJ Choi is third in the betting but would probably come under the category of ‘best watched’ this week.

He did finish in a tie for 5th at the restricted field Hyundai Tournament of Champions but, that result aside, it has been a below-par campaign for the 41-year-old and he has rarely featured at the business end of events.

The 2012 PGA Tour has been dominated by the big names with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan all claiming titles, but this looks like it could be the week when one of the lesser lights takes the prize.

Players in form include Kevin Stadler, who has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four events.

The 38-year-old also finished just outside the top 10 at the Shell Houston Open and, although he lasted tasted victory four years ago, has the experience to mix it with this line-up.

Charlie Hoffman is a two-time winner, the last of which was at the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship, but he has not pulled up any trees this season.

However a tie for eighth place at the Heritage and a decent display at the Transitions Championship mean he cannot be discounted as a possible winner in Texas.

In truth, it would probably be better to stick a pin in the field to pick a winner this week, such is the lack of big-name players, but if the cream rises to the top, the Kuchar should be there or there abouts on Sunday evening.


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Kuchar heads weak Texas field - Valero Texas Open

The PGA Tour moves from South Carolina to the Lone Star State this week for the Valero Texas Open.

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