Valero Texas Open

Best Bet for Round 1, a look at the course, and some thoughts on some longshots

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I know it’s a whole nother tournament and we should maybe focus in on what’s happening this week in Texas but lordy we’re so close I can taste the pimento cheese.

One of my favorite articles all year came off the press just a bit ago. Our own Ryan Noonan puts together a guide with some information on each and every player in the field, including their past results and how he thinks they’ll fare this year.

It’s FREE TO READ and available on the site ⬇

Back to Valero: It is exciting to think that someone could play themselves in on Sunday, literally the golf version of a buzzer-beater. While there are some big names at the top, as we touched on this week on the betting show, there are still plenty of longer prices with chances to make a run here.

I ended up with a few bombs along with a bet on my favorite Swede:

Aberg 14/1
Akshay 68/1
Mitchell 75/1
Eckroat 100/1

An EXTENDED except from Ron Klos’ preview article this week:

TPC San Antonio

With only three water hazards and non-penal rough, it doesn’t seem like it should be a difficult track, but TPC San Antonio can be a stern challenge as it typically plays firm with windy conditions. Considering the area has been experiencing long-term drought conditions, I would expect it to play quite firm on the fairways and greens once again. There are only two non-par 5 holes that average under par. Historically, the course has averaged more double bogeys or worse than all courses except for PGA National and TPC Sawgrass. It definitely requires some level of accuracy off the tee along with stellar iron play on approaches. And even with a full allotment of four par 5s, these are the toughest group of par 5s on Tour. That being said, the ability to score on these holes is one of the few ways for players to separate from the field at this course. Five of the past nine winners led the field in par 5 scoring for the week.

The main variable in terms of how tough it plays will be the wind strength. Like with all Texas courses, gusty conditions can be a constant factor. The course can play extremely difficult if breezes come from a northerly direction, which is the prevailing San Antonio wind during the spring. In 2016 and 2017, with high winds affecting play, the winning score dipped down to 12-under for both years. Even with the course playing easier over the past four years, scoring has still averaged around even par, which illustrates the fact that bogeys are waiting for those not sharp with their game. Said 2016 winner, Charley Hoffman on the wind factor, “If the wind doesn’t blow, guys can shoot 5, 6, 7 under on this golf course. If the wind blows, it’s a totally different story.”

Players will also have to deal with strategically placed cavernous bunkers, heavily forested brush areas (see Kevin Na video below), and undulating green complexes. While the number of bunkers is below average (only 64), they are quite deep and surround the greens where errant approach shots are most likely to occur. The wind also has the biggest effect on approaches into the numerous elevated greens where there are runoff areas to collect stray shots.

TPC San Antonio features the standard par-72 assortment of ten par-4s, four par-5s, and four par-3s. Even though it lies in rugged terrain amidst the Texas Hill Country, there are seemingly no holes that stand out with their own unique identity. Including the 602-yard second hole, the first four holes add up to 1,708 yards and 0.36 shots over par making it vital that players are focused and striking the ball well from the start.

Most of the front-nine holes are quite similar with slight dog legs and bunkers guarding both sides of the green. There are five par-4s under 410 yards and the four par-5s are among the longest on Tour, averaging 588 yards. Three of the four par-5s are difficult to reach in two shots and, overall, they rank as the toughest for scoring on Tour. Competent wedge play is vital in setting up birdie chances on the par-5s as past winners have taken advantage of them in the past.

One unique characteristic of TPC San Antonio is that the holes were designed to play downhill if players are hitting into the prevailing wind and uphill with the wind at their back. This is another feature that prevents bombers off the tee from gaining a significant advantage.

The 347-yard 17th hole might be the most interesting hole on the course. It can stretch out to 366 yards and is potentially a driveable hole when not hitting into a southerly wind. The front of the hole is guarded by greenside bunkers on both sides, but it presents a risk-reward opportunity for some excitement down the stretch.

The par-5 591-yard 18th hole is one of the more underrated closing holes on Tour. Not only does it play uphill, but the creek that traverses the fairway can cause issues on erratic drives. While it has a Birdie or Better rate of 25%, it also has a bogey or worse rate of 16%.


My guy damn near won the thing. Not going to mention that so did like 12 other guys, but still, it was nice to see a solid performance out of a guy I backed. Davis Thompson made the cut and kept some pressure on, but in the end it was a nice five-stroke win with Detry finishing T2 at -11.

Houston: Thomas Detry > Davis Thompson +100 (DK) 💰
(YTD 9-5, +3.46u)

Valero Best Bet: ROUND 1 - Noren > Spieth +100 (FanDuel)

Like Noren quite a bit this week from a form standpoint, but also, outside of his putting (which is streaky), he’s been ascending in most stat categories and if these greens are on the slower side, he’s set up nicely to finish high on a course that demands great tee-to-green play.

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Going to see some of those Texas winds kicking up Friday and Saturday, likely another PM/AM wave advantage coming. The rain chances for the weekend are less than 50%, but still exist. I doubt we’ll see much in the way of delays, but some overnight rain would be nice for an area that’s been a bit dry lately. May see some softer conditions.

News and Notes

Leading with JT news, right before the MASTERS! Parting with his caddy Jim "Bones" Mackay and switching it up.

Great week for team no-putt if you’re into that sort of thing.

Relatable video for anyone who’s bet on or against Jordan Spieth ever.

As always, bet responsibly, have fun, and eight more sleeps until the Masters.

ONE LAST THING: We’ve always just put our golf content on the YouTube channel with other shows from our parent company since we were lazy, but it’s probably better to have a golf-only YouTube spot. So, starting this week all betting and DFS shows will be on said new channel. Do me a solid and subscribe if you could ⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