The Valero Texas Open was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and the initial stoppage of the PGA Tour. This year’s event returns to TPC San Antonio, but the field only has one player in the top 10 world rankings as The Masters is on deck.
Just six of the top-40 players in the world rankings are playing in the Valero Texas Open, including the 2019 defending champion Corey Conners.
Valero Texas Open Odds 2021
Dustin Johnson opened as the favorite at DraftKings Monday morning with +700 odds but he withdrew from the tournament Monday night. Tony Finau is now the favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook as he was +1000 Wednesday afternoon.
Notable players in the field
The field is lacking top players, as expected, with The Masters starting next week. But there is some star power.
Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Zach Johnson – who won the Valero Texas Open in 2008 and 2009 before it moved to TPC San Antonio – will tee it up. Rickie Fowler is also playing this week, along with Gary Woodland and University of Texas star and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth. Veteran major champions Jim Furyk, Davis Love and Henrik Stenson will also participate.
Top golfers in the Valero Texas Open
- Tony Finau (13)
- Hideki Matsuyama (24)
- Ryan Palmer (26)
- Abraham Ancer (29)
- Scottie Scheffler (32)
- Corey Conners (40)
- Bernd Wiesberger (46)
- Si Woo Kim ( 48 )
- Gary Woodland (52)
- Jordan Spieth (54)
- Matt Wallace (56)
- Brian Harman (59)
Valero Texas Open winners and runner-ups:
- 2019 – Corey Conners (-20), Charley Hoffman
- 2018 – Andrew Landry (-17), Trey Mullinax, Sean O’Hair
- 2017 – Kevin Chappell (-12), Brooks Koepka
- 2016 – Charley Hoffman (-12), Patrick Reed
Top finishers in 2019 returning in 2021:
- Corey Conners (Win)
- Charley Hoffman (2)
- Ryan Moore (3)
- Si Woo Kim (T4)
- Brian Stuard (T4)
- Kevin Streelman (6)
- Danny Lee (T7)
- Graeme McDowell (T7)
- Matt Kuchar (T7)
- Scott Brown (T7)
- Byeong Hun An (T7)
- Adam Schenk (T7)
Golfers to watch
A lighter field of top ranked players leaves Tony Finau and Texas native Jordan Spieth as co-favorites to win the Valero Texas Open. But defending champion (2019) Corey Conners, Hideki Matsuyama and University of Texas star Scottie Scheffler are also less than +2000 to win. Scheffler just finished runner-up in the WGC Match-Play championship at Austin Country Club.
Conners leads this field in SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 36 rounds. He’s also No. 3 in Ball Striking and No. 6 in Tee-to-Green. Finau has similar top-10 profiles in those strokes gained stats, along with Approach. Cameron Tringale and Chris Kirk may be more popular this week, and each golfer has more positive strokes gained stats with each ranking top-6 in this field in SG: Total over their last 36 rounds. But odds are +3500 or less on each player, and we’ll shoot for other Golfers to Watch at longer odds.
Looking down the odds board you’ll see some players at more attractive prices that could cash in with proven profiles. Wind is usually a factor, and looks to be 10-15 MPH, so consider that as you choose your golfers when wagering.
Here are four players outside of the leading favorites to consider for your Fairway Foursome to win or for a top finishing position.
Cameron Davis (+4100 DraftKings): Davis’ odds have dropped, but the big hitter can go well here despite missing the cut in his only appearance in 2019. The 26-year-old Aussie handles wind well and got his game on course in the recent Honda Classic where he was top-10 Off-the-Tee and top-15 in Approach play. Those stats, along with Off-the-Tee, have been positive in most of Davis’ eight starts this year. Davis’ Short Game and Around the Green play has been a weakness holding him back, but over his last 36 rounds, he ranks top-10 in this field in SG: Ball Striking, Off-the-Tee and top-20 in Tee-to-Green and Approach play. Davis’ long iron strength shows him top-5 in proximity from 200+ yards, and he looks like a capable contender.
