Post by: Mike Philipps
The PGA Tour moves inland, to San Antonio, Texas, for the 96th playing of the Valero Texas Open this week. The third-oldest PGA Tour event and the longest held in the same city, the Valero Texas Open returns to the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio (par 72, 7,435 yards) for the eighth time. The course was designed by Greg Norman with consultation by new Masters champion Sergio Garcia, and features Bermuda grasses from tee to green.
Best Golf Betting Sites in 2017
Charley Hoffman spent the entire week in the top-3 at last year’s Valero Texas Open. On Sunday, he carded a 3-under 69 – including 3 birdies and no bogeys on the back nine – to overtake 3rd round leader Ricky Barnes and hold off fellow chaser Patrick Reed for the title. Hoffman, paired with Reed on Sunday, watched as the No. 11 ranked player in the world missed a pair of golden opportunities on 16 and 17, allowing his own 9-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to be the margin of victory. It was the San Diego native’s 4th career win on the PGA Tour.
This week’s field lacks players at the very top of the world rankings – only two of the top 20 are scheduled to play – but there are still several quality options, including many with excellent results at the Valero Texas Open. Below there are several players highlighted, along with some others to keep in mind.
2017 Valero Texas Open Odds Comparison
We begin today with a comparison of the betting odds for each of the top 20 Texas Open favourites and then continue below with an analysis of the event’s key players to watch. Getting the best odds on the Texas Open is a simple matter of making your pick first and then checking each bookmaker to see which is offering the highest payouts for your pick. We’re only comparing the top 20 golfers for now, but you can follow any link on the following chart to visit that sportsbook and see odds on every player in the field.
And if you need a little motivation to actually get down into the weeds and starting doing your homework like you should be, see this post from last week detailing one punter’s $41K payday earned off a mere $60 golf bet. Now, let’s get started with that research and discuss this week’s top prospects.
Current Odds to Win:
USA-Friendly Betting Odds:
Top Texas Open Picks
These are the five most-likely players to win it all based on their current betting odds.
- World Golf Ranking: 17
- What to like: Kuchar is playing his best golf of the 2016-17 season after consecutive top-11 finishes. Each result has been powered by an excellent final round. At the Masters, Kuchar, on the strength of his ace at No. 16, carded a final round 67 to finish in a tie for 4th. At the RBC Heritage, his final-round 64 was the low score for the day.
- What not to like: Kuchar hasn’t been the dependable pick that he’s been for years. Already this season he’s missed four cuts – he only missed five in the previous four years combined.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Kuchar missed the cut in five of his first seven starts at the Valero Texas Open, but since then has made five straight. His best finish came way back in 2001 when he finished 2nd to Justin Leonard. His only other top-10 came in 2014 when he finished T-4 – his best finish at the Oaks Course. Last year he finished T-42.
- Last event: Kuchar was hanging around the bottom of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage heading into Sunday. Then he went on a birdie binge, carding six, along with an eagle, on his way to a round of 64. He rocketed up from 73rd into a tie for 11th.
- World Golf Ranking: 49
- What to like: Hoffman is the defending champ at the Valero Texas Open and he has a remarkable record in the event. Hoffman had a very strong showing at the Masters (T-22), though he finished on a disappointing note. He led after the first and second rounds thanks to an opening-round 65 before struggling in the final round. Two of the four starts prior to the Masters resulted in top-4 finishes for Hoffman, including a runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
- What not to like: Hoffman seemed to melt under the Sunday pressure at Augusta, carding a final-round 78. He followed that up with a missed cut last week at the RBC Heritage.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Hoffman has finished 13th or better an impressive nine times in 10 starts at the Valero Texas Open. In the last six years, Hoffman has a T-3, T-2 and of course his victory last year.
- Last event: Hoffman missed the cut by five strokes at last week’s RBC Heritage, carding a pair of 73s.
- World Golf Ranking: 15
- What to like: Reed is the top-ranked player in the field, so he obviously has the talent to win this week. He also is coming off a runner-up finish at last year’s Valero Texas Open thanks to a first-round 65. He ranked 9th in the field in Driving Distance and 2nd in Total Putts at last year’s event.
- What not to like: Reed has just one top-10 this season, and he is coming off consecutive missed cuts.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Reed finished runner-up last year in his third career start at the Valero Texas Open. His opening-round 65 last year put him near the top of the leaderboard, and he finished each round no lower than 5th.
- Last event: Reed struggled at Augusta National two weeks ago, missing the cut by three shots.
- World Golf Ranking: 28
- What to like: Moore has made 10 of 11 cuts in 2016-17, with five resulting in top 20s. He finished T-3 at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Maui and earned his second top-10 of the year with a T-9 at the Masters.
- What not to like: Moore was struggling entering the Masters two weeks ago, finding his way inside the top 20 just once in the six prior starts.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Moore finished in the top 10 in his only start at the Valero Texas Open, earning a T-8 in 2012.
