Valero Texas Open. Jimmy Walks It.

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Jimmy walks it all the way to the winners circle at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

Valero Texas Open

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images 

Hometown boy Jimmy Walker lives just 35 minutes drive away from TPC San Antonio, and had his whole family our supporting him. He is the first 54 hole leader this season to go on and win a title on the PGA Tour.

A final round -2 under par 70 gave him a winning total of -11 under par, and a comfortable four shot victory;

“It doesn’t happen very often, winning in your home town.”

“The course wasn’t giving as much and it was hard to make pars.”

“I felt I was leaking a little bit of oil here, wasn’t putting very good and then finally smoothed out the putting stroke a little bit and got it back to where it was the past couple of days.” 

“All this keeps adding momentum and confidence, that’s what we’re out here to do.”

“I like Augusta, I’m going to take a look at it. I’m excited to go.”

 

 Longhorn Jordan Spieth finished in second place at -9 under par, he also had a last round -2 under par, and try as he might he could not catch the unflappable Jimmy.

PGA FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel was third on his own at -4 under after a final round -1 under par 71.

Texas Longhorns are a nearly extinct breed of English cattle, found in the Lone Star State 

Valero Texas Open. Jimmy Walker Leads

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Jimmy Walker leads the Valero Texas Open at the half-way stage at TPC San Antonio.

Valero Texas Open

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy used a hot putter to put together a second round -5 under par 67 in the Valero Texas Open, and would dearly love to win at Home;

“I was just kind of around the hole, didn’t make anything, and then finally got one to go on six.”

“I hit a good iron shot, just got it on top of the ridge there on 7 and made that putt.”

“And that 12-footer I made for birdie on the par-5, 8th hole, that was a nice little finish.”

“I’ve been rolling it pretty good, I’ve been working hard on my putting at home and it was ready to go this week. It feels like the hard work is paying off.”

“A win anywhere means a lot, but being at home, you get to have parents, in-laws, friends, best friends, distant family.”

“It would be cool. It doesn’t put anymore pressure on you, I think. If anything you’ve got a nice support crew out there and you’ve got good vibes and good mojo, and I believe in all that stuff.”

“So I think positive energy is good. I think we’ll have a lot of that.”

Aaron Baddeley and Charlie Hoffman are still in touch, just one shot behind at -5 under par for the competition, sharing second place.

Kevin Na and Jordan Spieth are tied in fourth position with -4 under par totals.

Jordan said he would like to see the return of the wind

“I would like to see a little bit more wind than today on the weekend to have a chance to shoot a few under and make up some ground.”

 “Overall, I’m very pleased with today. I got a really good draw today, on top of yesterday, and took advantage.”

“It played about as easy as I think it can play today.”

“A couple of the holes were still in tough locations, but there should be some more gettable locations this weekend. But all in all, this was the day to take advantage.” 

“I’m in contention which is right where I want to be. I’m chasing Aaron and Jimmy, two really, really good players that aren’t going to give up the lead easily, so I’m going to have to bring my A-game.” 

Valero Texas Open. Charlie Calms the Texas Wind-Tunnel

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Charlie Hoffman calmed the Texas wind-tunnel at the Texas Valero Open, taking him all the way to the summit of the leaderboard.

Texas Valero Open

Charley Hoffman / Getty Images

Charley shot a bogey free wind-swept Valero Texas Open first round -5 under par 67, to sit on top of the leaderboard.

The  early morning starters faced wind gusts around 40 mph, while Charlie contended with a steady 15 mph wind in the afternoon at TPC San Antonio.

 

When almost 22 percent of the field (31 of 141) shoots 80 or higher, you know it is a bad day. So bad that Martin Kaymer carded +10 over par 82, and he was not the worst, the worst professional score today was +16 over par.

Aaron Baddeley is in second place at -4 under par.  On the driveable par-4 17th hole he decided to hit a cut driver, instead of going all out with a fairway wood and then watched in horror as the ball disappeared into the woods. He took three off the tee and holed out for an unlikely birdie;

“I was thinking of gripping a 3-wood or hit a cut driver, and I don’t know, I went with the cut driver and hit a pulled draw in the middle of the trees.”

“I just thought I’d just hit it straight and so I hit it and started walking and then heard the crowd going nuts, I was like, wait, I just made birdie.”

“I played really nice for the majority of the day. I just said to myself it was the wrong shot. Hit a straight one. It was straight downwind, get it going straight, it will go straight.”

“So I hit the second one and said, man, why didn’t I do that the first time? And it rolls up and goes in.”

“I knew it was going to be blowing, I saw the forecast, it was going to die down just a little bit.”

