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April 20, 2017

First Round Notes

Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 85. Wind SSE 10-20 mph.

First-Round Leaderboard

Branden Grace66(-6)
Stewart Cink67(-5)
John Huh67(-5)
Will Mackenzie67(-5)
Steven Alker67(-5)

Branden Grace

A year ago, South Africa’s Branden Grace made his way to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open a week after claiming his first PGA TOUR title at the RBC Heritage. After opening with back-to-back, even-par 72s in rounds one and two, he posted weekend scores of 69-67 to finish T9 at 8-under 280.

In his fourth start at the Valero Texas Open this week, Grace opened with a 6-under 66. It marked his first sub-par score in an opening round at TPC San Antonio. He made seven birdies, with his lone bogey coming at the par-4 fourth hole.

This marks Grace’s second 18-hole lead on the PGA TOUR. He led after 18 holes at the 2015 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, before finishing T5.

The low 18-hole score since moving to the TPC San Antonio-AT&T Oaks Course of 9-under 63 belongs to Matt Every (R1/2012) and Martin Laird (R4/2013).

Grace’s 66 marks his lowest score in 13 rounds at TPC San Antonio, supplanting a 67 to close last year’s event. In his last two rounds at the Valero Texas Open, he is now 11-under-par.

In relation to par, Grace’s 66 today is his lowest score since firing the same score in round three of last year’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

Grace hit an impressive 13 of 14 fairways in regulation in round one (No. 9) and found 14 of 18 greens.

Grace is making his 12th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with a T11 at last week’s RBC Heritage his best showing.

Including his victory at Harbour Town, Grace amassed six top-10 finishes last season on TOUR, en route to a 41st-place finish in the FedExCup standings.

Grace has won 10 times internationally.

First-Round Lead Notes

Since 2000, there have been only two first-round leaders of the Valero Texas Open to hang on for the win. Justin Leonard claimed his fifth PGA TOUR win in 2000 after holding a share of the opening-round lead at LaCantera, and Robert Gamez achieved the feat in 2005.

This year, only four of 22-round leaders/co-leaders have held on for the win, but not since Justin Thomas at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.

Will Mackenzie

Will Mackenzie made six birdies against just one bogey (par-4 10th) to open round one of the Valero Texas Open with a 5-under 67.

Mackenzie missed just three of 14 fairways in regulation, hit 12 of 18 greens and needed 25 putts to complete his round.

Making his seventh start in the Valero Texas Open, Mackenzie returns to TPC San Antonio carrying a bag of mixed results. In 2015 (74th) and 2016 (MC), he played all six rounds without a score below par. In 2014, he posted all four rounds at par-or-better to finish T2.

Mackenzie has struggled of late this season, having missed the cut in four of his last six events. His last start before this week was the Puerto Rico Open (T49).

Mackenzie is in search of his third PGA TOUR title and first since the 2008 Sanderson Farms Championship. Since then, he has collected a pair of runner-up finishes, including the 2014 Valero Texas Open.

John Huh

With five birdies and no bogeys, John Huh posted a 67 to kick off his sixth consecutive start in the Valero Texas Open. In five previous starts at TPC San Antonio, the first round has given Huh the most trouble. With a scoring average of 74.00, it his, by more than a stroke, his worst round.

Huh’s lone top-10 finish at the Valero Texas Open, a T2, came in his first start of 2012.

Huh relied on accuracy in round one to get off to the bogey-free start. He hit 12 of 14 fairways in regulation and missed just three of 18 greens.

Huh is making his 16th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with top-10 finishes at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (T10) and Valspar Championship (T9).

Huh’s lone victory came at the 2012 OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Stewart Cink

Making his sixth start in the Valero Texas Open, but first since 2011 (T59), Stewart Cink made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on his inward nine to open with a 5-under 67.

In his last start at TPC San Antonio before this week in 2011, Cink also opened with a 5-under 67, but followed it with scores of 78- 75-74.

Cink is making his 15th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season and has now opened with a sub-par score in 14 of 15 events this season (74/OHL Classic at Mayakoba).

Cink has finished inside the top 30 in five of his last six starts on TOUR before this week. He missed last week’s cut at the RBC Heritage.

Cink is the winner of six PGA TOUR events, with the most recent one being the 2009 Open Championship.

Brian Gay

Playing on a Major Medical Extension, Brain Gay birdied five holes in a six-hole stretch on his inward nine en route to a 4-under 68.

On the Major Medical Extension, Gay began the season with 14 available events to earn 309 FedExCup points or $461,851 to remain exempt for the remainder of the season. Through 11 events before this week, he has collected 191 FedExCup points and $425,470. He is still in need of 118 FedExCup points or $36,381. This week, that would be the equivalent of a three-way tie for 32nd or better (by way of money).

