This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Valero Texas Open
San Antonio, Texas
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) - Par 72 - 7,494 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $7.7M
The Valero Texas Open returns to the PGA Tour's Lone Star State rotation after a 2020 hiatus due to the pandemic.
Canadian Corey Conners is the event's most recent champion. In 2019, he needed to earn a berth via a Monday qualifier but ultimately secured a dominant two-shot victory, racking up 29 birdies and an eagle while leading the field in GIR percentage. This year's collection of Monday qualifiers have much less promise. One of them is J.J. Killeen, more formally known as the West Texas Driving Range Pro, who defeated Blake Elliott in a playoff for the final spot in the field at TPC San Antonio. The TCU product is a lock to accumulate exponentially more Twitter engagements than par-breakers this week, but he will be an entertaining cut-sweat candidate and he might even garner a percentage or two of rostership in GPPs given his popularity within the community.
Bombers can be rewarded at the lengthy par-72 venue that features difficult par-5s and potentially breezy conditions, but long shots are especially in play to find the podium with many household names absent from the field while preparing for the Masters.
Key Stats to Victory
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Hideki Matsuyama - $43
Original betting favorite Dustin Johnson's early withdrawal from the tournament will cause even more gamers to flock to Tony Finau ($46) and Scottie Scheffler ($43) atop the salary board, but Matsuyama provides a sneaky pivot option as an under-the-radar lineup anchor. On the surface, Matsuyama's $43 Yahoo evaluation doesn't match his underwhelming recent form with zero top-10s since mid-November. However, his full wedges and short irons have really come around as of late, and he paces this week's field in proximity from 125-150 yards over his last 12 rounds while ranking sixth in proximity from 150-175 yards over his past 24. Matsuyama is a TPC San Antonio debutant, but that shouldn't be of much concern given he's gained an average of 4.63 strokes from tee to green per event throughout his last three measured starts.
Jordan Spieth - $38
The Dallas native has yet to earn a price tag north of $38 in 2021 despite blatant improvements, so this remains a true discount in his home state, where defending champion Corey Conners definitely shouldn't be $2 more than Spieth. The former Longhorn has gained at least four strokes on his approaches in four of five starts dating to a T4 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but he also ranks 11th in SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds. Spieth is extremely live this week and next to contend for his first victory since the 2017 Open Championship, and he secured runner-up honors here at TPC San Antonio back in 2015.
Abraham Ancer - $38
Conners is one of my favorite players to watch on the PGA Tour, but much like Spieth, Ancer gets the nod over the Canadian in my personal power rankings for the Valero this week. Ancer ranks 17th in both SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds, which include a top-25 performance at the PLAYERS Championship despite losing over three strokes with the flat stick. Ancer, who was born in Texas, is second to only Brendon Todd in driving accuracy this season while also residing 14th in GIR percentage and 19th in birdie average. He's a perfect 3-for-3 in cuts made at TPC San Antonio.
Cameron Tringale - $33
Tringale's only missed cut since the Vivint Houston Open in early November came at the loaded PLAYERS Championship, but he's still gained strokes from tee to green in 10 consecutive starts. He even posted the fourth-best tee-to-green performance of his entire career en route to a top-15 during his most recent showing at the Honda Classic. Tringale has made the cut in seven of 10 Valero Texas Opens, notably notching back-to-back top-8s here in 2011 and 2012. He finished T17 at the 2019 edition with three rounds of 69 or better, and he also ranked third among the field in greens in regulation.
Charley Hoffman - $32
Hoffman has been striping it with the irons as he travels to TPC San Antonio ranked first in SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds. He's also a horse for the course with a win and eight top-15s here since 2010. Hoffman was the solo runner-up in 2019 thanks in large part to an eight-under 64 on moving day, ultimately ending the tournament top-10 in putting average and FIR percentage while hitting over 50 greens in regulation. He placed just T34 last week at the Corales Championship, but his late slip can be attributed to an unusual quadruple bogey on his 72nd hole of the event.
Harold Varner - $30
Varner is enjoying a streak of four consecutive cuts made since the Genesis Invitational with a pair of top-25s mixed in at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Honda Classic. He's seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee and 14th in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 12 rounds, and also 10th in proximity during this span. His resume at the Valero includes two top-25s and three made cuts in four career appearances.
Harry Higgs - $25
Higgs has rebounded from three straight missed cuts by compiling back-to-back top-30s at THE PLAYERS Championship and The Honda Classic. In the latter tournament at PGA National, he gained a career-best 8.1 strokes on his approaches. He has also gained strokes with the irons in eight straight measured events and he's second in proximity from 100-125 yards and 175-200 yards over his last 12 rounds.
Chase Seiffert - $20
Seiffert has placed T18 or better in four of seven starts to begin the 2021 calendar year, including a T15-T3-T18 string of results from the Puerto Rico Open to the Corales Championship. He gained 7.9 strokes on his approaches en route to that T3 at the Honda Classic, rising to 29th on Tour in SG: APP from a season-long sample size. Seiffert isn't deep off the tee, but he's top-40 in par-4 scoring and proximity.
Sam Ryder - $20
Following up his T8 at the Honda Classic where he gained at least 1.4 strokes in each SG subcategory with a T2 in the Dominican Republic, Ryder has rapidly ascended nearly 100 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking since the PLAYERS Championship. Additionally, he made the cut in each of his first two voyages to TPC San Antonio in 2018 and 2019. On the season, Ryder ranks 38th in SG: Approach, 15th in GIR percentage, 16th in proximity and 44th in putting from inside 10 feet.