The Valero Texas Open has long been a mainstay of the PGA Tour, heading back to the first edition in 1922. In fact, it’s the sixth oldest professional tournament in the world and third oldest on the PGA Tour. Not surprisingly, there are some big names on the winner’s roster including Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino. Oddly, however, never Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods. The latter is less unexpected because, for all its prestige, the event has gone from being scheduled toward the end of the season to one usually dodged by the elite who have their eye on the majors. They’re not all missing this week, however. Jordan Spieth has always liked competitive action ahead of the Masters, Scottie Scheffler wants to maintain momentum off his near-miss last week in Austin, and Tony Finau’s quest for win number two goes on (and on).
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio has been home to the event since 2010 and it’s a Greg Norman design (with Sergio Garcia as a player consultant). The PGA Tour has used Norman’s TPC Sugarloaf in the past and El Camaleon, in Mexico, remains a regular haunt, but there has been little crossover in form between these examinations.
What a decade of visits has proved is that the winner will need a solid long game and the ability to remain resolute in wind. Phil Mickelson said of it: “It’s probably not the best place to get ready for the Masters in that it’s very windy and tight.” And Charley Hoffman, a past winner, added (slightly contradicting Mickelson): “It gives you plenty of room out there but if you start hitting it unsolid you can find the native area very quickly and, if that happens, you’re just trying to get it back in play and hopefully have a putt for par or make a bogey and get out.”
The wind is a huge factor and is mentioned by just about every player discussing the challenge. It’s a decent length, at potentially just over 7,500-yards. The officials play around with that, wary of the wind making the task too brutal. Bear in mind, also, that the players will be dealing with Bermudagrass greens, although just about everyone in the field will have been on grainy putting surfaces the last few weeks.
Course form holds strong this week, as does quality golf played anywhere in Texas. And ball-strikers thrive: three of the last five winners led the Greens in Regulation stats whilst the last three winners ranked first, first and second for Strokes Gained: Approach.
There are a couple of interesting factors to consider with the current forecast for San Antonio. First up, the wind will be blustery so nothing unexpected, but the last practice day (Wednesday) is going to be around 23 mph. That may or may not have implications. The second factor is that after a cloudy three days of competition, with temps in the late 60s, Sunday will be sunny and a leap into the high 70s.
Past Champions at TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
We’ve had ten renewals of this event now and that gives us plenty of info about who might join the roster of winners. Adam Scott won the first in 2010, his fellow Aussie Steven Bowditch triumphed in 2014, Scotsman Martin Laird was the winner in 2013 and he succeeded British Open champion Ben Curtis – all four names play to the idea of wind specialists thriving.
Jimmy Walker led the way in 2015, a year before Charley Hoffman triumphed, and both have enjoyed excellent results on many different Texas courses. The first American winner, in 2011, was Brendan Steele and, like 2017 champion Kevin Chappell, he is a horses-for-courses type.
Andrew Landry was something of a surprise package in 2018, whilst Canada’s Corey Connersclaimed his first PGA Tour win here in 2019 and has confirmed he’s a classy player ever since.
Here’s an entirely FREE lineup for you this week with MORE for subscribers (DraftKings Prices)
|Player #1||R. Palmer||$9,400|
|Player #2||C. Hoffman||$9,200|
|Player #3||B. Steele||$9,100|
|Player #4||C. Kirk||$8,600|
|Player #5||K. Chappell||$6,900|
|Player #6||J. Furyk||$6,800|
Remaining cash $000
Ryan Palmer ($9,400) Texas born and bred (there’s a good start), Palmer is playing 72 holes a lot at the moment. Indeed, he’s hung around for 15 weekends in his last 16 stroke play starts. He’s also playing a lot of very good golf with 23 of his last 50 starts reaping top 20s. He’s made seven weekends in ten course starts and four of them were top 10s. In four of those weeks he ranked top six for getting the ball on the putting surface in regulations shots so he knows how to crack that code.
Charley Hoffman ($9,200) The Hoff likes this course. Scrap that, the Hoff LOVES this course. He’s 10-for-10 at making the weekend, eight times he finished T–13 or better and in 2016 he lifted the trophy. It goes deeper than that: This Californian loves Texas. He won there on the Korn Ferry Tour, he’s logged 31 top 30s in 56 starts and missed only one cut since 2012. He’s also played four rounds in each of his last five starts, logging top 20s in three of them.
Brendan Steele ($9,100) Took an early liking to the course by winning in 2011 and finishing T–4 on defense. He’s never topped that, but he’s played all week eight times out of nine and is in the sort of form that can revive memories of those early days. In fact, in 2021, he’s yet to miss a cut in eight starts, a run that opened with T–4 at the Sony Open and he was last seen recording T–3 at the Honda Classic, both blowy venues and ideal pointers for this week.
