PGA Tour Picks: 2018 Valero Texas Open Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Well, Sunday was a first. A guy won a PGA Tour event whom I knew essentially nothing about. Hey, there are thousands of professional golfers in the world when including the European Tour, Asian Tour, Web.com Tour, etc. Can't possibly keep track of them all.
I had heard the name of Satoshi Kodaira and knew he was from Japan, but that was about it - he wasn't even a Tour member. Kodaira birdied the third extra hole to defeat Si Woo Kim in a playoff and win the RBC Heritage on Sunday at Hilton Head in South Carolina. It was only Kodaira's sixth Tour start - he has full membership now with a two-year exemption and invitations to the Players, the PGA Championship and next year's Masters (he played this year and was 28th). He had already qualified for this year's British Open and probably has a good enough world ranking now to play the U.S. Open.
The 28-year-old Kodaira, who entered Sunday six off the lead, had finished off his final round of 66 to get to 12-under par about an hour before Kim finished. Kim, the winner of last year's Players Championship, missed putts from 4, 5, 7 and 6 feet over his last four holes of regulation, including a birdie putt on 18 at that would've given him the win. He also was short on his 21-footer for birdie to keep the playoff going. Ian Poulter, who just won a couple of weeks ago in Houston, entered Sunday with the lead, but he made five back-nine bogeys and shot 75.
My winning choice last week was perennial Hilton Head runner-up Luke Donald, but he missed the cut after shooting 76-67. Also liked Matt Kuchar and Russell Knox for Top 10s, but neither happened. I actually wasn't too high on world No. 1 Dustin Johnson playing the event for the first time since 2009 and he was T16.
This week the Tour goes back to the Lone Star State for the Valero Texas Open, and it's expected to be the final time on this portion of the schedule for the event. The Houston Open is having sponsorship difficulties, so this tournament will move to that spot a week ahead of the Masters.
This is played at the TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course, a par 72 measuring 7,435 yards through Texas hill country. Probably the most memorable thing to ever happen at this tournament was Kevin Na putting up a 16 at the par-4 ninth in 2011. First played in 1922, the Valero Texas Open is the fifth-oldest pro golf event in North America and oldest to be held in the same city every year of its existence.
It's not a great field with just six of the world's Top 30. The No. 1 amateur in the world, Joaquin Niemann, makes his pro debut. The defending champion is Kevin Chappell. He drained an 8-foot birdie putt on the 72 nd hole for his first Tour win. Chappell shot a 4-under 68 in the final round to finish at 12-under for the tournament, edging Brooks Koepka, who had birdied the 72nd a bit before Chappell to tie.
Golf Odds: Valero Texas Open Favorites
This course was designed by Greg Norman in 2010, but Sergio Garcia was a consultant and he plays here foe the first time since then. Garcia, the +1200 Bovada favorite, was 45th in 2010. He comes off a disappointing missed cut at the Masters because he imploded on one hole in the first round.
Kuchar and Charley Hoffman are each +1800. Kuchar has made the cut in all six trips to TPC San Antonio but just one Top 10, a T4 in 2014. Hoffman won here in 2016 at 12 under. He also was third in 2013. He comes off a T23 last week.
Luke List is +2200 with Ryan Moore +2500 and Chappell +2800. List was third last week but missed the cut here in 2017. Moore was 16th last week and 18th here in 2017. Chappell had a fourth at the Valero Texas Open in 2016 before his win. He missed the cut last week.
Golf Odds: Valero Texas Open Picks
For a Top 10, I like Hoffman (+175), another former champion in Brendan Steele (+275) and streaky Billy Horschel (+300), who played well last week and has three Top 5 finishes here but hasn't won yet. Go 2013 winner Martin Laird (+500) as top European.
Head-to-head, like Texan Beau Hossler (-105) over Brandt Snedeker (-125), Hoffman (-135) over List (+105), Kuchar (-105) over Garcia (-125), Horschel (-110) over former champion Adam Scott (-120), and Moore (-115) over Chappell.
I rather wish that Bovada offered me a Ryan prop to win. I thought about Moore, but Palmer is better value at +5000. Yes, he's struggling a bit on Tour right now, but he has been Top 6 in each of his past three trips to San Antonio and has two other Top 15s here.
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