PGA Tour Picks: Valero Texas Open Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Some guys hate match play golf and some thrive on it. Apparently, American Kevin Kisner is the latter.
Kisner was runner-up at the 2018 WGC-Match Play in Austin, losing to Bubba Watson. However, he came back and won the tournament on Sunday, beating Matt Kuchar 3 and 2 in the championship match. Kisner lost just seven combined holes to Francesco Molinari in the semifinals and Kuchar in the finals.
Kisner looked in trouble to even get out of group play when he lost his first match of the week to another match play stud, Ian Poulter. However, Kisner then won his next two matches and ousted Poulter in a sudden-death playoff. He went on to become the lowest-ranked player (No. 48 seed) to win the WGC-Match Play since Geoff Ogilvy did it as the No. 52 seed in 2006. Kinser clearly needs to be on the 2020 Ryder Cup team as the Americans could use all the match play talent they can get. It was Kisner's third career PGA Tour win and first in a WGC event.
Unfortunately for me, Kuchar was in the same group as Spain's Jon Rahm, who was my pick to win. He went 1-1-1 in the round-robin portion, with Kuchar winning it at 2-0-1. Kuchar, 40, was trying to become the oldest champion in WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play history. Instead, it was his 11 th career runner-up finish on Tour.
This week, the Tour heads to Texas per usual the week before the Masters, but it's no longer the Houston Open (due to sponsorship issues with Shell having bailed) as the warm-up event but the Valero Texas Open. That event now has a 10-year contract to be the week before the Masters. It actually did sit there back in 2013. A year ago, it was played two weeks after the Masters.
The Houston Open tried to set up the course as best as possible to mimic playing conditions at Augusta National, and they will do their best at TPC San Antonio's Oaks Course as well. One of the changes will be wider fairways to help players feel more comfortable using driver off the tee. The Oaks course is a par 72 measuring 7,435 yards.
Last year, Texas native Andrew Landry's winning score of 17-under 271 was the lowest since the event moved to TPC San Antonio in 2010. It was Landry's first PGA Tour win and he hasn't come close since. This is actually the longest-running event on Tour in the same city, with the first Texas Open played in 1922. The winner of this tournament gets a Masters spot if not already qualified. Two former major winners, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington, are among those vying for that.
Not a great field this week off the Match Play and some guys simply not liking to compete the week before a major. I'm sure some of them already are in Augusta.
Golf Odds: Valero Texas Open Favorites
Rickie Fowler plays this event for the first time and is the +1000 favorite. He at least won't be worn down by the Match Play because he skipped it. Fowler has never won in Texas.
Kuchar and Tony Finau are +1600. Kuchar could well be rather tired - he didn't play all that well in the finals on Sunday. His best result at TPC San Antonio was fourth in 2014 with no other Top 10s. Finau was third two years ago.
Struggling Jordan Spieth (+2000), Billy Horschel (+2500) and Sungjae Im (+2500) round out the leaders. Maybe playing in his home state will shake Spieth out of his doldrums. He was a runner-up in 2015 but didn't play the past three years.
Golf Odds: Valero Texas Open Picks
For a Top 10, go Horschel (+240), who has three T4s and a T11 in his past six trips here (missed cut in other two), former champion Charley Hoffman (+450) and Ryan Palmer (+500).
Like Horschel at +1800 for Top American and 2013 champion Martin Laird at +1200 for top European. Head-to-head, Finau (+105) over Fowler (-135), Spieth (-105) over Kuchar (-125), and Aaron Baddeley (-115) over Joost Luiten (-115).
High on Horschel this week so will throw a few bucks on him but also will put a fair amount on Palmer at +5000. He missed the cut here last year but was Top 6 the previous three.
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