2023 Valero Texas Open Odds, Picks: Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar Can Thrive In San Antonio

2023 Valero Texas Open Odds, Picks: Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar Can Thrive In San Antonio article feature image

Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Rickie Fowler

1As players and fans gear up for the Masters, the PGA Tour stays in Texas following the Match Play for the Valero Texas Open.

TPC San Antonio is a 7,494-yard par 72 and features Bermudagrass greens.  The main defense of the course is weather. The course can play pretty tough like we saw last year when J.J. Spaun won at -13.  If the wind stays dormant, expect the winner to be in the 20-under range.

There are 140 golfers in the field this week. The field is what you would expect this week, with many golfers sitting out prior to the Masters. The string of designated events in the early part of the season all but ensured that none of the world's top players would be playing this week.

Past Winners at TPC San Antonio

  • 2022: J.J. Spaun (-13)
  • 2021: Jordan Spieth (-18)
  • 2019: Corey Conners (-20)
  • 2018: Andrew Landry (-17)
  • 2017: Kevin Chappel (-12)
  • 2016: Charley Hoffman (-12)
  • 2015: Jimmy Walker (-11)

5 Key Stats For TPC San Antonio

Let's take a look at five key metrics at TPC San Antonio to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

1. Strokes Gained: Approach

Strokes Gained: Approach is the best measure of current form. With plenty on the line this week, golfers will be looking to either punch a ticket to Augusta or round into great form heading into the Masters, so this metric should tell us a pretty good story about where a player is heading to San Antonio.

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Rickie Fowler (+21.6) (+2200)
  2. Tyrrell Hatton (+17.5) (+1200)
  3. Eric Cole (+16.1) (+10000)
  4. Russell Knox (16.0) (+25000)
  5. Ben Martin  (14.1) (+8000)

2. Opportunities Gained

Scores at TPC San Antonio can get pretty low depending on the wind. If conditions are calm, it may turn into a bit of a birdie-fest. In that case, golfers who give themselves the most chances at birdies will be in the driver's seat.

Opportunities Gained Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Davis Riley (+22.8) (+2500)
  2. Corey Conners (+21.3) (+2000)
  3. Si Woo Kim (+19.1) (+2200)
  4. Ryan Palmer (+18.1) (+12500)
  5. Rickie Fowler (+17.1) (+2200)

3. Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee

Off-the-Tee is statistically more important at TPC San Antonio than Tour average. Spaun ranked 11th in SG: OTT last year. Prior to Jordan Spieth's victory in 2021, the previous four winners of the Valero Texas Open had ranked eighth, fourth, ninth and fourth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee for the week. Hitting the ball long and straight will be a major factor this week.

SG: OTT over past 24 rounds:

  1. Hayden Buckley (+21.1) (+10000)
  2. Luke List (+18.9) (+10000)
  3. Brent Grant (+15.2) (+15000)
  4. Tyler Duncan (+14.6) (+12500)
  5. Corey Conners (+11.3) (+2000)

4. Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking

Ball-striking combines off-the-tee and approach. Golfers coming into the week striking it well from tee-to-green will be in a great spot to compete this week.

The rough can be penal at times around TPC San Antonio, so driving accuracy is important. At over 7,400 yards, the course isn't short so the driving distance aspect of this stat will be a factor, as well.

SG: BS Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Tyrrell Hatton (+32.1) (+1200)
  2. Luke List (+25.5) (+10000)
  3. Rickie Fowler (+23.4) (+2200)
  4. Corey Conners (+20.2) (+4000)
  5. Alex Smalley (+19.7) (+5500)

5. Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass)

While a hot putter is always tough to predict, it is still important to factor Bermuda grass putting into the stat model this week.

The four most recent winners (Landry, Conners, Spieth and Spaun) all prefer to putt on Bermudagrass statistically. A combination of iron play and putting were the recipe for these golfers en route to their respective victories.

