This week the tour heads to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. This is generally a weaker field event and this year the field is weaker than usual as it falls after the Masters in the schedule and only a couple of weeks before the Players. TPC San Antonio, the host venue, is also known as being a tough course and the weather here can be extreme and hard to predict (more on that below). Overall, this should be a fun week for DFS play on DraftKings however as a lot of lessor names can tend to pop up in an event like this and extra research can often pay huge dividends.
The Weather: It’s Texas in early spring so we can get anything from heavy 50 mph plus winds, to heavy T-Storms, to clear and sunny skies. The main issue is that the weather changes very fast in Texas too so predicting what happens will be hard. Winds are not supposed to be high for the week, although there is a chance of some bad weather (ie T-Storms) rolling through on Friday or Saturday which could cause some havoc. Make sure you check the weather Wednesday might as this tournament as seen huge draw biases form in the past.
A Weaker Field: Let’s not dance around the subject, the field doesn’t have a ton of great players in it. To me that means it’s a prime opportunity to build some decent stars and scrubs lineups as the field is so weak that if any of the top players show up in great form they could run away with things. Some players just generally play better in weaker fields too so that is something to consider. Either way, don’t be afraid to roster some of the lower level salaried players here as there is a big drop off after the top 20 players or so in terms of talent.
Ryan Moore ($10,200): Moore is easy to overlook given the high price tag and the course histories of some of the players above him. He’s now made four straight cuts in a row however, including a career best T9 at Augusta two weeks ago, and is obviously coming in with some momentum. Although he hasn’t played here since 2012, Moore’s only appearance resulted in a T8, so there while the history is limited it’s very positive as well. Most of Moore’s best finishes over a fine career have come in weaker field events like this and I won’t be shocked if he ends up being the best play of all the 10k and above players here.
Branden Grace ($10,000): Objectively, I feel like I could make a strong argument that Grace, who is the second highest ranked golfer in the field, should be the highest priced golfer in the field this week. He’s not though and comes in at $1,500 cheaper than Matt Kuchar. Grace’s play has picked up of late and a career best T27 at Augusta and a strong title defense last week shouldn’t go overlooked. This will be his third go-round at TPC San Antonio and a T30 from 2015 and T7 from last year suggest the course suits him just fine. Take advantage of the discount you’re getting on a world class player.
Kevin Chappell ($9,400): This will be a polarizing pick for many I’m sure as Chappell has gotten a huge price jump after his T7 at Augusta two weeks ago. I’m not shying away however as the California native has shown big improvement tee to green over his past four events and grades out well for me in many key areas this week. Still searching for his first win, this venue would be as good as any for Chappell to accomplish the feat at since he already has two top-five finishes to his credit here.
Byeong Hun-An ($8,500): An’s now made eight straight cuts on the season and it feels like he’s inching closer to another big week. A strong Masters finish should help him build confidence and the longer drawn out TPC San Antonio—which has some similarities to TPC Scottsdale; where he posted his only top ten on the year—should suit him just fine. I’m anticipating Benny being in the mix come Sunday, and he’s got plenty of upside this week regardless, at a super affordable price.
Others: Ryan Palmer, Adam Hadwin
Luke List ($7,600): List burned a lot of people last week but you had to respect his effort on Friday at least, as he fired a 67 to miss by only one. List has been excellent outside of last week’s debacle however and has played well at TPC San Antonio in his two visits here, including a T29 from last season. The bomber has killed par 5’s this season (fourth overall in par 5 scoring) which should help him handle the long par 5’s TPC San Antonio throws at the players this week. I’m giving Luke a chance at redemption here at a reduced price; if he bounces back a big finish in this weakened field is very likely.
Keegan Bradley ($7,600): A divisive figure for some, Bradley still ranks 33rd in strokes gained: tee to green on the season and 22nd in strokes gained: off the tee. He’s only played this event twice but his game has always been more suited to a tougher venue and the fact he finished T9 at TPC San Antonio on his first try is a certainly a good sign. Keegan put in a monster Friday just to make the cut last week at the Heritage and that, if anything, should give him real confidence heading into this tournament.
Cameron Smith ($7,300): Smith is good young player who has found a level of consistency this year that should make him a great target in a weaker field, like the one we’ll see this week. While he’s yet to post a top ten on the year Smith has made four of five cuts now and ranks inside the top 50 in both strokes gained: putting and tee to green, a sign of both his talent and ability to grind out made cuts at a lot of different venues. Australians as a group have done well at this venue in the past too and I won’t be shocked if we see Smith pop a little and perhaps post his first top ten of 2017.
JT Poston ($6,900): Poston has made six straight cuts now, a run which included a T17 at the Genesis Open and a T14 at the Valspar, but still doesn’t have full access to invitational events like last week. He should be motivated after some forced rest, and with good finishes at some other tough venues already, I’m not as worried about his lack of history here as I might be. Anything can happen, but he’s shaping up as one of the best sub-7k value plays pre-tournament this week.
Curtis Luck ($6,300): *write-up coming*
Others: Danny Lee, Harold Varner III
High-upside GPP Picks
Billy Horschel ($8,900): Not a play I’m admittedly super confident in but a player whose upside at this course I still respect (much like Luke Donald last week). Horschel is coming off a terrible Friday round at Hilton Head but after a week to recharge (his family just welcomed another child to the world as well) I think he can rebound nicely here. Horschel has always liked tougher tracks and is -13 with no rounds worse than par at TPC San Antonio over his last eight rounds played there. He’ll be very low-owned makes for the perfect gpp target this week.
Ryan Palmer ($8,600): Palmer is another player who hasn’t played great in recent weeks but comes with course history you have to respect. Palmer hasn’t missed a cut in his last five visits to TPC San Antonio and is -11 over his last eight rounds of play there. He hit the ball superbly last week as he was 4th in strokes gained: tee to green and comes in off his best finish of the year.
John Peterson ($6,900): My last pick involves a lot of narratives so hold on tight. Peterson admittedly went on a mini-bender in Vegas the week before the RBC Heritage which he semi-blamed for his missed cut there. He’s bounced back well from adversity this season (and in his career) as he’s yet to miss multiple cuts in a row in 2017. As a Texas native who finished a tidy T11 here on his last visit Peterson is the ultimate tournament play this week as most won’t bother to give him a look. While putting is an issue Peterson’s still ranked well in most tee to green stats all year and should be in line for a bounce back at one of his favorite venues.
Other: Matt Jones, Martin Flores
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Ryan Moore, Branden Grace, Kevin Chappell, Ryan Palmer, Byeong Hun-An, Adam Hadwin, Luke List, Keegan Bradley, Cameron Smith
– Curtis Luck, Billy Horschel, JT Poston, Danny Lee, Harold Varner III, John Peterson, Matt Jones, Martin Flores
Kevin Chappell 34-1
Byeong Hun An 55-1
Luke List 60-1
Danny Lee 100-1
Cameron Smith 110-1