“So even going to bed last night I already had the mindset. I just had to be patient, whether you got off to a good start or a bad start. So I think days like today the mindset is the most important.”

Max Homa is in third place at -3 under par for the tournament, one ahead of Ryan Palmer and Phil Mickelson.

In a very strange occurrence, while hitting a shot from the fairway bunker, the head on Phil’s Callaway X-Forged ’13 8-iron flew off, leaving him with just the shaft in his hands;

“Yeah, it was weird, the shaft broke just above the hosel, it was just a weird thing. It happens. It’s part of the game, I guess. You hit enough shots it’s going to work out.”

“I’m just curious at what point on the downswing it came off, if it was right before impact or right at impact, because the shot didn’t come off very well.”

“I would have used it the next three holes, I had to feather a 7-iron all three times.”

Valero Texas Open

Phil and broken club / Getty Images

Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open. Steve Bowditch Wins First PGA Tour Title

dragon logo darkValero Texas Open LogoSteve Bowditch won his first PGA TOUR title at the Valero Texas Open on the TPC San Antonio golf course

.Bowditch holds on for first win

Steve Bowditch and his first Trophy / Getty Images

Steve carded a final round of +4 over par 76, but his -8 under par total was still enough to lift the trophy. His  final-round score was the highest by a winner since Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. The field today averaged a very mediocre  73.8 on a windy day at TPC San Antonio.

Steve said he knew early on that is was going to be a tough day at the office;

“I was able to stay pretty positive, to be honest. After a period of time out there, with the way I was playing, I kind of just accepted the fact that I was going to be playing from cactus, moving rocks, missing putts and just had to deal with it every time. It happened so frequently that it never really surprised me. I was just lucky enough that the wind was up enough today that no one else could squeeze in there and shoot a good score.”

Steve swapped his  putter after the first round, but said that is something he does on an almost weekly basis;

“After I played well on Thursday, with my ball-striking, I thought, ‘Hang on a moment, I might be able to get in contention this week with the way I was hitting the ball.’ I just wanted to go back to a putter that I was completely comfortable with.”

Will Mackenzie and Daniel Summerhayes tied for second place at -7 under par, Will with a final round -2 under par 70, and Daniel a -1 under par 71.

Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe shared fourth place at -6 under par, both of them carding  last rounds of +3 over par 75.

 

Valero Texas Open. Bowditch Bowls Along, While Phil Withdraws.

dragon logo darkValero Texas Open LogoSteve Bowditch bowls happily along in the Valero Texas Open, opening up a three shot lead at TPC San Antonio. Poor Phil pulled a muscle and has had to with-draw.

Steven Bowditch made a late birdie to extend his margin in Texas. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Steve Bowditch / Getty Images

Steve, seeking his first PGA TOUR title, shot a – 4 under par 68 third round to reach -12 under par tournament total at the Valero Texas Open. His score was helped by his good short game, he chipped in on his first two holes, for birdie and then Eagle, which got him off to a great start. He has never slept on a lead before;

‘I’ve won four or five times in between Australia and Web.com. I’ve got a little experience, but not a great deal, especially at this level. I’ve never slept on a lead, so we’ll see how we go.”

” The chip on the first hole calmed my nerves a little bit, it was as easy a chip as you’re going to have out here.”

Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe are tied in second place at -9 under par, while Pat Perez is next in line at -8 under par. These guys must be wondering if Steve is going to continue with his excellent play.

Matt was surprised with his score today, the best round of the week so far at -7 under par 65;

Still surprised to be at 7 under today. It’s not a score I would have thought was out there with these sort of windy conditions.”

Someone said that watching Andrew prepare to hit the ball is like getting teeth pulled.

Phil Mickleson tweaked a muscle in his back and was forced to withdraw from the tournament, he explained what happened;

” My back’s feeling great, my body’s feeling great. I felt as good as I have all year. My speed is back, I was hitting the ball hard, driving it great.I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit it hard, It just killed me and it wouldn’t subside for ten or twelve seconds. I’m going back to San Diego for a couple of days and have a doctor look at it, but there’s really not much you can do for a pulled muscle. I hope I’ll be OK to play the Shell in Houston, but I just don’t know.”

Phil’s caddie Jim Bones Mackay thinks it will not stop Phil from playing in the Shell Houston Open next week;

”It’s definitely not his back, it’s his right side. The thing he had been talking about is how good his back had been feeling here. He’ll definitely play Houston, if he can.”

