Valero Texas Open Preview – Picks to Win
Date: April 19-22, 2018
Course: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks) – San Antonio, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
It hasnt exactly been golf weather over much of the country recently but we can still watch the action from where the weather has been warm. The PGA Tour marches back to Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open. The San Antonio staple has been on the Tour schedule for nearly 100 years, making it one of the oldest championships in the states. TPC San Antonio jumped on as the host course in 2010 after Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia collaborated on the Oaks course. Garcia is in attendance this week, as is defending champion Kevin Chappell. This field may be missing a good chunk of the top names on Tour but the mid portion of this field is actually quite deep with Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley all in action. Beau Hossler nearly won in Houston and will try his hand in San Antonio with plenty of local support. There is a bit of a wait until the next Major but with the Players Championship and the Memorial looming, this is the time of year where players need to earn those FedEx points and nab those exemptions to those big upcoming events.
TPC San Antonio is a multi-course complex but the Oaks is the toughest test and has been quite difficult by Tour standards with winning totals most often in the 8-to-12 under range. Adam Scott cracked the Tournament record of 14-under in the very first edition at San Antonio and several players have found their way to rounds of 65 but the scoring pace has been moderate at best. The difficulty comes for those who miss the fairways off the tee. Natural scrub grasses and overgrown areas were left specifically to collect wayward drives. There are plenty of trees as well and players that find themselves in bad spots off the tee will struggle to make par. The course is rather long as well, measuring 7,430 yards and playing to a par of 72. The front nine is nearly 3,800 yards long with two 600-yard par-5s. That length requirement, coupled with the need to be accurate off the tee really makes the Oaks one of the toughest overall driving tests on Tour. Past winners like Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker and Kevin Chappell gained strokes over the field by being both long and straight. There is almost no way to win here if you are crooked off the tee and clubbing down to hit the fairways will leave long approaches.
Recommended Picks to Win
Each week, we take a look at the Sportsbooks and highlight the best values on the board. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that are popular at the various golf betting outlets. Here are our picks to win the 2018 Valero Texas Open.
Charley Hoffman (20 to 1 odds to win)
It is hard to find a better Valero record since the event moved to San Antonio. Since 2010, Hoffman has three finishes between 11th and 13th, a third, a second and a win in 2016. He has been playing well this season and ran 12th at the Masters where few really put together a solid overall week. There are literally no weaknesses on his stat sheet. Nothing really hits the elite level in any single category but everything that predicts scoring is jammed in the 40-60 ranks on Tour. Jack of all trades, master of none, I guess. That level of diversity is good at tough tracks as players will need a bit of everything at some point during the week. Charley is long enough to tackle the par-5 opportunities and is one of the best on Tour in hitting those par-5s in two. He is playing well and is returning to a place of comfort. He should be a factor again.
Brandt Snedeker (35 to 1)
Snedeker lacks the raw power to really challenge the Oaks but he is still a master at hitting the fairways. From that position in the short stuff, Sneds should still be able to hit plenty of greens and he then properly utilize a top-50 putter. Brandt hasnt been lighting it up as his birdie average is just 150th but his scoring average is about 90 spots better than that as he almost never makes the big mistake. He ranks 12th in scrambling so that putter has been working in the clutch and the ability to save par in tough scoring environments is just as important as netting those birdies. Snedeker has just two previous Valero starts but T25 and T4 finishes shows he has a good feel for the Oaks. A 64 at Harbour Town was a good sign of things to come as well.
Jhonattan Vegas (80 to 1)
No one understands Texas golf like native Texans. Jhonny V. is Venezuelan but spent his collegiate career as a Longhorn and that regional experience finds a way to pay off for many players. Vegas averages nearly 300 yards off the tee and he should be able to take on the length at the Oaks and still have reasonable approach opportunities. He is 42nd in approach metrics so Vegas is making the most of his tee-to-green chances. The putter has been below average for most of the season and that has sunk Jhonnys scoring marks. He has only missed two cuts on the season so he has the game to hang around even with that balky putter. Considering he should be in good shape elsewhere, you can take a chance that Vegas will have a hot week on the greens. He will threaten the top if he does.
Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with 5Dimes for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Matt Kuchar v. Sergio Garcia (pick to win: Garcia)
It is hard to shake the image of Garcia carding a 13 on the 15th at the Masters en route to an opening round 81 and a missed cut in his title defense. That really has been the only blemish for Sergio and we should forget that Augusta blip given he has been ninth or better in his other three US starts this season. Kuchar has been solid recently but has shown that he is still having a hard time putting it together for four days. Matt was on the first page at Harbour Town but faded over the weekend. He just isnt sharp enough to take down Sergio at a course that Garcia helped design. Sergio has limited stats in 2018 but has an edge on Kuchar in distance and the overall tee-to-green metrics. Kuch is the better putter and tends to be a bit less mistake prone but it is going to be tough to match Sergio at a shot makers course. Any kind of plus putting performance will have Garcia fighting for a win and I think Kuchar is again destined for a 12-18 kind of finish. Good, but not good enough.
Kevin Chappell v. Ryan Moore (pick to win: Moore)
Chappell has the confidence edge as he returns to the site of his last PGA win but Moore has had the better of this pairing in the last few weeks. Chappell has missed the last two cuts while Moore has been comfortably ahead in those same weeks. Chappell turned in a very nice T7 at the Palmer but Moore snuck out a win there as well with a T5. Kevin is certainly the longer player of the two but Ryan is much more accurate and brings the better putter. Chappell has proved he can win here but he is more mistake prone and that is usually not a good thing at TPC San Antonio. Moore actually makes fewer birdies but is 40 spots better than Chappell in scoring average due to his no-mistakes approach. On a tough course, take the grinder. Moore seems a near lock to make the cut while Chappells 2018 record suggests he may struggle to see the weekend.
Good luck and good golf!