Valero Texas Open: Preview and Tips

Valero Texas Open, AT&T Oaks Course, San Antonio

Course

The PGA Tour will be heading to San Antonio, Texas for the Valero Texas Open to be played at AT&T Oaks Course. This is an extremely interesting tournament because the course on which it is played is rated as one of the toughest on the Tour.

It is a 7400+ yard Par 72 designed by Greg Norman and inputs from Sergio Garcia. As the name suggests there are Oak trees lining some narrow fairways, difficult to hit greens, and plenty of blustering wind to make things interesting.

The greens are lined with Bermuda grass and overseeded with Bent grass. They should be in pristine conditions and not a problem for players once they get on the putting surface. Getting, there in regulation, though, is not an easy task.

The course also has some of the most difficult Par-5s on the tour. Eagles or birdies are very difficult and require some imagination to be able to navigate the course. History suggests that players that make fewer mistakes and are conservative will tend to better than the ones that look to score aggressively.

Tournament Overview

Kevin Chappell is the defending champion of this tournament. Charlie Hoffman won it in 2016, Jimmy Walker in 2015, Steven Bowditch in 2014, and Martin Laird in 2013.

The field for this tournament is relatively weak as some of the big players continue to recover from their Masters hangover. That makes this a pretty open tournament especially considering the conditions likely to be on offer.

Winning this tournament will require accuracy off the tee, an ability to scramble from tough positions, and being able to distinguish yourself on the Par-5’s. Players that get some distance off the tee are also going to be at a slight advantage although that distance cannot come at the cost of accuracy.

Golfers that have been on top of the iron game must be considered as good candidates by punters.

Stats that Matter

The Wolf is looking at the following stats for this tournament:

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Par 5 Scoring

This is not a very low scoring venue and history suggests that any player that gets on a bit of a run will be able to quickly get to the top of the pile. The Wolf also suggests having a close look at the weather conditions because they can be very crucial.

Kevin Chappell won the tournament in 2017 and was T35 for Driving Accuracy, T25 for Driving Distance, 21st in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 3rd in Greens in Regulation.

The winning total at this course tends to be around the 277 mark. Kevin Chappell and Charlie Hoffman totaled 276 when they won it the last two years respectively, Jimmy Walker had a 277 in 2015, Steve Bowditch 280 in 2014, and Martin Laird won with a score of 274.

Predictions

For the favorite this week, the Wolf is backing Sergio Garcia at $15.00 to win the tournament. Sergio had a horror Masters outing where he shot a 13 on one hole and eventually missed the cut. He did, however, have three consecutive top-10 finishes before that and looked in good form. One poor weekend does not shake the Wolf’s faith in Sergio Garcia.

Garcia is also one of the designers of the course and it stands to reason that he would be well acquainted with whats required to win here. Sergio Garcia is also the kind of character that will want to come back strong after what could be termed as an embarrassment for a player of his stature. The Wolf has no problem backing Garcia here.

There is plenty of value to be found in this field but the Wolf is going to go for Pat Perez at $34.00. Perez also missed the cut at the Masters and has been in middling form of late. The Wolf, though, likes how this course sets up for Perez. He can be very accurate off the tee, can get some good distance when the situation demands and his iron play has been pretty solid as well.

Perez has not been putting at his best but that is something that could change in the matter of a round. He has played the Valero Texas Open 9 times in the past and made the cut 8 times. He has finished 5th twice for his best finish and has another 5 finishes within the top-25.

Perez is 62nd for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 14th for Par 5 Scoring, and 44th for Bogey Avoidance. At the price he is being offered, he is well worth a solid punt.

For the outside pick, the Wolf is backing Kevin Streelman at $67.00. Streelman finished a very respectable T7 at the RBC Heritage last week and has been solid throughout without being brilliant. He is another one of those golfers, though, that should do well at this course.

Streelman has made five cuts on the five occasions he has played here with a best of 13th. He is also 1st for Bogey Avoidance, 18th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 28th in Par 5 Scoring.

If the conditions are tough, which they are expected to be this week, then Streelman will have a better chance of playing for the title on the weekend.

Recommended Bets

Tournament Winner

Best: Sergio Garcia ($15.00)

Value: Pat Perez ($34.00)

Roughie: Kevin Streelman ($67.00)

Tournament By Country

Top Aussie:  Matt Jones ($6.50)

Top USA: Pat Perez ($17.00)

Top European: Sergio Garcia ($2.50)

72 Hole Match Bets

Garcia vs Hoffman: Sergio Garcia ($1.77)

Kuchar vs List: Luke List ($1.95)

Scott vs Horschel: Billy Horschel ($1.90)

 

Discuss