” As you might imagine, he’s trying to get ready for Augusta, he’s hitting a lot of drivers, hitting them harder. He hit one off the first tee, his 10th hole today and just felt a little pain in his side. It continued on for a few minutes and he just decided that he didn’t want to take anything to chance relative to what’s going on the next couple weeks.”

“In a perfect world, he’d love to play Houston. He loves the tournament, loves the city and it’s great preparation for Augusta. Obviously, he’s going to make the right decision relative to what his body’s telling him.”

Valero Texas Open. Bowditch Leads, Marvelous Mickleson Makes Cut.

dragon logo darkValero Texas Open Logo Steve Bowditch leads the Valero Texas Open, and a marvelous round from Phil Mickelson sees him make the cut at TPC San Antonio.

Bowditch leads in Texas

Steve Bowditch / Getty Images

Steve Bowditch holds the lead  for the first time in his career, after a second round -5 under par saw him post -8 under par to top the leaderboard at the Valero Texas Open. His lead could, and should, have been greater except  for carding a double-bogey on his final hole. A poor approach left him with an awkward chip from the side of the green, which he under hit. the next chip still left him short of the cup, resulting in a two putt double bogey. He puts the putting down as enemy number one;

“My putter has really been a big problem this year. I’ve been fighting that, but ball-striking wise has been pretty good. I’m not making many putts at the moment, so most of my birdies have been sort of coming inside of six or five feet. I’ve hit a lot of good wedge shots. I made a couple good par saves on my back nine this afternoon, but all in all it’s been more of hitting my approach shots pretty close.”

“It was a frustrating way to finish, but it is what it is. Hit a couple bad shots on the last hole unfortunately, but all in all, it was good. Happy with it.”

Chad Collins shares  second place, just one shot back of the lead at -7 under par, with Andrew Loupe. Chad  carded one of the low rounds of the day, a -6 under par 66.

Phil Mickelson made a miraculous birdie on his final hole,  TPC San Antonio’s par five 18th, to shoot -2 under par 70 on Friday and make the cut on the number at  +3 over par 147.

Phil Mickelson hit this shot to 5 feet, then made the birdie putt to make the Valero Texas Open cut. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Phil, from here to birdie on the final hole, to make the cut / Getty Images
In certain circles this is known as the Masonic shot, Phil explained his dilemma;
“I was right in between going for the green or playing a little bit to the right trying to get up and down, and I hit a very close to being a great shot and it went in the water. Unfortunately, it just barely went in where I hit my shot. It looked like the water overlapped the grass and it was not that hard of a shot. There was a rock that I hit but, I didn’t see it at address.”
” I haven’t had the success I’ve wanted to early on at the start of the season. I want to get in contention, I want to have a competitive round and work on playing proper golf and managing the game and the rounds.”
Two weeks ago, Danny Lee had held a share of the first-round lead at the Valspar Championship, but slumped to a second round 79, to miss the cut. Unfortunately he has repeated the fatal feat this week at TPC San Antonio, going from the top of the leaderboard to sink lower than a snakes belly after rounds of 68 and 83. Danny had only one birdie Friday and made nine bogeys in addition to a triple bogey on his sad trip to an early exit.

Valero Texas Open. 1st Round play Suspended. Fog in Texas ?

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TPC San Antonio was shrouded in fog during the opening round of the Valero Texas Open, causing a suspension in Play.

Valero Texas Open - Round One    Valero Texas Open - Round One

                                          Pat Perez   and Danny Lee/ Getty Images

At the time the horn blew Pat Perez and Danny Lee had completed their first rounds and sat at the top of the leaderboard of the Valero Texas Open. They both carded opening rounds of -4 under par 68. The fog kept temperatures in the 50s before it burned off and gave way to sun and readings in the 80s.

Pat spoke of the conflicting temperatures;

“This morning it was freezing, and I hit balls on the practice range in four layers of clothes. Now, I’m sweating.”

What is worrying, and noteworthy, is the form of Phil Mickleson, who shot a +5 over par 77 opening round, to fall nine strokes back of the lead.  That horrible 77 was Phil’s highest score since he shot a 78 in August in the PGA Championship.

It seems Phil was as surprised as the rest of us;

“I had been playing real well at home, so to come out and play like this is disappointing, just didn’t feel quite sharp. I didn’t putt well, I had a couple of three-putts that hurt. Iron play wasn’t great. I didn’t drive it bad, until that last hole.”

In his previous two starts, Phil missed the cut in the Honda Classic, and then tied for 16th at Doral in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. This is not good preparation for The Masters, just two weeks away. Phil will play in the Houston Open before heading to Augusta National.

Looks like Phil will have plenty of time to practice, making the cut here is a long way off, currently T 135 out of a field of 144.