Valero Texas Open: Abraham looking to find the Ancer at TPC San Antonio

The Mexican is a regular at the course but hasn’t yet been able to turn that extra knowledge into a big display in the Texas event.

Being a local resident can sometimes prove a red herring in a PGA Tour tournament.

The golfer involved may be a short car drive away from the course being played but then comes an admission that they've rarely practised there.

But not so Abraham Ancer at this week's Valero Texas Open. The Mexican knows TPC San Antonio like the back of his hand having moved to the area in 2014.

"This is the golf course that kind of prepared me to where I am now. When I first moved to San Antonio, I made this my home course," he said in Tuesday's press conference.

"I live just down the road and practise here every single day for at least four years and this is a place that is special to me.

"A lot of my family and friends come to this event and I always have some people obviously that come out to this event and cheer me on.

"It's always fun to play in front of them. So it definitely feels like home now, for sure.

"I'm four hours away to where I grew up in Reynosa, Mexico, so this is a city that I travelled to and always liked since I was a little kid vacationing here."

All well and good but the problem for the World No. 16 is that his results at TPC San Antonio don't reflect what would seem an obvious advantage.

He's played in the Valero Texas Open four times and always made the weekend. His finishes, however, are somewhat underwhelming.

Ancer in the Valero Texas Open

2021 - Tied 23rd (72-73-69-70)

2019 - Tied 42nd (67-72-71-73)

2018 - Tied 58th (70-73-74-72)

2016 - Tied 42nd (73-69-70-74)

Is it a case of putting too much pressure on himself?

"Maybe. I can't figure it out, I come out here and play, I'm like, man, I love this place, it should fit my game.

"During the tournament I just haven't been able to put four rounds together. But I like that, I like the challenge. I like that it's a tough course around the greens, too.

"If you miss the green, you have to have a really good short game, which I enjoy. Maybe this is the year."

Perhaps, as Ancer hopes, the planets are aligning.

In last week's WGC - Dell Match Play in nearby Austin he topped his group by beating Major champions Bubba Watson (3&1) and Webb Simpson (2up) and halving with Brian Harman.

And in the last 16, he claimed an even bigger scalp, smashing Open champion and current World No.3 Collin Morikawa 7&6.

Losing (2down) to eventual third-place finisher Corey Conners was a big disappointment but reaching the quarter-fnials represented a real leap forward after a lacklustre beginning to 2022 in which his only previous top 30 was a tied eighth in the Saudi International.

Ancer acknowledges that Austin could be a turning point.

Mexican ready to make his mark

"It's been kind of a little bit of a slow start to the year. I played decent in some events, but like I said, I haven't been able to play as solid as I was probably last year or the year before.

"But I feel good or even better than last year, I just haven't been able to kind of get some momentum, but I'm being patient. I know that golf, it's up and down like that.

"It's not like I've played horrible, but yeah, I'm just being patient. I'm working on the stuff that I believe I need to be working on, and last week was something that you can see some of that kind of meshing together and coming into play in a tournament.

"I felt really, really good. Ran a little bit out of mojo there in the last match against a great competitor like Corey Conners. But yeah, happy to get a good tournament under my belt coming into this week and obviously the Masters next week."

Given his local connections, this is clearly a huge week for Ancer but so of course is the upcoming Masters.

He had a debut to remember at Augusta National in 2020.

Ancer opened 68-67 to share the halfway lead on 9-under and added a 69 on day three to lie second with 18 holes to go.

The pressure seemed to hit him as he slipped back to tied 13th after a difficult Sunday 76 but it was still an excellent effort on a course that takes plenty of learning. He backed it up with tied 26th last year.

Having made a World Golf Championship event his first victory on the PGA Tour when winning last August's WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational, the 31-year-old clearly has a taste for the big time.

But, for now, the big prize lies on his doorstep. Is this the week where Ancer's adoring fans get to celebrate a 'home' win?

READ MORE: Tiger Woods listed in the field for next week's Masters as potential comeback creeps closer.

Latest news