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  • Writer's pictureDanny Speck

Valero Texas Open preview and betting tips 2023

Jordan Spieth

Valero Texas Open Golf Tips

2pts ew Chris Kirk 33/1 (8)

2pts ew Ryan Fox 45/1 (8)

1.5pts ew Ben An 80/1 (8)

0.75pt ew Ben Martin 100/1 (6)

0.5pt ew Erik Van Rooyen 110/1 (8)

0.5pt ew Matthias Schwab 150/1 (8)

Just over a week to go until the most anticipated golf tournament of the year, The Masters. But first we arrive in San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. As usual the host course is TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course), a 7,435 yard par 72 and it has played host to this event since 2010. Obviously with it being the week before The Masters and the week after an elevated event, the WGC Match Play, the field is quite average with the highest ranked player in the field being world number 17 Tyrrell Hatton. Other players in the field include Hideki Matsuyama, Si Woo Kim, Francesco Molinari and Rickie Fowler, who needs a good week to qualify for the first major of the year the week after. Sometimes with these type of events, where the field isn’t that strong, there’s definitely the opportunity for a player at a big price to come through and win the event. JJ Spaun won the event last year on -13, two strokes ahead of Matt Jones and Matt Kuchar. Spaun was around a 200/1 shot before the tournament started last year which does back up the point of fancying outsiders.

Key Stats Analysis

Looking back at previous renewals of the Valero Texas Open, we notice that all of the last five winners of this event have ranked inside the top-5 for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. To be honest, that’s just standard for the majority of PGA Tour events so I’ll also point out that four of the last five winners have ranked inside the top-4 for SG: Approach. Corey Conners and Andrew Landry ranked 1st on approach whereas JJ Spaun ranked 23rd last year but he gained strokes in every category which made up for it. Good iron play seems to be more important this week than many others. Looking at the GIR (greens in regulation) numbers, Spaun ranked 12th, Conners ranked 1st, Landry ranked 3rd, Chappell ranked 3rd and Jordan Spieth somehow ranked 55th but still won by two shots!

Golf Tips Checker Packages

Chris Kirk 33/1

First man in my team this week is world number 34 and Honda Classic champion Chris Kirk. Kirk won his first tournament in nearly eight years when winning the Honda Classic back in February. It was a ball striking masterclass as he gained over nine strokes tee-to-green and if he can replicate that this week, it will put him in a great position come the end of the week. Kirk has played at TPC San Antonio eight times and has posted three top-10s, good course form and also experience at the course are two ticks in his box. When you take a closer look at the market though and see some of the players who are shorter than him, Davis Riley (25/1), Matt Kuchar (28/1), Taylor Montgomery (25/1). Two of those are winless on the PGA Tour and Kuchar hasn’t won in over four years. I just think Kirk represents solid value at 33/1 and he has to be backed this week.

Ryan Fox 45/1

Davis Riley was tempting having won on this course on the Korn Ferry Tour but instead I opted for the ever improving kiwi Ryan Fox. The 36-year-old has gone from strength to strength since winning the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in February 2022. After that, he was the form player on the DP World Tour positing eight top-10s and also winning again in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October. With the incredible leap in the world rankings he has made over the last year, Fox now holds enough status to qualify for several PGA Tour events. “It’s going to be a cool year. I’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose. I can get some experience playing the tournaments that I grew up watching like Bay Hill and The Players. If it works great, if it doesn’t then I’ve got a second chance.” This quote is from November 2022 and It’s clear to me the attitude Fox is taking. In his two PGA Tour starts, he finished 14th at Bay Hill and 27th at Sawgrass, two really good efforts. He’s making his debut which is a slight disadvantage but we’ve seen players play well here on debut like when Matt Wallace finished third in 2021. Let’s hope Fox can do something similar at 45/1.

Ben An 80/1

Ben An had to be included in my staking plan this week at quotes of 80/1. An was playing on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, he managed a win in the LECOM Suncoast Classic and a runner up finish a few weeks later secured his return to the PGA Tour for this season. On his first start back, he finished a very impressive 4th in the Fortinet Championship and has only missed two cuts this season. An finished 7th in the Valero Texas Open in 2019 so has solid course form credentials. He put up some decent numbers at Sawgrass a few weeks ago gaining strokes on approach and putting, if he can start driving the ball a bit better he’ll have a great chance of contending and at 80/1, he’s a generous price.

Ben Martin 100/1

The relatively in-form Ben Martin is a tempting prospect this week, having gone off a general 28/1 shot in Puntacana last week, I am surprised to see quotes of 100/1 on offer this week after finishing top-10 in the Dominican Republic. Martin is on a good run at the moment, five cuts made in a row on the PGA Tour including two top-10s and a T13. Admittedly his results in this event haven’t been great but again he’s played here five times and only missed one cut. Quickly glancing at the strokes gained data and we see that Martin is gaining strokes in most departments recently, when finishing 5th in the Honda Classic he was one of the most all rounded players in the field. He’s enjoying a much better season and at 100/1, he certainly has good each way claims.

Erik van Rooyen 110/1

Another player who teed it up in Puntacana last week and again, the price is just simply too big. Last week 33/1, made the cut but finished 56th which isn’t too promising but it was his debut there. This week he’s three times bigger and more which is just too big of a jump in my eyes. Prior to Puntacana, van Rooyen finished top-10 at the Valspar where he ranked 2nd in the field on SG: Approach. Similar to this, going back to January he finished 6th at the AMEX and ranked 1st SG: T2G so his game has been trending in the right direction all year. Let’s not forget van Rooyen was once a top-50 player in the world and definitely has the upside to win an event like this. Any odds of 100/1 and bigger just simply can’t be ignored.

Matthias Schwab 150/1

The final player to make my staking plan this week is the Austrian Matthias Schwab who managed to finish 8th here on debut in last year’s renewal and ranked 13th T2G. Schwab isn’t enjoying the best of seasons it must be said but his best finish came last week in the Dominican Republic when finishing 8th and it could be the result he needs to kickstart his season. We don’t have any strokes gained data from last week but Schwab did hit 72% of greens and 82% of fairways so he clearly found something. Coming back to a course he played really well at last year could just be the spark he needs to put a run together.

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