Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA Tour 2021: Valero Texas Open

PGA Tour 2021: Valero Texas Open

Damien Kayat previews the Valero Texas Open taking place at TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course), San Antonio, Texas

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Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 US PGA Tour
Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course), San Antonio, Texas
1st-4th April

Well, last week was a surprise.  There I was preaching about the WGC Match-Play’s recent trend towards marquee finishes.  Billy Horschel’s brilliant victory underlined a WGC chock full of surprises.  This week provides the players with one final chance to tune up for next week’s Masters.  Only 23 players in the current field are lining up at Augusta this week, indicating that most players already have Georgia on their mind.  That shouldn’t take away from an event full of history.  First staged way back in 1922, the Valero Texas Open is one of the oldest events on the tour.  There was no event last year due to the Pandemic.  One major incentive: a ticket to Augusta for any winner having not qualified for Augusta already.  The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio has played host to this event since 2010. 

This tricky Greg Norman design is quite long and features familiar Bermuda grass greens.  As the name of the course would suggest, this course winds its way through a labyrinth of statuesque oak trees.  Avoiding these is essential although it isn’t particularly tight from the tee-box.  Don’t let Corey Conners’ winning score of -20 in 2019 fool you.  This course can be vicious in the wind (and a fair amount is expected this year).  So, look for players with some wind ability.  Putting seems to be one stat to focus on, with five of the last six winners all ranking inside the top five for Putting Average.

With Dustin Johnson deciding to withdraw on Monday, local boy Jordan Spieth is now the betting favourite.  The former Masters Champion has been improving rapidly of late and he will no doubt relish some hometown comforts leading up to Augusta.  Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler lie just behind Spieth in the betting stakes.  Charley Hoffman has been steadily improving while Abraham Ancer is one of the most talented players on the entire tour.  Joel Dahmen is in the field this week after tasting victory at last week’s Puntecana Championship.  While this is hardly an elite field, I tend to enjoy the slightly more relaxed vibe in these pre-Major events.

Past Winners
2020: event cancelled 
2019: Corey Conners (-20)
2018: Andrew Landry (-17)
2017: Kevin Chappell (-12)
2016: Charley Hoffman (-12)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Jordan Spieth (12/1)
Tony Finau (16/1)
Scottie Scheffler (16/1)
Hideki Matsuyama (18/1)
Abraham Ancer (22/1)

Value Bets

Charley Hoffman- To Win (33/1), To Place (7/1)
I’m opting for a man who always seems to show up around Augusta.  Hoffman is a previous champion in this event, beating Patrick Reed by one shot in 2016.  Not only that, he also has two runner-up finishes and a 3rd place here.  Beyond that, he has an incredible eight top 15 finishes in ten previous visits.  He has also been in a fine run of recent form.  He had a tie for 7th at the Pebble Beach and a tie for 10th at the Arnold Palmer.  He ranks 5th in SG: Approach over the past three months, making him even more attractive this week.

Andrew Putnam- To Win (75/1), To Place (16/1)
This seems like a slightly disrespectful price for Putnam looking at recent form.  Sure, he missed his last cut at the Players Championship.  But prior to that he had built some fairly strong form.  He finished in a tie for 5th at the Puerto Rico Open and a tie for 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  All in all, he has three top 10 finishes in eight events this year.  He also has a standout performance in this event, with a tie for 8th in 2018.  He is averaging 0.59 strokes gained per round with the putter this season, which suggests that he should be primed for a tilt at this championship.

The Man to Beat

The Man to Beat- Ryan Palmer- To Win (30/1), To Place (13/2)
There surely isn’t a more unheralded player operating inside the world’s top 30 at present.  He has enjoyed top 25 finishes in 17 of his 27 starts since the beginning of last year.  The problem is simple: he hasn’t actually won a title since 2010 (notwithstanding the Zurich Classic he won alongside Jon Rahm two years back).  The Texan has actually missed his last two cuts here.  But prior to that his form figures at the Oaks Course read 6-4-6.  I think this represents the perfect opportunity for the affable Texan to add to his three PGA Tour victories.

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