- Last event: Moore had a great week at Augusta National, finishing T-9 after firing a pair of 69s on Friday and Saturday. The T-9 matched Moore’s best finish in a major (2006 PGA Championship) and his first top-10 in a major since the 2009 U.S. Open.
- World Golf Ranking: 24
- What to like: Koepka looks like he might be getting his season turned around after a slow start. After missing four of six cuts in February and March, the former Florida St All-American finished 9th at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and 11th at the Masters. If Koepka has his normal form, he might be the most talented player in the field.
- What not to like: Statistically, 2016-17 has not been a good year for Koepka. His ball striking is nowhere near what it’s been, as he ranks 109th or worse in the following Strokes Gained categories: Total (109th), Tee-to-Green (166th) and Approach-the-Green (202nd).
- At The Valero Texas Open: Koepka finished T-36 in his debut at the Valero Texas Open in 2014, but missed the cut last year.
- Last event: Koepka collected his sixth top-20 in his last seven major starts with his T-11 at the Masters two weeks ago. He improved his score each round, finishing with a 69 on Sunday.
Next in Line
These players are not dominant favourites, but they are also most definitely not anyone you should sleep on. Everyone “next in line” has plenty of skills to win the 2017 Valero Texas Open.
- World Golf Ranking: 25
- What to like: Walker is the hometown favorite when the PGA Tour stops in the Alamo City, as he lives less than an hour from TPC-San Antonio. He made his fans very happy on a couple of occasions by winning in 2015 and finishing T-3 in 2010. The 2016 PGA Champion has a string of seven straight made cuts on the PGA Tour going right now.
- What not to like: Walker’s full swing seems to be off. He ranks 105th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 182nd in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Walker won his hometown tournament in 2015, defeating Jordan Spieth by four shots after firing four rounds under par. No one else was closer than seven shots that year. On the down side, he’s missed the cut in three of his last six starts at TPC-San Antonio.
- Last event: Walker finished tied for 18th at the Masters two weeks ago, thanks largely in part to his putter. He led the field with the fewest number of putts on the tricky Augusta greens.
- World Golf Ranking: 57
- What to like: Steele has two career PGA Tour victories – his first came at the Valero Texas Open in 2011, and his last came this season at the Safeway Open. His Safeway win was the first of three top-6 finishes he’s accumulated in 2016-17.
- What not to like: Steele is enjoying an excellent season, making the cut in all 12 events he’s played this year, but his putter has not been the reason. He ranks 100th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting in 2016-17.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Steele has finished in the top 13 in four of the last six years, highlighted by his victory in 2011. He also has a T-4 and a T-8 to his credit.
- Last event: Steele finished T-27 at the Masters two weeks ago – his first made cut at Augusta in two starts there. Steele finished his week strong, carding a 69 on Sunday.
- World Golf Ranking: 41
- What to like: Chappell, the 2008 NCAA individual champion at UCLA, has had strong results at the Valero Texas Open. He’s also coming off his best performance of the season with his performance at Augusta. His T-7 finish was his first top-10 of 2016-17.
- What not to like: Chappell’s performance at the Masters wasn’t surprising because of his talent, but because he has struggled to build on a strong 2015-16. In his 11 starts prior to the Masters, Chappell hadn’t finished inside the top 30 once and he missed three cuts.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Chappell has a pair of top-4 finishes on his resume at the Valero Texas Open. He finished runner-up to Brendan Steele in 2011 and was in a group of five players that tied for 4th place last year.
- Last event: Chappell finished T-7 at the Masters – his best result since his major debut at 2011 U.S. Open when he finished T-3. He broke par three of the four days at Augusta National, with his best round coming on Sunday when he fired a 68.
- World Golf Ranking: 75
- What to like: Horschel has a pair of top-5 finishes this season, thanks in large part to his excellent iron play. The 2014 FedEx Cup champion is 6th on the PGA Tour in Greens in Regulation Percentage, hitting nearly 74% of greens in 2016-17.
- What not to like: Horschel has missed the cut in half of his last six events, including at last week’s RBC Heritage. He hasn’t won on Tour since his remarkable run during the 2014 FedEx Cup Playoffs.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Horschel has been a boom-or-bust proposition in his six career starts at the Valero Texas Open, and he’s trending in the positive direction the last several years. He has finished in the top 4 in three of the last four years, but he has two finishes in the 70s and a missed cut, as well.
- Last event: Horschel missed the cut by seven shots at the RBC Heritage after a rough round of 78 on Friday.
- World Golf Ranking: 46
- What to like: Hadwin made his 12th straight cut and earned his seventh top-25 finish of the season – already tying a career high – last week at the RBC Heritage. He ranks 11th on the PGA Tour in Total Strokes Gained and 16th in Scoring Average (69.948). He’s been remarkably consistent in 2016-17, which is why he ranks 5th in the FedEx Cup Points Standings.
- What not to like: Hadwin doesn’t do his best work off the tee or around the green. He ranks in the 70s on the PGA Tour in those two categories.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Hadwin missed the cut in 2015, his only start at the Valero Texas Open.
