Golf Betting Systems: Valero Texas Open Picks and Expert Analysis
In the span of two short weeks, we've gone from crazy excited about The Masters to nobody cares that Patrick Reed won, because nobody really likes Patrick Reed as a golfer. It's one of the craziest and quickest turn arounds I can recall, with the exception of Danny Willet pulling off the unthinkable in the 2016 Masters.
Last week, some of the world's best followed up their Masters experience with a trip to South Carolina and the Harbour Town Golf Links for the RBC Heritage. This tournament was a coming out party of sorts for relatively unknown golfer, Satoshi Kodaira. Kodaira, a 28-year-old from Tokyo, used a fourth-round 66 to propel himself up the leaderboard to 12-under par. When fellow Asian Si Woo Kim faltered with the putter over the last four holes while in the lead, Kodaira took full advantage and won his first PGA Tour title in a playoff.
There were a lot of factors that came into play in the final round of the tournament, but the biggest thing I took away from that final round is the fact that nobody could make a putt. The winds picked up towards the last several holes and for whatever reason really affected the putting. Kodaira ranks 91st in SG: Putting, gaining just under one stroke on the field over 12 PGA rounds. Kim ranks 202nd in SG: Putting, losing (-21.28) strokes through 28 rounds. Considering how the final few holes played out for Kim, him losing the tournament isn't that shocking.
But enough about last week. It's time to look ahead to the start of tomorrow's tournament, the Valero Texas Open. The field is rather big at 156 players but is one of the weakest fields since the early tournaments like the Career Builder or Sony Open. There are just five players playing that are ranked inside the Top-30, with Sergio Garcia (10), Matt Kuchar (21), Pat Perez (22), Charley Hoffman (26) and Xander Schauffele (28). Among the rest of the field, you will find the defending champion Kevin Chappell and Tour regulars such as Adam Scott, Luke List, Ryan Moore, Ryan Palmer, Zach Johnson, Si Woo Kim and Jimmy Walker.
As of writing this, the favorite is Garcia at +1400 , with Hoffman +1800, List +1800, Kuchar +1800, Scott +2500, Chappell +2500, Moore +2500 and Schauffele all priced under 30-1.
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Valero Texas Open - Course Layout
In order to completely break down the field and use the process of elimination to build out the golf card, we must understand what kind of course we are dealing with. The Valero Texas Open is played at TPC San Antonio, which is a Par-72 course that plays relatively long at 7,435 yards. The greens are Bermuda and the rough shouldn't be much of a factor this week. There is a grand total of 54 bunkers that serve to protect the course and a solid mix of short and long Par-4s that will test both the patience and aggressiveness of the field.
In terms of the winning scores of this event in the past, the course is very "gettable" as the golfers would say. The last two winning scores came in at 12-under par, and Jimmy Walker posted 11-under when he won in 2015. There has not been a winning score worse than 8-under par.
Valero Texas Open - Key Stats
There are potentially two ways to build a card for this week's tournament. The first way and I think the best way to play is to load up on the bombers like Luke List, Ryan Palmer, Brendan Steele, Adam Scott or Grayson Murray -- all of whom are inside the top-25 in average driving distance.
The course itself offers these long hitters a good chance to attack the Par-5s and potentially set themselves up well when it comes to the longer Par-4s. There are four Par-4 holes that play longer than 450 yards, so being able to hit the ball long off the tee -- assuming you stay out of trouble -- will leave you with a shorter approach shot and potentially more scoring situations. It's much easier hitting eight-iron into the green compared to a five-iron.
Another advantage of being a longer hitter on this course is that there are also five Par-4s that play less than 410 yards (two of which play less than 350 yards). Again, the concept of setting yourself up with a short-iron/pitching wedge/potentially putting for eagle is a much bigger advantage than having to strategically hit your ball to a certain area in order to best attack the pin. Of the guys I mentioned above, List enters the tournament ranked inside the top-5 in Stroked Gained: Tee-to-Green, approach, driving distance and pure ball striking. The only problem with List is he just can't putt. One decent putting weekend from List and he will be a PGA Tour winner before we know it.
I've always been a big believer that Par-5 scoring is vital to having any success on Tour. The courses are tough enough already, so I believe the mentality to have approaching any Par-5 on Tour is that you have to make at least a birdie in order to keep yourself in contention.
Among the field, Pat Perez is ranked the highest in terms of Par-5 scoring, checking in at 4.54, which is a bit strange considering he ranks 138 in terms of driving distance. However, Perez does rank fourth in Greens in Regulation, which means he at least gives himself a chance to score and he backs that up with a 25.49 birdie or better percentage, which ranks sixth. He also ranks T-44 in terms of overall Par-5 scoring at (-57). Compare that to the aforementioned List, who checks all my boxes and ranks second at (-83), I'd gladly be willing to bet List finishing higher than Perez this week.
After going through the entire field and focusing in on my two biggest keys for this weekend, I've short-listed two golfers that I believe have what it takes to win the tournament. The first is Luke List. He rates out very well among both categories. And just by watching him play on a weekly basis (eight consecutive tournament appearance), I can see he is playing some of the best golf of his young career and a win is likely to come sooner rather than later. It's not ideal to back him at 18-1 odds, when he is typically among the high-20s to low 30s. However, in this field he can certainly do damage.
The next guy is going to be Grayson Murray. Murray has had three finishes inside the top-15 in three of the last six events. For the other three events where he didn't finish inside the top-15, he missed the cut completely. I understand that Murray isn't the most trustworthy player to make the cut, but this course should set up well for him. He is a bomber who can hit the long ball and he ranks inside the top-20 in birdies average, including 16th in birdie or better percentage and seventh in Par-3 birdies or better. If he can gain strokes on the Par-3s while attacking and scoring on the Par-5s, there's no reason why Murray can't be in contention come Sunday.
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