Valero Texas Open First-Round Leader (FRL) Picks 2024

Valero Texas Open First-Round Leader (FRL) Picks 2024 article feature image

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Moore of the United States.

Here's everything you need to know about Valero Texas Open first-round leader picks for 2024 — our expert's three FRL bets for this week's PGA Tour event in San Antonio, Texas.

With the Houston Open in the rear-view mirror, we now look forward to this week's Valero Texas Open. The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio hosts once again, which it has done annually since 2010.

TPC San Antonio is a par-72, 7,438-yard track designed by Greg Norman that rewards those who can stick their approach shots close for simple birdie looks.

Find my Valero Texas Open first-round leader picks for 2024 below.

Valero Texas Open First-Round Leader (FRL) Picks 2024

As is always my strategy for targeting first-round leaders, I'm searching for golfers who tee off earlier in the day. The first wave almost always scores better than the second wave, which makes sense considering that the greens only firm up as the round progresses, especially in the Texas wind.

The earlier a golfer tees off, the more soft greens he faces that are much more receptive to his shots. The one objection to this general rule of thumb is when there is an expected weather change between the first and second waves, but that will not be the case on Thursday.

Ryan Moore +10000 (BetRivers | 0.14 Units)

Thursday Tee Time: 8:20 a.m. ET

That brings us to Ryan Moore, who tees off in the first of 26 groups on Thursday. There are actually 52 total groups, but the field goes off on split tees simultaneously.

This is a bit of a longshot, but Moore is an excellent iron player who ranks fourth on Tour this season in Strokes Gained: Approach. TPC San Antonio is a second-shot course, and each of the top four finishers here in 2023 also ranked in the top four in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Given Moore's excellent approach game, I do not think it is out of the question that he gets hot in the opening round at TPC San Antonio, especially considering his previous success at this venue. Not only has he made the weekend in five of his six career appearances here, but he also boasts three top-10 finishes over that stretch. His putter is a liability, but we only need it to get hot for one round to potentially cash this at 100-1.

Andrew Novak +9000 (FanDuel | 0.17 Units)

Thursday Tee Time: 8:31 a.m. ET

Andrew Novak tees off in the group immediately following Moore, so he will also possess the morning-wave advantage. Novak has flown under the radar this season, but he has made the weekend in five of his past six tournaments with three top-10 finishes over that stretch.

He also finished ninth here last year, so we know that Novak can score at TPC San Antonio. Does this mean he can get off to a good start on Thursday?

I believe so, especially considering that he ranks 16th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach this season.

Ben Martin +17500 (bet365 | 0.11 Units)

Thursday Tee Time: 1:46 p.m. ET

I'm going to break my normal morning-wave preference for the first-round leader market and target Ben Martin for our final play on Thursday. This is certainly a massive longshot, but I think 175-1 is just too big of a number to pass up.

Martin profiles similarly with Moore in the sense that I don't think either can hold down this field over four days (because of Moore's putting and Martin's short game), but they both possess the tools to go low in a single round. First, Martin's iron play has been tremendous this season, ranking 20th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Second, he finished 10th here last year, proving that he can score at this venue. That makes sense considering approach play is the strongest part of Martin's game. Finally, Martin tends to get off to better starts before fading over the weekend, which we just saw when he was tied for first after the first round of last year's Corales Puntacana Championship.

Here's my full betting card for the 2024 Valero Texas Open, and you can find more of my thoughts on this week's tournament on the Links + Locks Best Bets podcast:

  • Corey Conners Outright Winner (+2700 at bet365) – 0.36 Units
  • Christian Bezuidenhout Outright Winner (+5500 at FanDuel) – 0.33 Units
  • Keith Mitchell Outright Winner (+8500 at bet365) – 0.3 Units
  • Aaron Rai Outright Winner (+7000 at FanDuel) – 0.27 Units
  • Lucas Glover Top 10 (+700 at FanDuel) – 0.24 Units
  • Mark Hubbard Top 10 (+900 at FanDuel) – 0.20 Units
  • Andrew Novak FRL (+9000 at FanDuel) – 0.17 Units
  • Ryan Moore FRL (+10000 at BetRivers) – 0.14 Units
  • Ben Martin FRL (+17500 at bet365) – 0.11 Units

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