top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Valero Texas Open (2024)


With one week until The Masters, those yet qualified have one final chance by capturing this week’s Valero Texas Open.


Played annually at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, the event not only offers the chance for a victor to qualify for The Masters, but as the final tune-up to for the first Major of the season.


Due to this, we’ll see a rather star-studded lineup despite taking place a week prior to the biggest week in golf.


Valero Energy Corporation took over naming rights in 2002 and has been the title sponsor since.


This tournament as a whole has been ongoing for 102 years, dating back to 1922. 


The Field

As the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was removed from the PGA Tour schedule this year, the Valero Texas Open was the biggest benefactor of that move as we’ll see a much improved field this week than we’ve seen in some time.


There are 11 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) top 30 golfers in attendance this week.


Of those is World No. 2 Rory McIlroy who headlines this week’s field and comes in as the odds on favorite to win.


Additionally, the likes of Brian Harman, Ludvig Aberg, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpaitrck will be teeing it up this week.


Many of the elite golfers who play this event, use it to work on shots for Augusta. Therefore, many take themselves out of the possibility of winning.


Corey Conners is the defending champion and will be back this week in not only an attempt to repeat, but win his third Valero Texas Open title. He also won in 2019.


Other former winners of this event in this week’s field include J.J. Spaun, Charley Hoffman, Andrew Landry, Jimmy Walker, Martin Laird and Spieth.


The Course

The Valero Texas Open is hosted by The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and has been for the past 13 years. It was previously held at the La Cantera Golf Club up until 2010.


The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio plays at 7,428 yards and a standard par 72. It features the standard breakdown of ten par-fours, four par-fives and four par-threes.


The course is one designed by Greg Norman who also brought in Sergio Garcia as a consulting role. Garcia’s involvement was presumably to try and attract the game’s best in lieu of skipping in favor of The Masters. Ironically, Garcia only played the event once before leaving for the LIV Tour. 


The course is a “second shot” course as it rewards top-tier iron players in trending tee-to-green form. In all, it is essentially a run-of-the-mill PGA Tour track that lacks unique identity or defining characteristics.


The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio ranks in the top ten of longest courses on Tour each year and features some of the least penal rough both around the fairways and greens. 


However, finding the fairway is important as the fairways are heavily tree lined. The bunkers, both around the green and fairway, do offer a bit of deterrence as they are deep and oddly shaped.


Greg Norman was most notably one of the best drivers in the history of professional golf and therefore his course designs reflect that. This week’s course will be driver-heavy but rather difficult off the tee to reflect that; as are his other designs. Of all courses with at least five tournaments since 2015, TPC San Antonio ranks 12th-toughest on Tour off-the-tee.


Finding the greens-in-regulation too will be a challenge as The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio too offers the seventh-lowest Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%) on Tour. 


Designed as a “second shot” course, the approach shots are tricky. Of all courses with at least five events since 2015, The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio ranks as the seventh-toughest for approach shots.


The Bermuda greens don’t offer much of a challenge within 15-feet as TPC San Antonio provides about average difficulty in comparison to the rest of the Tour. However, it is one of the most difficult courses in putts beyond 15-feet. Of courses that have seen at least five events since 2015, this course ranks sixth-toughest in putts over 15 feet. Strong Bermuda putters will see an advantage here.


The weather, most notably winds, play the biggest defense to TPC San Antonio along with the firm and fast conditions. As previously mentioned about the difficulty of both driving and approach shots, the wind has a lot to do with that.


Weather has been a determining factor for scoring at The Oaks Course over the years. In 2019 we saw soft and receptive conditions from heavy rainfall as other years, such as last year, saw heavy winds.


The Weather

As of the time of writing this, Sunday looks to be the only day this week that could cause some problems in terms of rainfall. There is currently a 35-percent chance for light thunderstorms and rain. Saturday is the only other day to call for a chance of precipitation, currently set at 15-percent. Winds will be at the highest on Saturday however, currently projected at 18 miles-per-hour. The winds will also be up on Friday as they are currently projected at 15 miles-per-hour. Winds are set at 11 miles-per-hour for Sunday and eight miles-per-hour on Thursday. Temperatures will range from 80-to-81 degrees on Thursday and Friday before dipping to 74 degrees on Saturday and climbing back to 78 degrees on Sunday. In all, the winds are definitely going to play their role in the outcoming this event.


