The PGA Tour treks back to San Antonio, Texas for the Valero Texas Open this week. The tournament is played on The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. The Texas Open has been a staple on the PGA Tour for 95 years the third oldest on the PGA Tour.
The field consists of 156 players with the top 70 and ties making the cut and playing the weekend. This is one of the weaker fields we will see all year long with only five of the top 30 players in the world showcasing their talents this week. Those five are Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Pat Perez, Charley Hoffman and Xander Schauffele.
Kevin Chappell was last years champion, posting a 12-under to win the tournament by one stroke over Brooks Koepka. If you take a look at the leaderboard from last year, you will notice that a lot of the top finishers are known for their length off the tee.
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio is a 7,435 yard par 72 with four par 3’s and par 5’s. The Greg Norman design is one of the most difficult tracks played on tour all year with the average winning score ending up near -13. The par 5’s all play very long, averaging roughly 600 yards each, providing a clear advantage to the bombers.
The course features tight, tree-lined fairways and 54 bunkers scattered throughout. The bermuda grass greens are not particularly small or fast, yet we have seen a below average GIR rate here. The overall length of this course commonly leads to long iron approach shots, which are often complicated by swirling winds. Having distance doesn’t automatically produce a win here, but having shorter irons in should lead to more control and accuracy on the approach.
Stats are useful for identifying a certain profile or type of player that should play well. I look at recent and long term form and try to find some type of balance when selecting players. I will also consider their course history, but tend to use this as a tie-breaker.
Below are the stats I will be focusing on when building my model this week.
- Driving Distance (20-25%)
- Greens in Regulation Gained (20-25%)
- Strokes Gained Approach (15-20%)
- Bogey Avoidance (10-15%)
- Good Drives Gained (5-10%)
- Strokes Gained Par 5 600+ (5-10%)
This week is a standard format tournament with top-70 and ties making the cut. With that being said, it is always crucial to have 6/6 make the cut if you want a chance to take down a GPP. You want to feel confident that your lineups can get 6/6 through the cut, but you also want to have high finishing upside. This tournament is known to play tough, so there are not as many birdies to be had on the course. Finishing points will probably play a role in the outcome of GPPs, so you want to roster guys you think have a real shot for a high finish.
With only five of the world’s top-30 teeing it up, this will be one of the weaker fields we see all year-long. I anticipate that the typical lineup construction will be to take one or two of the top priced guys who have a lot of win equity and then fill the roster out from there. I think this is probably the optimal strategy, but you want to make sure you differentiate elsewhere in the lineup in order to avoid duplicates.
As always, leaving some money on the table in the large field GPPs is an easy way to help differentiate. Also make sure you try to get a feel for ownership projections. I use Fanshare Sports as my go-to source for ownership. Be sure to check them out when building your lineups this week. They have a great promo running for a free month of their Pro membership. You can sign up through this link.
This course is known to be windy, which can greatly impact how a golfer plays. Be sure to check out the weather and make some lineups that stack tee times. If the wind does end up playing a factor this can instantly give your lineups a boost. Obviously, weather is not the most predictive, so I would not go all in on one tee time, but stack a few different ways.
*Disclaimer – these are done early in week and may be subject to change as ownership projections evolve*
Sergio Garcia ($12,000) – Sergio is expensive this week, but he is also the odds on favorite to win this tournament. He rates out very well from a modeling perspective and besides his play on 13 and The Masters, he has had a very solid year. I will be monitoring his ownership and if it looks like he will come in sub 15%, then I will play him. The price does make building a roster a bit more uncomfortable, so ownership will be a big factor for me.
Luke List ($10,000) – I have been riding Luke List all year and I am not going to stop now. His stats are incredible and he looks to be a perfect fit. With that being said, I expect him to be one of, if not the highest owned golfer this week. I will just look to differentiate elsewhere.
Adam Scott ($9,600) – Scott has been in solid form all year this year and I think eh can continue that here. He has not shown quite the upside as he has in previous years, but I would not be completely shocked to see him win. I think Scott is a good GPP pivot off of a chalky List, but I still would not play him in cash.
Kevin Chappell ($9,300) – Chappell is the defending champ here and fits the course perfectly on paper. He has not played great since the WGC Match Play event, missing the cut at The Masters and last week at the Heritage. I am hoping that this will keep his ownership down a bit. He missed the cut on the number this week and his stats rate out well, so I will be playing him.
Brendan Steele ($8,900) – Steele is rating out very well statistically and he is a very consistent player. I think he is safe enough for cash and still has upside to warrant GPP plays. I will be using him throughout all different types of contests this week.
Beau Hossler ($8,100) – Beau grades out fairly well in my model, but this will be more of a GPP play for me. He showed his upside in the Houston Open, where he imploded in the playoff vs Poulter. I will not being take a big stance of Hossler, but I think he warrants GPP consideration.
Keegan Bradley ($7,900) – Good old Keegan Bradley has been remarkably consistent this year in terms of making the cut. He fits the profile of someone who should play well here and I will be taking some shots. I would not go Keegan in cash because that is insanity, but I will play him in GPPs.
Jason Kokrak ($7,400) – I play an unhealthy amount of Jason Kokrak and it is going to continue this week. He is a bomber and rates out really well in my model. He has been crushing GIR over the past 24 rounds and that will be crucial here this week. I think he may garner a bit of ownership, so that is something to monitor, but I will have some.
Sam Ryder ($6,700) – I cannot say I have ever played Ryder before in any tournament but I may use him in a lineup or two. His stats rate out fairly well and he will be very low owned. If I decide to take a few guys up top, Ruder may be someone I look to fill the rest of my roster with.
Talor Gooch ($6,600) – Gooch is another GPP dart who I will use similarly to Ryder. With that being said, he has shown that he can make some cuts and get a decent finish and that is all you need at this price tag. If he becomes popular I will look another direction, but if not I will have a few stabs.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @thetipsandyips & @TheGolfFamily. Hope you all have a good week and win some $$$. Good luck and feel free to share your results!
Thanks for reading!