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Valero Texas Open Preview

What: Valero Texas Open
Where: TPC San Antonio – AT&T Oaks, San Antonio, Texas
When: April 19-22 
Defending Champion: Kevin Chappell
FedEx Cup Points: 500
Purse: $6.2 million

Last week, Satoshi Kodaira took home his first career PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage Open, topping Si Woo Kim in three playoff holes. Bryson DeChambeau, Luke List, Webb Simpson, and Billy Horschel rounded out the top five.

Last Week’s Results

Top Picks

Johnson: T16
Donald: CUT
Harman: T23

Second Tier

Kisner: T7
Kuchar: T23
Simpson: T5

Third Tier

Casey: CUT
Hoffman: T23
Leishman: CUT


Smith: T32
Knox: T40
Hadwin: DNP

We’ll head back to Texas for the third time in six weeks for this event, the Valero Texas Open. Played at TPC San Antonio, only five of the world’s top-30 players will be making the trip. Many top golfers take this week off to prepare for The Players Championship coming up in three weeks. It also has one of the lowest purses on Tour.

Kevin Chappell took home the championship here last year with a score of 12-under. Chappell shares a similar profile to past winners like Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker, Brendan Steele, and Adam Scott — long ball-strikers with “good enough” putting. For this long and tough course, you can keep an eye on stats like strokes gained: tee-to-green and par-5 scoring.

This Week’s Picks

Top Picks

Charley Hoffman: Whatever it is about Charley, he loves playing in Texas. Hoffman is the tournament’s all-time earnings leader and is perfect with eight cuts in eight tries. He has four top-15s to go along with three top-3 finishes since 2011, which includes a win in 2016. Four top-25s in his last six starts.

Sergio Garcia: Erase the Masters appearance from your head — Garcia is a great option in a weaker field. It’s his first appearance here since 2010, but did you know that he was actually a player consultant for the design on this course? That already puts him ahead of the curve in my book. Before the Masters blow-up, he had three straight top-10s.

Brendan Steele:  Steele was the winner here in 2011 and has four other finishes of T46 or better in six tries. That includes a T4, T8 and a T13. He has made nine of 10 cuts this season (only cut coming at the Masters) with a T3 at the WMPO and six other top-25s. He ranks 19th in par-5 scoring on Tour.

Second Tier

Kevin Chappell: You’d think the defending champion deserves to be ranked higher, but  he’s coming off back-to-back cuts over the last two weeks. However, he’s posted six top-21 finishes in nine stroke play finishes prior. Chappell has that 2017 win, a second-place finish in 2011 and a T4 in 2016. He ranks T24 in par-5 scoring this season.

Matt Kuchar: Once again, I will have the model of consistency in my lineups this week. He has three top-15s and one top-10 at this event (which was a T4 in 2014), and he has made every cut in six trips. Not the longest hitter on Tour, but he hits it straight and makes his puts. He’s 11 of 11 on cuts this year with two top-10s in his last four events.

Adam Scott: In a weaker field, a hot golfer like Scott should definitely be considered. Although the putting leaves something to be desired, Scott gets to the green with ease (fifth in strokes gained: tee-to-green). He was a past winner here in 2010 but hasn’t played the course since a T23 in 2011. After a slow start to the year, the 37-year-old Aussie has two top-16s in his last four events.

Third Tier

Pat Perez: Perez will make his fifth trip to TPC San Antonio (first since 2015) and has made all four cuts, with a worst finish of T22. However, the problem has been his play this season. He has a win in October and has made nine of 10 cuts but has only posted one top-20 in his last five events. He does rank 14th in par-5 scoring and fourth in GIR percentage, so his 36th rank in strokes gained: putting could make him one of the better all-around plays this week.

Billy Horschel: Horschel has an impressive total of four top-5s in five starts here but missed the cut last year. He’s coming off a T5 that broke a terrible slump (five of six cuts missed before that), so maybe this is the start of something.

Luke List: Winning on Tour definitely isn’t easy, but if List had a win or two I’d rank him higher. It’s becoming frustrating how close he’s getting. List has five top-20s in his last nine starts, so let’s continue to ride this hot streak. He has already played a whopping 16 events on Tour with 13 cuts made. He has three top T7s in his last six events and ranks 6th in strokes gained: tee-to-green and T19 in par-5 scoring. Let’s not forget he ranks third in standard Fantrax golf leagues.


Julian Suri: This will be Suri’s first trip here, but the T8 he put up in Houston two weeks ago is encouraging. In the last eight months, the world’s 70th ranked golfer has a win and seven other top-29s (five top-8s) in 18 events around the world. He does, however, have five missed cuts in that span, so we can consider the 27-year-old a boom or bust for this week.

Chris Kirk: His four appearances in San Antonio have been a bit spotty — a T8 and a T13 along with a missed cut and a T48. Speaking more to his “boom or bust” potential, Kirk has made 11 of 15 cuts this season with a notable 13th place finish at the API and a T4 at the RSM Classic. He ranks 41st in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 26th in strokes gained: approach-the-green.

Abraham Ancer: Since his MC at the Honda Classic, the McAllen, Texas native who represents Mexico has gone T-52-T16-T13-T8. He has made 10 of 14 cuts this season to go along with two top-10s and five top-25s. You’ve got to like his 14th-ranked putting average and 19th-ranked birdie or better conversion.

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