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda (SG: PUTT Bermuda)

  • Birdie or Better Percentage

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Par Five Average Scoring

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)

  • Sand Saves Percentage

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT)

  • Good Drives Gained


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

With just four options in this price range, I’ll be making just one suggestion. That just so happens to be Hideki Matsuyama ($10,600.) He’s the second most expensive golfer in this week’s DraftKings pricing. Matsuyama is currently first on Tour in SG: ATG, 23rd in par five average scoring, 30th in bogey avoidance, 38th in SG: APP, 41st in birdie or better percentage, 49th in both SG: OTT and good drives gained and 63rd in sand saves percentage. His downfall of course comes on the greens as he ranks 149th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. He has proven this season to be able to spike with the putter however. In his victory at The Genesis, he gained 4.297 strokes on the greens. He also gained 1.640 strokes putting at the WM Phoenix Open and 0.79 strokes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In his last four outings, Matsuyama’s worst finish is T22nd at the WM Phoenix Open. He has a victory at The Genesis Invitational and also placed T6th in his last outing at THE PLAYERS Championship. He also placed T15th here a season ago. He’s one of the hottest golfers on Tour right now. I’m playing two units on him.


$9,000-$9,900

The 2021 Champion, Jordan Spieth ($9,500) is my first play here. On top of winning in 2021, Spieth also has two other top-35 finishes here in the last four seasons. Spieth is in some pretty rough form coming into this week and needs to find something with The Masters just a week away. Due to his form, I’m projecting his ownership to be in our favor. He missed back-to-back cuts coming into this week and placed T30th in his last made cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His best finishes came early on this season as he placed third at The Sentry Tournament of Champions and T6th at the WM Phoenix Open. Spieth is also eighth on Tour in birdie or better percentage, 19th in SG: ATG, 31st in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 35th in both par five average scoring and sand saves percentage, 55th in bogey avoidance, 57th in good drives gained and 67th in SG: OTT. His downfall this season has surprisingly been his approach play as he ranks 129th in SG: APP. We know what he can do with his irons and it’s a matter of time before he finds them again. Also consider Byeong Hun An ($9,000.) Hun An placed T6th here a season ago and placed T7th in 2019. He did miss the cut in his last outing at THE PLAYERS Championship but prior to that placed T8th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T21st at the Cognizant Classic and T16th at The Genesis Invitational. He’s currently second on Tour in birdie or better percentage, 15th in sand saves percentage, 19th in SG: OTT, 42nd in SG: ATG, 50th in par five average scoring, 67th in good drives gained, 83rd in SG: APP, 91st in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 114th in bogey avoidance. I’m playing a unit on him at +3300.


$8,000-$8,900

Alex Noren ($8,700) shot a minus-five on Sunday at last week’s Texas Children’s Open to propel himself to a T11th finish. On top of that, Noren placed T19th at THE PLAYERS Championship and T9th at the Cognizant Classic in his last three outings. Noren also placed T15th here a season ago. He is also second on Tour in bogey avoidance, fourth in good drives gained, seventh in par five average scoring, 23rd in sand saves percentage, 25th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 29th in SG: OTT, 52nd in SG: ATG, 60th in SG: APP and 119th in birdie or better percentage. Noren is rather well rounded and is in some great form. Also consider Billy Horschel ($8,900.) Like Noren, Horschel is also in some great form. He’s fresh off a T7th at last week’s Texas Children’s Houston Open. He also placed T12th at the Valspar Championship and T9th at the Cognizant Classic. His best performance here came in 2018 where he placed T11th. Horschel is also seventh on Tour in bogey avoidance, 18th in good drives gained, 22nd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 39th in SG: OTT, 58th in SG: APP, 62nd in SG: ATG, 86th in birdie or better percentage, 96th in sand saves percentage and 99th in par five average scoring. I’m also playing a unit on him at +4500.


