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DraftKings Picks for The Valero Texas Open 2021

One more week until Masters week! First, the PGA Tour gives us another week in the Lone Star state with world #1, Dustin Johnson, headlining the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.  Let’s get you set to see some green screens on DraftKings this weekend. 

What's up golf addicts! AC here, checking in week to week to provide a quick preview of the upcoming PGA Tour event. I’ll give you the lowdown on the course, the players, some key stats, and our favorite DraftKings picks for the week. 

Congrats to all the Billy Horschel and Joel Dahmen backers last week. Horschel won his first event in four years while also claiming his largest payday ever at the World Golf Championships - Dell Technologies Match Play. Just before Billy Ho got the better of homegrown Texas local, Scottie Scheffler, Dahmen was putting in work in the Dominican Republic. Joel and his awesome caddie, Geno, won their first PGA event at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

While the attention and excitement is starting to shift towards The Masters, one spot is still up for grabs and an opportunity for some final tuneups at the Valero Texas Open this week. Though the top 50 official world golf rankings cutoff has now passed, the winner of this event will get the final spot in The Masters. 

Unfortunately, Covid-19 cancelled the 2020 stop so the 2019 champion, my fellow Canadian, Corey Conners, who Monday qualified and successfully parlayed that into his first PGA Tour win, postponing his honeymoon for a spot at Augusta National, had to wait to defend his title.

After an early exit from the WGC Match Play event, DJ decided to stay in Texas for the week. Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau, Abraham Ancer, Scheffler, Si Woo Kim, Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer, Lanto Griffin, Erik Van Rooyen, Adam Long, Matt Wallace, Sebastian Munoz, and Bernd Wiesberger are the other top ranked players playing back to back weeks. 

The field for the Valero Texas Open is capped at 144. The Corales event had three players make the top ten that were not already qualified (Rafael Campos, Ben Martin, Greyson Sigg) who will be joined by four Monday qualifiers.

TPC San Antonio Course Breakdown

The AT&T Oaks course at TPC San Antonio will host the PGA event this week. Designed by Greg Norman in 2010, the 7,500 par 72 has hosted the event since 2012. Though the course is mostly Bermudagrass tee to green, due to the climate this time of the year the course has been overseeded. The greens will be overseeded with Poa while the fairways and rough are overseeded by perennial ryegrass and chewing fescue.

Looking at the course breakdown through Fantasy National we can see where the most strokes are typically gained for players finishing in the top 10. It is no surprise that approach and ball striking are super important. Putting is also a key to victory at TPC San Antonio. Par 5 scoring and par 4s ranging from 400-450 yards also yield important strokes. Both driving accuracy and greens in regulation here are well below the tour average while driving distance can be a huge advantage with rough that tends to be on the lower side. As usual, my model consists of a healthy dose Fantasy National’s opps gained stat.

Conners got to -20 in 2019 and Andrew Landry got close to that number the year before. Typical winning scores have been around the low double digits due mostly to the course’s main defense; the wind. It’s early in the forecast but the wind will be a factor this week.

The Picks & Fades

Each week I will give you my plays and a fade from each DraftKings salary range.

$9k+: 

DB: Play - Corey Conners | Fade - Matt Kuchar

Pat: Play - Jordan Spieth | Fade - Tony Finau

AC: Play - Tony Finau, Corey Conners, Cameron Tringale | Fade - Matt Kuchar

This range is all about clubbing the ball for me so I am just going to take my three best. Finau has been pretty much superb in 2021 and this could be the scene of his first real win. Hard to pass up on my Canadian brother, Corey Conners. Pretty much the best ball striker on tour and the putting is starting to get okay, which should be very scary to his competitors. Tringale is another great striker of the golf ball. Second in my model which includes top fives in T2G, BoB gained, and par 5 scoring. Kuchar has no business being up in this range and just because he had a couple good rounds at the WGC doesn’t mean he is good again. He’s also 92nd in my model. Barf.

$8k:

DB: Play - Chris Kirk | Fade - Adam Hadwin

Pat: Play - Si Woo Kim | Fade - Cam Davis

AC: Play - Cameron Davis, Chris Kirk | Fade - Zach Johnson

My thoughts this week were to play only guys that do not have a spot in The Masters next week. Enter Cameron Davis and Chris Kirk. Both strike the golf ball pure and maybe give Kirk the edge in recent form but Davis just needs to find a spark around and on the greens to secure a big pay cheque on Sunday. The fade on ZJ is more of an Augusta fade. ZJ can play stellar golf whenever but his ball striking hasn't been the greatest and his attention should be focused more east.

$7k:

DB: Play - Ryan Moore | Fade - Gary Woodland

Pat: Play - Charles Howell III | Fade - Danny Willett

AC: Play - Sam Ryder, John Huh, Doug Ghim | Fade - Bernd Wiesberger

All three of these guys are clumped together in the $7k range and I have really liked what we’ve seen from each of them. Ryder is coming in off of back to back top 10s including a T2 last week at Corales. Huh’s form has been decent as well with five top 20s in the last six months and is third in 400-450 par 4 scoring which a third of the holes played this week fall into. It is probably not a shock to see Ghim on this list again. He’s been a staple for me this season and his results have been super. If it wasn’t for a few Sunday collapses his price would be way higher but he is still 15th in DraftKings scoring in this field since November 2020. Bernd is another Augusta fade. He really hasn’t been impressive on this side of the pond and he’s 108th in Dk scoring.

$6k: 

DB: Play - Roger Sloan, Graeme McDowell, Vincent Whaley

Pat: Play - Roger Sloan, Will Gordon, Adam Schenk

AC: Play - Kevin Chappell, Roger Sloan, Bo Hoag

Chappell is not going to jump off the page to anyone and everyone reading this likely has already raised an eyebrow because his recent stats have not been great. He has however, won this event in 2017 and has another top five as well. He finished 13th at Honda gaining strokes in all of the right places and should be very low owned. Sloan, another Canadian bro does jump off the page stats-wise and also has three straight top 25s. Hoag is another of the $6k stat darlings in my models this week. He comes in 18th overall with top 10s in Off the Tee and par 5 scoring.

THE INS & OUTS

OUT: DUSTIN JOHNSON, Jerry Kelly, Brian Harman, Maverick McNealy

IN: Ryan Brehm (alt), Rhein Gibson (alt), Nick Watney (sponsor), Tim Wilkinson

In Via top 10 @ Corales - Rafael Campos, Ben Martin, Greyson Sigg

Four Monday Qs: 

66 (-6)

Sam Fidone (1 eagle, 6 birdies, 2 bogeys)

Patrick Grimes (2 eagles, 5 birdies, 3 bogeys)

Tain Lee (2 eagles, 4 birdies, 2 bogeys)

67 (-5; via 2-way playoff)

J.J. Killeen (bogey-free, 5 birdies)

Field set at 144

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