The PGA TOUR will have one more week in Texas before heading to Augusta National with the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. The AT&T Oaks Course is a par 72, measuring 7,494 yards and will be on Champion Bermuda overseed with Poa Trivialis. This week is the last event where the winner will get an invite to The Masters Tournament if they haven’t already qualified. There are 144 players in the field (as of this article), and the top 65 and ties will make the cut. The group of golfers from the WGC Match Play making their way to San Antonio includes Bryson DeChambeau ($10,200), Tony Finau ($9,100), Corey Conners ($9,800) and Jordan Spieth ($10,600), who is the defending champion.
The Oaks is a long course with treelined fairways that can be hard to hit when the winds blow. Over the past five years, golfers are registering a 56% fairways hit in regulation rate, close to 6% lower than the TOUR average. The golfers’ approach shots don’t get much easier, with the greens in regulation hit rate close to 7% less than the TOUR average since 2017. Depending on the wind, the course can play differently each year or even day for that matter. Since 2012, only four (out of 36 rounds) have played in calm winds, with eight (22%) playing in very windy conditions. With Texas winds and large runoff areas around the greens, players need to find the putting surface to play well here or have great touch around these greens. The course is a stock par 72 with four par 5s, but two measure over 600 yards, which may be why we’ve seen some of the lowest eagle and birdie rates on TOUR. The tournament also ranked the 14th toughest (out of 54) in scoring relative to par last season (+0.23).
A prudent strategy could be to chase golfers who haven’t qualified for The Masters coming into this week, with seven of the previous nine winners being non-Masters bound before their win. Also, similar to the Florida swing, we could see some tee-time split advantages, so stacking your lineups per the forecasts could also be a helpful strategy.
Chris Kirk ($9,400)
The forecast will dictate how we build our rosters this week, and we should be chasing golfers who have experience playing well in Texas. Since 2015, Kirk’s finishes here read 8-13-MC-8-MC-6. The two missed cuts were more a result of poor play leading into the tournament and less about the course not suiting his game, which it does. Kirk has a top-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this season, a seventh-place at The Honda Classic and 14th at the WM Phoenix Open leading into Valero. Kirk needs a win this week to get into The Masters for the first time since 2016. Kevin Streelman ($8,700) also deserves roster consideration for many of the same reasons as Kirk. Streelman’s last four events read 7-22-MC-16, and he’s recorded back-to-back top-8 finishes in his previous two starts here.
Patton Kizzire ($8,000)
Only a handful of golfers have been better than Kizzire in DraftKings (DK) scoring, ranking seventh in DK fantasy points gained over the field in the previous 24 rounds. Kizzire’s scoring historically has come from his putting, but recently it’s been his irons, ranking fifth over the same timeframe, precisely what you want at The AT&T Oaks course. The Sea Island resident has three top-35 finishes in his previous three starts and hasn’t lost strokes with his irons in five-straight events dating back to the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He’s also top 6 in birdie or better percentage and top 20 in bogey avoidance over his last two dozen rounds. Kizzire also finished top 10 here last season, gaining the second-most strokes through approach (8.1). He also hasn’t qualified for Augusta and needs a win to get in next week.
Beau Hossler ($7,000)
Chasing golfers who have familiarity or play well in Texas could work just as well in San Antonio as it did in Austin last week. Hossler was a standout at the University of Texas and currently lives in Dallas, but it’s not just his connection to the Lonestar State that makes him an interesting selection in this range. Hossler also checks off some of the prerequisite skills you need to play well here, ranking 17th in Par 5 efficiency and top 5 in Strokes Gained: Putting over the previous dozen rounds. He could be a value play in this range with his recent top-20 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, top-16 finish at the Honda Classic and top-3 finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Hossler has not yet qualified for Augusta and, like the golfers mentioned above, needs a win to get in.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.
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