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) over past 24 rounds

  1. Taylor Montgomery (+26.8) (+2500)
  2. Ben Taylor (+25.6) (+15000)
  3. Sam Ryder (+24.9) (+20000)
  4. Andrew Putnam (+23.0) (+5500)
  5. Brian Gay (+22.1) (+25000)

The Valero Texas Open Model Rankings

Below, I've compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (27%), SG:BS (20%), SG: OTT (20%), SG: Putting Bermudagrass (16%) and Opportunities Gained (16%)

  1. Tyrrell Hatton (+1200)
  2. Rickie Fowler (+2200)
  3. Si Woo Kim (+2200)
  4. Ben Martin (+8000)
  5. Davis Riley (+2500)
  6. Chris Kirk (+4000)
  7. Cameron Davis (+4500)
  8. Corey Conners (+2000)
  9. Ryan Palmer (+12500)
  10. Alex Smalley (+5500)

2022 Valero Texas Open Picks

Rickie Fowler (+2000, FanDuel)

Rickie Fowler heads to Texas in need of a victory to get himself into The Masters field next week. Luckily for him, he's one of the best players in the field.

While it would be an incredible story for Fowler to win his way into Augusta National, that isn't the reason I'm picking him to get it done. Fowler is playing some great golf this season. He finished 13th in one of the strongest fields of the season at The PLAYERS Championship and had looked strong at times at Match Play, including defeating Jon Rahm head-to-head.

He's gained strokes on approach in six consecutive events to start his 2023 season and ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach in his past 24 rounds. He also ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and fifth in Opportunities Gained in the field.

Fowler has some encouraging history at TPC San Antonio. He missed the cut last year but finished in 17th in both of his previous two starts at the course (2019 and 2021).

Everyone loves a feel-good story, but Fowler is the class of the field and has a real chance to win the event.

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Matt Kuchar (+3300, BetMGM)

Matt Kuchar is quietly having a pretty good 2023 season. While he has had some poor finishes, he's also had some encouraging ones. He's made six stroke play starts and two of them are top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place finish at Riviera.

He also advanced to the group stage in last week's WGC Dell Match Play, going unbeaten against Chris Kirk, Viktor Hovland and Si Woo Kim. He went on to lose in the round of 16 one down to Jason Day.

In terms of results, the 44-year-old couldn't have asked for a better week. He played well and should have gained some confidence without having to grind for 36 or 54 more holes over the weekend.

It's certainly possible that Kuchar played well at Austin Country Club last week because it's one of his favorite courses on Tour and the familiarity led him to success. However, the same can also be said for TPC San Antonio.  His last three trips to the course have resulted in 7th, 12th and second place finishes.

Kuchar can punch his ticket to Augusta National with a win at the Valero Texas Open this week.

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Ben Martin (+8000, DraftKings)

Ben Martin is in arguably the best form of his career and should be able to take advantage of a weak field at TPC San Antonio this week.  The 35-year-old has some strong statistics of late. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks fifth in approach, seventh in Ball Striking and 18th in Opportunities Gained.

Martin is coming off of a strong performance at Corales, where he finished eighth. Prior to that, he gained 3.5 strokes on approach at the Valspar Championship, but struggled on and around the greens, which is typically one of his strengths.

Martin does have some success at TPC San Antonio. He finished eighth at the 2020 San Antonio Championship at the course and finished 34th at the Valero Texas Open in 2021.

I believe Martin can capitalize on his current form and produce a strong showing this week.

Erik Van Rooyen (+13000, DraftKings)

Erik Van Rooyen is the type of "boom-or-bust" player I believe it makes sense to target in the outright betting market. He could certainly miss the cut by finishing dead last, but I also think he has winning upside. When he's bad, he's really bad, and when he's good, he's really good.

Two starts ago, the South African gained 7.1 strokes on approach at the Valspar Championship, showing how hot he can get with his irons.

EVR has made one start at the Valspar Championship and had a strong showing, finishing 14th. He's a very strong wind player and gains about one stroke on the field per event in extremely windy conditions. At triple-digit odds, the volatile player with a high ceiling is worth the gamble.

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