Billy Horschel admits that he is relishing the challenge of performing in the windy conditions at the Valero Texas Open.
The American shot a four-under par opening round at the Oaks Course in San Antonio, ensuring he was well positioned in a tie for second spot after day one.
Horschel didn’t record a single bogey in first round effort and could easily have shared top billing had a couple of near-miss birdie putts not eluded him on the closing two holes.
By then he’d done enough to move with a stroke of Grayson Murray, on his own at the top after a round of 67 that included seven birdies and a double-bogey at the par-three seventh amidst some impressive play.
Horschel is in a group five player one behind that includes Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore and Chesson Hadley. With a win last year in Dallas at the AT&T Byron Nelson and three top-five finishes in his last five starts in San Antonio, Horschel admits he enjoys Texas and the regular challenge that it poses.
“People ask me how you do it,” Horschel said about playing in the wind.
“You keep the ball down…but if you don’t hit it solid, the wind’s going to take over. So [I’ve] always been a good wind player. I think it’s because I’ve always been a good ball-striker and hit it solid.”
The wind will remain a factor the rest of the week, particularly in Sunday’s final round when gusts are expected to reach 30 mph.
Ryan Moore is favourite to win in Texas this week at 10.00, with Horschel 11.00 following his fine effort in round one. Early leader Murray remains at 17.00 to get his second PGA Tour success.