The Valero Texas Open tees off for its 100th edition this week on the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas.
The event has been held in the San Antonio area since its inception and has been staged at TPC San Antonio since 2010. It has been held the week before the Masters since 2013, allowing golfers one last chance to qualify for Augusta (like Corey Conners did when he won as a Monday qualifier in 2019).
Arnold Palmer and Justin Leonard are the only three-time winners of this event, and several have two victories, including Sam Snead, Ben Crenshaw, and Zach Johnson, who was the most recent to do it by winning back-to-back in 2008-09.
Tommy Armour III set the PGA Tour scoring record with a 254 at this event in 2003 at La Cantera Golf Club. Conners holds the record at TPC San Antonio with a 20-under 268. Jordan Spieth is the defending champion, as he defeated Charley Hoffman in a playoff here last year. Hoffman has finished runner-up in the last two editions of this tournament.
The Oaks Course was designed by Greg Norman (with an assist to Sergio Garcia) and opened in 2010. It’s a par-72, 7,494-yard course. Some courses have wide fairways, where golfers can choose their path to the green, whereas others are narrower and lined with trees. The 18th hole provides an interesting challenge to those finishing up their round, as it’s a long par 5 that clocks in at 591 yards.
Opted to skip last week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event in order to use this weekend as his warmup for the Masters instead. He hasn’t played here since 2013, but he was a runner-up here in his only crack at TPC San Antonio. Rory McIlroy was 33rd at The Players Championship but prior to that was 13th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, 10th at Riviera, and won The CJ Cup last fall.
Started to have a career resurgence last February, and it culminated with a win in this event last year. Outside of a runner-up finish at Pebble Beach last month, he’s had middling results at best this season, but Jordan Spieth is typically strong at certain courses, and TPC San Antonio is one of them. In addition to the win here last year, he was second in 2015 and 10th in 2014.
Defending Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is at +1500 with 2019 champ Corey Conners and Abraham Ancer. Matsuyama—a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season—withdrew from The Players Championship with an ailing back, so this event is serving more as a test for him before next week’s Masters, so it may not be too wise to expect him to be in contention for the win.
Conners, however, is playing some good golf. He was 5-0-0 in last week’s Match Play event before falling in the semifinals to Kevin Kisner. He did rally to win the third-place match against Dustin Johnson. Conners is also the record-holder at this course from his win in 2019. Last week was Conners’ first top-10 finish of the season, but that win and his history here gives him a leg up on the competition.
Ancer hasn’t missed a cut here in four tries but hasn’t scored higher than 23rd, which was his finishing position last year. Ancer reached the quarterfinals of the Match Play tournament last week but prior to that, he hasn’t finished higher than 33rd in 2022.
Bryson DeChambeau is still coming back from injury, playing this week to tune-up for the Masters after not making it out of group play last week. Even though he’s at +2000, similar to Matsuyama, we’re not sure he will be contending this weekend.
Maverick McNealy, on the other hand, is also at +2000 and is a chic pick for this week. He didn’t lose a match in group play last week but failed to advance to the knockout rounds via a playoff. He’s also desperate for a good outing because he hasn’t qualified for the Masters yet. He finished runner-up at the Fortinet Championship to open the 2021-22 season and missed the cut in his next event, the Shriners Children’s Open. Since then, he’s 10-for-10 in made cuts with a best finish of seventh at The Genesis Invitational in that span.
Adam Hadwin (+3000) finished the Florida swing strong with back-to-back top 10s at The Players Championship and Valspar Championship. Chris Kirk (+3000) has three top-10 finishes here and also had a seventh at The Honda Classic and fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational over the past month.
Is in a slump but has finished second here in his last two tries in the Valero Texas Open, and his success doesn’t end there. A winner here in 2016, he also has a third-place finish among and 11-for-11 record here.
Is here from the DP World Tour and the left-hander has three-straight top-15 finishes worldwide and is fresh after not reaching the knockout round in last week’s Match Play.
Speaking of European tour pros, Rasmus Hojgaard comes in off a sixth-place finish at the Corales Puntacana Championship last week, which was his eighth-straight made cut worldwide.
Is looking to qualify for the Masters and has a solid history here, finishing in the top 10 in the last two Valero Texas Opens. He was one of the best ball strikers at The Players Championship (finishing 22nd) and followed that up with a seventh-place effort at Innisbrook two weeks ago.
With so many big names in the tournament but unlikely to contend for the win (Matsuyama, Ancer, and DeChambeau), and McIlroy more likely to be working on his game for the Masters, we like Spieth among the top favorites. Hadwin and Kirk are also good plays, and Hoffman and Streelman are the best bets among the longshots.
|GOLFERS||ODDS TO WIN 2022 VALERO TEXAS OPEN|
|Si Woo Kim||+3000|
|Adam Hadwin / Chris Kirk||+3000|
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