Aaron Wise (+7500 DraftKings & FanDuel): Wise has one win on tour, and it came in Texas at the Byron Nelson. He was a bigger longshot at the Honda Classic, and had a chance to win before a Sunday collapse dropped him to T13. The talent is there for the 24-year-old, and his driving has been mostly solid and is top-20 in this field over his last 36 rounds. Wise ranks top-15 on tour in hitting greens, but his Putting is very poor and Short Game needs much improvement. Wise has gained strokes in Approach, Tee-to-Green and Off-the-Tee in six of his last seven events. A second place finish back in December, and a T11 in Houston suggests he may like it again in Texas with his Tee-to-Green and GIR game leading the way.
Harry Higgs (+8000 BetMGM): Higgs is ranked No. 123 in the world, and resides in Dallas after a collegiate career at SMU. The 29-year-old had three straight cuts prior to finishing 29th in his first appearance in THE PLAYERS Championship, and then 19th in the Honda Classic. He led the field in SG: Approach in the recent Honda event, and that Champions Course at PGA National is a good comp for conditions and strokes gained stats. Higgs’ strengths are Ball Striking, long irons and Approach play, which has been positive in each of his last eight events. Along with solid Tee-to-Green stats and hitting greens, it overrides his weakness Around the Greens and Short Game. That’s proven by past winners and top finishers on the Oaks course at TPC San Antonio. Higgs makes his debut in this event but should show well.
Matt Wallace (+11000 DraftKings): Wallace was nearly half this price against a stronger field in the Honda Classic. He missed the cut at the Honda, but was T18 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Wallace has indicated he’s made strides in all areas of his game. It showed some last week when the 30-year-old went 1-1-1 in a solid group and played well in Austin at the WGC Match Play. His Ball Striking and Approach play strength should serve him well this week. On a tighter course where it’s tougher to hit fairways and greens this week, Wallace should perform well as he’s gained strokes T2G in his two recent U.S. Open appearances where hitting fairways is more difficult. Wallace’s Around the Green and Short Game have shown improvement over his last 36 rounds ranking top-20 in this field. The more regular European Tour player can find his groove better on this course before the Masters, where he’ll play next week after finishing T46 last year at Augusta. Wallace has finished third in the PGA Championship and 12th in the US Open both in 2019. At No. 60 in the world golf rankings, Wallace can fit well this week and outperform his odds for a top finish.
Course and tournament information
- Course: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
- Location: San Antonio, TX
- Date: April 1 – 4 2021
- Par: 72 / Yardage 7,435
- Purse: $7.7 Million / Winner $1.4 M
- Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass
- Greens: : Bermudagrass
- TV/Online: Golf Channel, NBC (Sat/Sun), PGA Tour Live
- Twitter & Hashtag: @valerotxopen
- Defending Champion: Corey Connors (2019)
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio opened in 2010 and was designed by Greg Norman with collaboration from Sergio Garcia. The course features narrow, tree-lined fairways with narrow corridors carved through oak trees. There are also a number of holes with wider fairways offering multiple routes for more strategic options.
Driver is very much a key club at TPC San Antonio, but power does not dictate success as there’s real punishment for being wayward at the Oaks Course. Hitting fairways ranks more difficult at the at TPC San Antonio. Massive bunkers and tall native grasses and limestone walls make it imperative to play from the fairway in order to have playable approaches into the larger, rolling greens.
There are only two holes with forced carries, and downhill holes play into a prevailing wind with uphill holes playing downwind. Potential isolated rain showers up to 40% are in the advance forecast for Thursday and Friday, and winds should reach at least 12 MPH each day of the tournament.
The toughest three scoring holes are on the front nine at hole number 9, 4 and 1, which all have a bogey rate of 25-26% on the Oaks course.
Key stats when reviewing Strokes Gained this week include SG: Tee-to-Green. Hitting greens is important, as is Scrambling as part of your model with additional runoff areas and players finding it more difficult to hit fairways – thus more missed greens.