$7,000-$7,900

My first suggestion in this price range is Aaron Rai ($7,800.) Rai is currently second on Tour in good drives gained, 19th in SG: APP, 22nd in bogey avoidance, 52nd in SG: OTT, 53rd in birdie or better percentage, 84th in SG: ATG, 89th in sand saves percentage and 107th in par five average scoring. We know where his downfall is and that’s on the greens as he ranks 137th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. However, last week he gained 3.718 strokes putting at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. Hopefully he can roll that hot putting week over into this week. To go along with the good putting week, Rai placed T7th last week in Houston. Outside of a missed cut at the Valspar Championship, he has placed T35th of better in each of his last four outings. He’s also played this event each of the last two years where he placed T28th and T29th respectively. I’m also playing a unit on him at +7000. Also consider Victor Perez ($7,100.) Perez is currently seventh on Tour in good drives gained, 13th in SG: APP, 14th in bogey avoidance, 57th in SG: OTT, 68th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 77th in par five average scoring, 78th in SG: ATG, 138th in birdie or better percentage and 177th in sand saves percentage. He’s had some good performances as of late as well. He placed T17th last week in Houston, placed T3rd at the Puerto Rico Open and also placed T16th at the Cognizant Classic. He’ll be making his Valero Texas Open debut this week.


$6,000-$6,900

I absolutely love both of my plays in this price range. First up we have Ryo Hisatsune ($6,600.) Japanese golf has been abuzz as Keita Nakajima took down the Indian Open last week to join Rikuya Hoshino and Hisastune as winners on the DP World Tour this past year. We also can’t forget that Matsuyama won The Genesis this season as well. Either way, Hisatsune has played in nine events this season, making the cut in six of them. He placed T33rd in his last outing at the Valspar Championship and has finishes such as T18th at the Puerto Rico Open and T11th at The American Express on the season. He is currently tenth on Tour in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 26th in good drives gained, 29th in birdie or better percentage, 31st in SG: ATG, 45th in bogey avoidance, 59th in SG: APP, 73rd in sand saves percentage, 77th in par five average scoring and 125th in SG: OTT. I’m also playing a unit on him at +12000. Also consider Max Greyserman ($6,500.) The rookie has been making some noise in his first handful of starts on the PGA Tour. He’s made the cut in four consecutive events, including a T7th last week at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. He is currently 17th on Tour in par five average scoring, 19th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 43rd in SG: APP, 45th in bogey avoidance, 51st in SG: ATG, 55th in birdie or better percentage, 68th in good drives gained, 82nd in SG: OTT and 119th in sand saves percentage. I’m playing a unit on him at +22000. 


$5,900-

My first play in this bottom price range is Nico Echavarria ($5,600.) He comes into this week missing the cut in his last two events but prior to that, rattled off three straight top 25 performances at the Mexico Open, Cognizant Classic and Puerto Rico Open. He also placed T28th here a season ago. He is currently fourth on Tour in sand saves percentage, 28th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 36th in bogey avoidance, 37th in both birdie or better percentage and good drives gained, 77th in par five average scoring, 91st in SG: OTT, 97th in SG: ATG and 141st in SG: APP. Also consider Erik Barnes ($5,900.) Barnes is fresh off a T17th at last week’s Texas Children’s Houston Open and fell in a playoff at the Puerto Rico Open. He has made the cut in each of the tournaments he has played this season, outside of a withdrawal from the Valspar Championship after the first round. He is currently 15th on Tour in bogey avoidance, 58th in SG: ATG, 71st in birdie or better percentage, 72nd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 81st in SG: APP, 91st in par five average scoring, 96th in sand saves percentage, 130th in good drives gained and 152nd in SG: OTT.


Betting Card

  • Hideki Matsuyama (+2200) - 2u

  • Byeong Hun An (+3300) - 1u

  • Billy Horschel (+4500) - 1u

  • Aaron Rai (+7000) - 1u

  • Ryo Hisatsune (+12000) - 1u

  • Max Greyserman (+22000) - 1u

795 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page