Golf-Big names missing for Texas birdie-fest

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HOUSTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) This week's Texas Open leaderboard will not feature many of the sport's biggest names but birdies should still be easy to find at San Antonio's La Cantera Golf Club.

The third stop on the PGA Tour's seven-tournament Fall Series, the Texas Open has traditionally produced some of the year's lowest scores, including the 72-hole record of 26-under 254 set by Tommy Armour III in 2003.

American Eric Axley collected his maiden PGA Tour title at the Texas Open last year with a sparkling total of 265 but in the last 25 years the winner has gone 262 or lower 10 times.

With Tiger Woods and most of the top players making an early start to their vacations, Canada's Stephen Ames, at number 42, holds the distinction of being the highest-ranked player at the 4.5 million dollar event.

American Steve Flesch, with two wins in his last five starts, is the in-form player in the field while big-hitting John Daly is sure to be the most popular.

The twice major winner needed a sponsor's exemption to gain entry into the tournament but should be the main attraction as he bids for his first top-15 finish of the season.

REUTERS BJR PM1540

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