This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (7,435 yards, par-72)
$1,350,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
The Valero Texas Open presents one final chance to uncover a golden ticket and receive an invite to next week's Masters, but the eventual champion at TPC San Antonio this week will also enjoy their $1.35M share of a boosted prize pool. The historic event has remained in San Antonio, Texas since its inception back in 1922, but has only been played at the difficult TPC venue since 2010. Its par-72 layout features the standard quarter of par-5s, but three of these behemoths measure over 591 yards. The longest of the bunch is the 604-yard eighth and has actually played over par in years past, which is seemingly unheard of for a par-5 in the game's current environment. This week's field is understandably a disappointment with a plethora of household names traveling to Augusta National for early preparations, but this could provide an opportunity for a sleeper to emerge by tournament's end.
Recent Past Champions
2018 - Andrew Landry
2017 - Kevin Chappell
2016 - Charley Hoffman
2015 - Jimmy Walker
2014 - Steven Bowditch
2013 - Martin Laird
2012 - Ben Curtis
2011 - Brendan Steele
2010 - Adam Scott
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Putting from inside 10 feet
TPC San Antonio is one of the tougher non-major tracks on the PGA Tour and the scoring average lands over-par on an annual basis, but the normally demanding Texas winds that present a symbolic defense could remain tame all week. The Valero won't turn into a birdie fest, but scoring opportunities could accumulate at an unfamiliar rate if the weather cooperates as ball striking would then take on a much larger role than play around the greens, which has been important in past years when getting it up and down to save pars was a common theme. Regardless of our outlook on scrambling, putting from inside 10 feet will still be key on the slower greens in San Antonio. The field's bombers should be able to keep driver out of the bag and stay aggressive off the tee as well, though GIR percentage remains paramount over driving distance. Last year's champion Andrew Landry led the field in greens hit with 53 in 72 holes on the way to a 17-under performance, three strokes better than any past winner had attained.
FanDuel Value Picks
Tony Finau, $12,000 - He might not come close to stacking up with his fellow competitors in the $12K range in terms of career achievements, but Finau will likely be the most motivated out of the bunch with a realistic chance against a weak field to notch his first significant victory on the PGA Tour after being stuck in a drought since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. Finau's power off the tee has always been obvious and will certainly help him at TPC San Antonio, but he's also gained at least 2.9 strokes putting in his last four starts. He held a share of the 36-hole lead at the Valero en route to his T3 in 2017, when he also ranked top-12 in driving distance, GIR percentage and putting average at the event.
Jason Kokrak, $11,200 - Leading this week's field in SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds, Kokrak has finished top-10 in three of four starts since the Honda Classic and most recently tied for second at the Valspar Championship. He's gaining an average of over five strokes on approach over his past five tournaments and ranks 13th on Tour in proximity from 175-200 yards, which will be a key range in San Antonio.
Luke List, $10,500 - List got the short end of the stick when he landed in the red-hot Rory McIlroy's grouping alongside Justin Harding and Matthew Fitzpatrick at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, so his 1-2-0 record shouldn't be of much concern at all. List ranks sixth among his peers this week in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 rounds and has gained strokes off-the-tee in all but one event this season. Back-to-back missed cuts at the Valero could help limit ownership, but it's tough to compete with his ball-striking form.
Byeong-Hun An, $10,200 - An hasn't missed a single cut on the PGA Tour since the FedEx St. Jude Classic last June, despite losing strokes with the flat stick on a weekly basis as of late. If he just turns in an average week with the putter, his elite ball striking could carry him to a much-anticipated maiden victory. An gained at least 6.4 strokes tee-to-green in four of his last five starts.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Haotong Li, $10,000 - Li won his group at Austin CC last week before being bounced in the Round of 16 by eventual champion Kevin Kisner, as the former posted impressive wins over both Brooks Koepka and Alex Noren in the process. His last two stroke-play events included missed cuts at the PLAYERS Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, but Li had previously strung together three straight top-20s from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic to the WGC-Mexico Championship, highlighted by a solo-second at the Saudi International. The 23-year-old has finished top-25 in the Euro Tour's Race to Dubai for three consecutive seasons and harnesses a great deal of power off the tee.
Scottie Scheffler, $8,100 - Scheffler has spent his 2019 campaign strictly at the Web.com Tour level thus far, but the former Texas Longhorn is coming off runner-up honors at last week's Savannah Golf Championship where he jumped from 824th to No. 459 in the OWGR. He's no stranger to a grander stage, however, as evidenced by a top-30 finish at the 2017 U.S. Open that really put him on the map. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Scheffler ranks 10th in total driving and fifth in birdie average on the Web.com Tour this season.
D.J. Trahan, $8,000 - Trahan has been cooking with top-20s in three consecutive showings from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am through the Corales Championship, where a final-round surge earned him an entry for the Valero this week. He averaged five birdies per round in Punta Cana and led the field in driving accuracy, missing just seven of 56 fairways all tournament. Trahan has gained an average of 4.2 strokes tee-to-green over his last five measured events.
Justin Harding, $7,000 - There's a chance somebody may have made an error when determining Harding's price this week, especially given the fact he's one of the few entrants in the top-50 of the OWGR heading to TPC San Antonio. He won the Euro Tour's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in early March and followed it up with a T2 at the Magical Kenya Open before earning a 2-1-0 record at the WGC Match Play. Harding currently ranks third in the Race to Dubai overseas.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
Surrounding Finau near the top of the board, guys like Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth just don't feel all that enticing at such a lofty price. This sentiment might not be too rare, either, so don't be baffled if Finau draws the most ownership out of that crew. There's enough value in the bargain bin with options such as Trahan and Harding priced so low, but a studs and duds approach isn't necessary with an overload of weapons in the $10k-11k range capable of reaching the podium.