Chris Kirk ($8,600) He missed the weekend golf here in 2017 and 2019, but I can forgive that because at the time he life was in flux. Concentrate instead on the four cuts he has made, which includes three top 15 finishes. Blustery and Bermuda is right in Kirk’s sweet spot, as T–2 at the Sony Open, T–8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T–25 at the Honda Classic this year testify. Like Steele and Hoffman, he ranks top 15 in this field for SG: Approach over the last eight weeks.
Kevin Chappell ($6,900) Broke a run of average form with T–13 at PGA National in the Honda Classic and it was a result worth noting. First up, it was the first cut he had made on the course so speaks to good form. Secondly, the man digs TPC San Antonio. He was T–2 on debut in 2011, T–4 in 2016 and the winner in 2017. In all, he’s played seven weekends in eight completed starts.
Jim Furyk ($6,800) Need a low salary and how about a golfer who can play four rounds? Ask Jim. He swings it like spaghetti and cards it like the tax man. On the course? Five starts, five weekends, two top 10s. In Texas? He’s played four rounds in 34 of his last 41 starts. The 2020/21 season? He played only two rounds at the Honda Classic, but before that was 4-for-4.
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- A couple of good alternative picks to help you build out GPP options based around not one but two CORE lineups.
Here’s Another Alternate Lineup For The Valero Texas Open
|Player #1||J. Spieth||$10,700|
|Player #2||C. Conners||$9,500|
|Player #3||Z. Johnson||$8,500|
|Player #4||D. Ghim||$7,300|
|Player #5||M. Laird||$7,100|
|Player #6||G. Sigg||$6,800|
$100 leftover salary
Jordan Spieth ($10,700) Going high and low with his extra line-up in the belief that the top two selections are hungry and returning to tables full of their favorite food, whilst this week also has potential for bargain-hunting. Kicking off with Spieth who is likely a bit sore that last week in Austin didn’t go a little better and is always keen to contend the week before a major championship. Four stroke play top 15s in his last five starts, plus the last 16 in the Match Play, is good. Four cuts made from five at the course, including two top 10s, is better. Excellent SG: Approach stats in 2021 is the icing on the cake.
Corey Conners ($9,500) This track is made for the Canadian. That much was obvious when he finished T–26 on first sight in 2018 and then he lifted the metal in 2019. Also, just look at the way he operates: ranking 12th this season for SG: Approach, 12th for SG: Tee to Green and 13th for Greens in Regulation. The WGC Dell Match Play tripped him up, but before that he was gobbling up good finishes: 11 weekends in 12 starts, nine of them top 25s.
Zach Johnson ($8,500) The veteran is solid on the course, with four top 30s from six starts. He’s solid in Texas, with 20 top 30s from 33 starts, including four wins, two of them in this event (although not the course). And he’s been solid since last summer, with not one missed cut in his last 14 starts. Did I mention he’s solid?!?
Doug Ghim ($7,300) I can forgive the youngster the missed cut at the Honda Classic because it came after two weeks in which he was in-contention both times. There will have been a lot of nervous energy used up and having last week off will help. Soon after graduation to the PGA Tour he found it a bit sticky, but he’s hit his straps since the middle of last summer. In his last 17 starts he’s bagged eight top 30s and has started to test out the higher altitudes. He’s ready for a serious climb. Ranks 20th for SG: Approach this season.
Martin Laird ($7,100) The Scot is fixed on a funny little trend in this 2020/21 season. A former winner at Summerlin, he won there again. A previous runner-up at Plantation, he landed a top 20 there. A past champion at Bay Hill, he got into contention. A one-time runner-up at TPC Sawgrass, he made the cut. Guess what? He won here in 2013 and has played all four rounds six times in seven. Ranks seventh for Greens in Regulation this season.
Greyson Sigg ($6,800) Some will say: “Who?” And it might be better to ask that question sooner rather than later. He’s a Korn Ferry Tour performer who has landed seven top 15s in his last 10 starts on that circuit through the end of last season and the start of this. A fast-finishing T–9 in last week’s Corales Puntacana R&C Championship got him in the field and he can spin off that from a low salary.
Other Player Options For The Valero Texas Open
• Ryan Moore has missed three cuts in his last five starts, but has an excellent bank of form on the course. Through four starts he’s yet to end the week outside the top 20.
• Abraham Ancer has landed seven top 25s in his last ten starts, but is the exact flip of Moore: After three starts here he’s still seeking a first top 40 finish.
• Aaron Wise is a winner in Texas (the 2018 Byron Nelson Championship), but missed the cut here in his only start. The stats like him, however: 12th for GIR this season and 21st in the field for SG: Approach over the last eight weeks.
COVID-19 and Injury Warning:
Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup.
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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