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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Updated: April 3, 9:45 AM ET
Valero Texas Open experts' picks


Each week of the season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: John Huh

Even though he seems to be having the sophomore slump (five missed cuts, the same as all of last year), remember he finished tied for second here in 2012, and that was coming off a missed cut, as well.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Brendan Steele

The event has been played at the tough TPC San Antonio only since 2010. But in his two starts on the AT&T Oaks course, the 29-year-old UC-Riverside graduate has had a win as well as a tie for fourth last year.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Brendan Steele

He has played the TPC San Antonio twice and has a win and a tie for fourth in his two appearances.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Freddie Jacobson

They've been playing TPC San Antonio for just four years now, but in the three previous starts, the Swede owns three top-20 finishes, including a solo second back in 2010.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Rory McIlroy

He has had three straight rounds under par, even though none of them broke the 70 mark. The world No. 2 realized he needed more competitive rounds to be ready for Augusta. No one should be surprised if he finishes top-5 this week.

Farrell Evans: Billy Horschel

The 26-year-old former Walker Cupper has made a tour-leading 20 consecutive cuts. Last week in Houston, he had a tie for second, a career-best finish.

Bob Harig: Billy Horschel

He's on a nice roll, having made 20 consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour. He is coming off a tie for second at the Shell Houston Open.

Kevin Maguire: Bud Cauley

It's not the season he probably envisioned for himself so far in 2013 with six MCs/WDs, but Cauley got going on the weekend at the Shell Houston Open to post his best finish of the year (a T-16). The kid can play, so keep an eye out this week in Texas.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Scott Langley

Make a cut, miss two, make a cut, miss two. Guess what the rookie left-hander is going to do this week? Make his fourth cut and get his second top-10 of the year.

Farrell Evans: Marcel Siem

The 32-year-old German had a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco last week at the Trophée Hassan II. But the win wasn't good enough to vault him into the top 50 in the world to get an automatic berth into the Masters. Narrowly missing at 51st in the rankings, long-haired Siem is trying to punch his ticket to Augusta with a win in San Antonio.

Bob Harig: Ian Poulter

He was a last-minute addition to the field, and it appears to be simply an attempt to get some repetitions before the Masters. But Poulter has had a solid run so far this year. Perhaps he'll get into the mix.

Kevin Maguire: James Hahn

In his rookie season on the PGA Tour, Hahn is 38th in the all-around ranking stat, which isn't bad considering he missed four straight cuts in March. He's playing his first Valero Texas Open this week.

Winner

Michael Collins: Gary Woodland

He'll be the last man into the Masters with a win this week. Finally the equipment and swing change are in full effect. Third time is the charm playing this event for Woodland. It's funny what it takes for guys to find success in their game.

Farrell Evans: Ian Poulter

There are few better clutch putters in the game than this 37-year-old Englishman. The Texas Open is the tuneup he needs to win his first green jacket.

Bob Harig: Charl Schwartzel

The 2011 Masters champion is getting in a tuneup event before heading to Augusta National. He has three top-16 finishes in four events so far this year on the PGA Tour.

Kevin Maguire: Jimmy Walker

Not often I'd pick a guy to earn his first PGA Tour title at a course where he missed the cut at the past two years, but Walker's having a career season in 2013. His $1.03 million in the bank would stand for the third-best campaign of his career and the calendar just hit April. A T-3 in 2010 at TPC San Antonio proves he can play well on this track.