Golf Preview: Valero Texas Open

The path to the Masters runs through the Lone Star state

golf preview golf betting preview Valero Texas Open

The US PGA tour stops in Texas on the way to the famed US Masters at Augusta next week. Our golf betting preview will lead you in the right direction if you’re looking to have a punt.

Just the one tournament to get our teeth stuck into, the VALERO TEXAS OPEN. Let’s get stuck into it:

The Tournament

One of the older events on the schedule, the Texas Open has been played for the best part of a century, dating back to 1922. It has moved a bit on the rota, but now finds itself staged around April/May each year.

However falling around the time of the US Masters means that it tends to struggle to attract the really big names, who are either preparing for Augusta, or putting their feet-up after it (this year it’s the former).

The Course

Since 2010 the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio has been the host venue. The layout is a Greg Norman design stretching 7,433 yards, played as a par 72.

The set-up is tough, but not too tough, with local windy conditions being one of the course’s main defences… and as recent scoring would suggest, this won’t be a breeze for the pros with several winning scores in recent years have been just 8 or 9-under-par.

The Records

72-Hole Record

254, Tommy Armour (2003)

18-Hole Record

63, Matt Every (2010)

Past Winners

Andrew Landry (2018), Kevin Chappell (2017), Charley Hoffman (2016), Jimmy Walker (2015), Steven Bowditch (2014).

The Field

A full field for this PGA Tour event with 150+ starters. Rickie Fowler is the 10/1 market leader.

The Weather

Not a great week with the threat of rain on each of the four days (a high of 90% on Saturday), and even the odd thunderstorm thrown in for good measure. Temperatures will be around the low 80s. Wind speeds though will be light, barely registering over 10mph.

The Bets

Billy Horschel each-way at $21 or better.

It’s impossible to make the case that either of the market leaders represent good value this week. Fowler and Finau are both great players, and can go well, but each one fails to deserve sub-16/1 marks, even in this field. Horschel, although only slightly bigger in the betting, is a much better prospect – both of playing well this week and landing the odds. His record at TPC San Antonio is good, registering three placed efforts in recent years (the latest being 2016) and he was again on the premises 12 months ago (finished 11th). He plays well in Texas, comes here on the back of a long series of made cuts and as a 5-time PGA Tour winner he shouldn’t feel any pressure in this week’s line-up. I don’t see the 22/1 as a huge price, but it’s certainly backable.

Jim Furyk each-way at $26 or better.

Regarded as something of a veteran these days, Furyk retains a very competitive edge, as seen by his recent 2nd at the Players Championship. Add in a Top 10 at the Honda, 18th at the Valspar Championship and a run to the last 16 at the Match Play, Furyk’s game looks in good shape. A good solid all-round player he should cope well with the demands of this week’s set-up. He was 26th last year, and boasts a 6th place in 2014, 3rd in 2013. Multiple winner, playing well, Furyk has every reason to fancy his chances this week. And with a lot of big names missing, and the field looking pretty moderate, he should go close IMO.

Bud Cauley each-way at $71 or better.

Cauley had a horrific car accident about 10 months ago in which he broke his leg and several other bones in his body. It took a while for him to find his form after a long lay off but he’s managed to put in some solid results in 2019. He finished 13th at the Farmers Insurance and 12th at the Honda Classic – two tough fields. His record at San Antonio Oaks is good having finished 18th on debut and 10th last year. His overall record in Texas is excellent with two Top 5’s (both at the Byron Nelson) to go along with his 10th place finish here last year. At around 80/1 I think Cauley is worth backing to continue his fine Texas form.

Nick Taylor each-way at $81 or better.

Taylor has found a high level of consistency in recent weeks. He’s finished no worse than 33rd in his last five starts with 16th at the Players being his best effort. Last time out at the Valspar he played superbly until Sunday – where a 75 saw him slip down the leaderboard to 24th. His ball-striking has been impressive lately ranking highly in the Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green categories. He was 2nd in Greens-In-Regulation at the AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach and 3rd in Greens-In-Regulation at the Players. His San Antonio Oaks form is solid with two Top 25’s from three starts here. He’s playing well enough to compete anywhere right now and if he gets the putter hot he’ll be a real danger this week.

Corey Conners each-way at $151 or better.

After closely watching him these past few weeks, I believe Conners is a man to back at the tougher venues, as his putting woes make him unlikely to thrive when the winning score is mega-low. His current form looks uninspiring, but at the Players, where he finished 41st, he actually played great, ranking in the Top 10 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green. His putting however was awful, which unfortunately is the case with him far too often. But I still think he’s worth a small bet in a pre-Major week where anything can happen. The average winning score at San Antonio Oaks is around 12 or 13-under-par, which means Conners should be more suited to the test this week. Conners is 66th in the FedEx Cup, but ranks 19th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee and 27th in Strokes Gained: Approach, which goes to show how good his long game is. He finished 26th here on debut and despite missing the cut last week at the birdie-fest in the Dominican Republic I think he’ll go well the his week at a much tougher San Antonio Oaks. At these prices he has to be backed.

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