This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Valero Texas Open
Course: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks) (7,494 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,386,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The second round of this Texas Two-Step takes us to San Antonio for the final tune-up before the Masters.
This event dates back 99 years and is the sixth oldest professional golf tournament worldwide. The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio has been the host of the Texas Open since 2010. The 2020 edition of the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. In 2019 it was Corey Conners who picked up his first PGA Tour victory after Monday qualifying to get into the Texas Open. He was the first player to win after Monday qualifying into an event in nine years. Defending Masters champion Dustin Johnson was set to be the massive betting favorite this week before ultimately deciding to pull out on Monday. That leaves former Longhorn Jordan Spieth as the pre-tournament betting favorite for the first time in years. Spieth is coming into the week with top-15 finishes in five of his last six starts. Fellow Longhorn Scottie Scheffler will be teeing it up this week after falling in the championship of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play to Billy Horschel last week. Other notables include Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, and Texan Ryan Palmer. There are 23 golfers in the field who are exempt into the Masters next week and one more spot is available with a win at TPC San Antonio.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low-to-mid 70s throughout the event, and rain is not expected to threaten the festivities. The wind will be the main defense of the course, with breezes set to average around 15 miles per hour through the four days of tournament play.
2020 - None
2019 – Corey Conners
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
- SG: Approach
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- SG: Putting
The difficulties of TPC San Antonio start right away from the tee. The fairways are on the narrower side and are made even more so with the customary Texas winds. The rough isn't overly penal, but the fairway bunkers can present challenges, as well as rocks that can be found on some holes for straying a bit too far off line. The course is nearly 7,500 yards, but a peak at the list of past champions at the Oaks Course and "bomber" is not the first word that would be used to describe any of the winners since 2010. In general, accuracy should take precedent over distance off the tee this week. The next challenge for the 144-man field will be finding the proper sections of these very undulating greens. There are several hole locations this week that you can feed the ball into, but one off target approach could leave you working very hard to avoid a three-putt. The greens at TPC San Antonio are on the larger end, so SG: Approach and proximity numbers will likely tell a little more of the story than GIR percentage. Due to the persistent wind and undulations, the greens will be prepped to run around 11 on the stimpmeter. The 2019 edition saw TPC San Antonio surrender a course-low 71.24 scoring average and Corey Conners win at 20-under-par. The Oaks Course has proved stingy in other years, but given the ideal conditions this week we should expect a mid-teen under-par number to win out. That means you're going to have to be efficient with the putter to put up birdies and be able to scramble successfully when you do end up missing these large greens.
FanDuel Value Picks
Jordan Spieth ($11,500)
I've been shy about using Spieth in the past due to his wild inconsistency, but at this point I think we can say that Jordan Spieth is back to consistently playing like a top-25 player in the world. With top-15's in five of his last six starts and drastic improvements over that stretch with his SG: Approach numbers, Spieth is rightfully the favorite to win for the first time since 2017. He owns a pair of top-10s including a runner-up back in 2015 in his five starts at TPC San Antonio.
Corey Conners ($11,000)
The defending champion is a ball-striking wizard. Conners ranks top-15 this season in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green, driving accuracy, and GIR percentage. The Canadian has already piled up five top-10s and nine top-25s this season. Conners has made strides with the putter this season, moving up to 40th in putts per GIR.
Ryan Palmer ($10,700)
TPC San Antonio may very well be Palmer's best course on Tour. He owns five top-15 finishes in 10 career starts at the course. A big reason for his success here is that he has always been a great driver of the golf ball. This season, however, Palmer's game is as complete as it has ever been. He ranks top-35 in SG: Approach, GIR percentage, scrambling, and one-putt percentage. The veteran has only missed one cut this season with six top-20s.
Charley Hoffman ($10,500)
Speaking of Horses for Courses, Hoffman is 10-for-10 with a win in 2016 among four top-three finishes and eight top-15's at TPC San Antonio. Like Palmer, Hoffman is another player that has always been strong off the tee. The 44-year-old currently ranks top-35 in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, and SG: Tee-to-Green this season. Hoffman is coming into the week in strong form with top-20's in three of his last five starts.
Longer Shots with Value
Zach Johnson ($9,900)
Johnson is 12-for-12 this season with a trio of top-10s, including one in his last start at The Honda Classic. His record at TPC San Antonio is pretty solid as well, with a T6 in 2014 and a T5 in 2018. Johnson is an accurate driver who is never going to get himself in trouble. He also ranks 30th in GIR percentage, 11th in SG: Putting, and 23rd in scoring average this season at age 45.
Harold Varner III ($9,700)
Varner has been extremely solid through the bag this season, as he ranks top-50 on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, SG: Around-the-Green, and SG: Tee-to-Green. His ball-striking can't be questioned the last couple years; it's just going to come down to how many putts he can make. Varner owns top-25 finishes in three of his last six starts. He also has gone 3-for-4 in his career at TPC San Antonio and notched a T9 back in 2016.
Sam Ryder ($8,900)
Ryder is definitely trending at the moment with a T8 at the Honda Classic and a T2 at Corales. The 31-year-old is a tremendous iron player, as he ranks 38th in SG: Approach, 15th in GIR percentage, and 16th in proximity to the hole this season. Much like Varner, the putter will ultimately tell the story on how his week ends, but Ryder did rank top-10 in putting in his last start. He has made the weekend in both attempts at TPC San Antonio.
Martin Laird ($8,600)
Laird has been scuffling a bit of late, but his record at TPC San Antonio is as strong as anyone you will find down this far in salary. The Scot has a win back in 2013 when he held off Rory McIlroy. He also has three other top-20 results in seven career starts. Laird rarely puts himself in bad positions, as he ranks 14th in driving accuracy and seventh in GIR percentage this season.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
Dustin Johnson was the massive favorite this week with a salary of $12,800. However, he decided to withdraw Monday. That leaves Jordan Spieth as the highest-priced player in the field at just $11,500. With many of the best in the world deciding to sit out this week to prepare for the Masters, this is definitely a field on the shallower end much like The Honda Classic a couple weeks ago. Thankfully with the prices not readjusted after the World No. 1 withdrew, there is room for flexibility on the top end of the salary board, with only four players in the $11,000 range. You need the total package to win at TPC San Antonio, but this will be on of the most important driving weeks of the season, so that's definitely an area to key in on when forming lineups.