Gay is making his 15th start in the Valero Texas Open, with a T4 in 2012 his best showing. One of just three missed cuts came in last year’s event.

Charley Hoffman

Defending Valero Texas Open champion Charley Hoffman opened with a 1-under 71. Since moving to TPC San Antonio in 2010, Hoffman is now 44-under-par.

Of his 12 starts at the Valero Texas Open now, the first round is the only one in which Hoffman has never posted an over-par score.

Hoffman is making his 12th-consecutive start at the Valero Texas Open, where he has claimed five top-10 finishes; T8/2006, T9/2009, T2/2011, T3/2013 and 1st/2016. He has finished outside the top-13 only once.

Miscellaneous Notes

Robby Shelton, who recently earned medalist honors at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament, opened with a 4-under 68 in his eighth professional start on the PGA TOUR. Shelton is in this week’s field as a sponsor invite. In his only amateur start on TOUR, Shelton finished T3 at the inaugural Barbasol Championship in his home state of Alabama.

San Antonio native Patrick Reed bogeyed two of his last three holes (Nos. 7 and 8) and open with a 3-under 69 in his fourth start in the Valero Texas Open. Reed, who finished solo-second at TPC San Antonio last year, has never broken par in the second round of the event (three rounds).

England’s Ian Poulter opened with a 3-over 75. He began the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season on a Major Medical Extension with 10 events to earn either 218 FedExCup points or $347,634 to remain exempt for the remainder of the season. This week’s Valero Texas Open serves as his 10th and final event to satisfy his Major Medical Extension. He is in need of 63.775 FedExCup points (solo 12th or better) or $30,624 (two-way tie for 36th or better). If he earns his Major Medical Extension through FedExCup points, he’ll earn exemptions into THE PLAYERS Championship and Quicken Loans National. In his only other start at the Valero Texas Open, Poulter finished T37 in 2013.

2015 Valero Texas Open champion Jimmy Walker opened with a 2-under 70. En route to his 2105 victory, he opened with a 1-under 71.

In his first professional start on the PGA TOUR, Australia’s Curtis Luck opened with a 1-over 73. His scorecard featured six bogeys, three birdies and an eagle-two at No. 5. He opened with three bogeys.

Past Valero Texas Open champions in the field: Justin Leonard (2000, 2001, 2007)/72, Zach Johnson (2008, 2009)/74, Brendan Steele (2011)/70, Ben Curtis (2012)/WD, Martin Laird (2013)/72, Steven Bowditch (2014)/73, Jimmy Walker (2015)/70 and Charley Hoffman (2016)/71.

Ben Curtis withdrew during round one with a shoulder injury.

Bogey-free rounds:

R1: Bob Estes (68), Adam Hadwin (70), Tom Hoge (68), John Huh (67), Steve Marino (68), Seung-Yul Noh (68), Geoff Ogilvy (69), Brendan Steele (70), Kevin Streelman (71), Steve Wheatcroft (70).

Scoring Averages at TPC San Antonio:

RoundFront 9Back 9TotalCumulative
A.M. Scoring Average71.59
P.M. Scoring Average 72.13

The par-4 ninth hole played the most difficult in round one at 4.245. The par-5 18th played the easiest at 4.729.


Valero Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries, is an international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels and other petrochemical products. Valero subsidiaries employ approximately 10,000 people, and its assets include 15 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3 million barrels per day, 11 ethanol plants with a combined production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year and renewable diesel production from a joint venture. Through subsidiaries, Valero owns the general partner of Valero Energy Partners LP (NYSE: VLP), a midstream master limited partnership. Approximately 7,400 outlets carry the Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Shamrock, and Beacon brands in the United States; Ultramar in Canada; and Texaco in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Valero is a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio. Please visit for more information.


The Valero Texas Open is the 6th oldest professional tournament in golf world-wide, the 3rd oldest on the PGA TOUR and the longest held in the same city. In 2012, the tournament celebrated its 90th anniversary.

Its list of champions includes some of the greatest names in golf history: Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Lee Trevino, Nick Price, Justin Leonard, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker and 2018 champion Andrew Landry, to name a few.

Since Valero became title sponsor in 2002, the tournament has become a leader in charitable fundraising among PGA TOUR events. The Valero Texas Open together with the Benefit for Children eclipsed the $100 million mark in charitable giving in 2015, becoming the fourth PGA TOUR event to do so. Raising a record $12 million in 2018, the tournament has now contributed more than $138 million to hundreds of worthy charities.

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