- Last event: Hadwin got himself into the mix at the RBC Heritage after a second-round 66. Solid rounds of 71 and 69 left him tied for 22nd.
- World Golf Ranking: 21
- What to like: Grace is coming of his best performance since he finished T-3 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge back in November with his T-11 at the RBC Heritage. Last year he put together two strong weeks between the Heritage and the Valero Texas Open, and he’ll be looking to do it again.
- What not to like: Grace’s statistics are not a something that produce a lot of confidence. In four of the main Strokes Gained categories – Around-the-Green, Putting, Tee-to-Green and Total Strokes – he ranks well into the hundreds and actually loses strokes to the field.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Last year, Grace extended his streak of playing the weekend at the Valero Texas Open to three, earning a T-9. That was his best finish in the event, to date.
- Last event: Grace entered last week as the defending champ at the RBC Heritage and acquitted himself very nicely again. He fired four rounds under par on his way to a T-11 finish.
- World Golf Ranking: 56
- What to like: Johnson’s long game hasn’t been what it’s been in the past, but his short game is still very strong. He ranks in the top-25 on the PGA Tour in both Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (20th) and Strokes Gained: Putting (21st).
- What not to like: Johnson has finished in the top-10 in just one of his last 15 stroke play events. The Iowa native has fallen 37 spots in the World Golf Rankings since last year’s Valero Texas Open.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Johnson won the event in his first try in 2008 when it was held at La Cantera Golf Club, thanks to an incredible weekend in which he fired rounds of 62 and 64 to come from the middle of the pack. Since then he has a T-6 and a T-20 in four more starts.
- Last event: Johnson couldn’t recover from an opening-round 77 at the Masters, missing the cut by a single shot. It was his second straight missed cut at Augusta.
Looking at the Longer Shots
These players are going to need to have an extraordinary day to earn the upset, but that’s why the odds on each of these golfers are so long. Longer shots do occasionally come through for the win, so don’t give up on these guys yet.
- World Golf Ranking: 102
- What to like: The former top-ranked amateur in the world earned the fourth top-10 of his rookie season with a T-3 at last week’s RBC Heritage. There have already been five first-time winners on the PGA Tour this season, and Schniederjans has the game to add his name to that list. It’s only a matter of time.
- What not to like: Schniederjans has had several strong outings this season, but hasn’t been able to string together consecutive weeks of top-20 finishes. His average finish after his first three top-10s on 2016-17 is 33rd
- At The Valero Texas Open: This will be the first time Schniederjans plays the Valero Texas Open.
- Last event: Schniederjans looked like he might be the one to earn his first career PGA Tour victory after a playing the front nine on Sunday in 5-under at last week’s RBC Heritage. Unfortunately for him, his rally bogged down on the back, carding no birdies and two bogeys to finish two shots behind eventual champ Wesley Bryan.
- World Golf Ranking: 85
- What to like: Summerhays definitely qualifies as a horse for the course this week, as his record at TPC San Antonio is excellent. He has three top-7 finishes in his last four starts. He’s 25-under-par during that stretch.
- What not to like: Since he finished 3rd at the PGA Championship and 11th at the Travelers in back-to-back weeks last season, it has been a real struggle for Summerhays. He’s finished in the top 25 just once in 17 starts and has missed the cut eight times.
- At The Valero Texas Open: Summerhays hasn’t finished worse than T-13 in the last four years. Three of those have resulted in top-7 finishes, including a runner-up result in 2014.
- Last event: Outside of his second-round 66, Summerhays didn’t get much going at the RBC Heritage last week. He finished at even par, in a tie for 59th.
- World Golf Ranking: 396
- What to like: Luck, ranked as the top amateur in the world, will be making his first professional start this week. The last four No. 1 ranked amateurs all made the cut in their professional debut, averaging a 25th place finish. Luck certainly has a lot of talent if he can handle the new stage.
- What not to like: Luck is playing in just his 8th professional tour event this week, and he’s only finished inside the top 40 once thus far. His two starts on the PGA Tour have resulted in a DQ and a t-46.
- At The Valero Texas Open: This will be Luck’s first time playing the Valero Texas Open.
- Last event: Luck made the cut in his first career major appearance when he finished T-46 at the Masters two weeks ago. He had the rare distinction of an amateur that earned his way to Augusta twice in the same year. His wins at the U.S. Amateur and the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships both earned him a spot.
Past winners in the field: Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker, Steven Bowditch, Martin Laird, Ben Curtis, Brendan Steele, Justin Leonard (3), Zach Johnson (2), Bob Estes
Major winners in the field: Keegan Bradley, Angel Cabrera, Stewart Cink, Retief Goosen (2), Zach Johnson (2), Justin Leonard, Graeme McDowell, Geoff Ogilvy, Jimmy Walker
Some other names to consider: Bryson DeChambeau, Luke Donald, Tony Finau, J.B. Holmes, Soren Kjeldson, Si Woo Kim, Chris Kirk, Martin Laird, Kevin Na, Ryan Palmer, Scott Piercy, D.A. Points, Ian Poulter, Jhonattan Vegas