Texas Open – San Antonio, TX
TPC San Antonio (7,435 yards, par 72)
$1,116,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
In existence since 2010, TPC San Antonio will host its seventh iteration of PGA Tour play this week after beginning tournament play in 2011. The course itself was designed by Aussie Greg Norman with assistance from newly-minted Masters champion Sergio Garcia. Names like Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker, and defending champion Charley Hoffman are seeking to tame the windswept course. The layout is demanding off the tee with plenty of native vegetation to wreck a good round -- just ask Kevin Na about his 16 on the par-4 ninth hole back in 2011. With players averaging just over three birdies per round in recent years, the guy who grinds out pars the best with sound ball striking and scrambling is likely to come out on top.
Prior Decade Champions
2016 – Charley Hoffman
2015 – Jimmy Walker
2014 – Steven Bowditch
2013 – Martin Laird
2012 – Ben Curtis
2011 – Brendan Steele
2010 – Adam Scott
2009 – Zach Johnson
2008 – Zach Johnson
2007 – Justin Leonard
Key Stats to Winning at TPC San Antonio
• Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Scrambling percentage
One thing that jumps out is the varying talent levels among the last decade of winners at TPC San Antonio – there’s a pretty substantial difference between Ben Curtis and Adam Scott. Some of this can be explained by the shifts in timing this event has endured over the years, affecting the strength of the field drastically in some cases. But there is a common variable among the winners, and that is driving the ball well. Players NEED accuracy, but power is important too, especially when the notorious Texas winds pick up. With longer par-3s and commonly windy conditions, players have hit a modest 55-60 percent of their greens in regulation and made par or better on just 50 percent of missed greens the past few years. This means players can really separate themselves from the field if they drive the ball well plus (a) hit more greens in regulation or (b) scramble at a high rate.
FanDuel Value Picks
Matt Kuchar, $10200 – With top-25s in four of his last five tries in San Antonio, Kuchar is again the best player in the field and odds-on favorite for a second week in a row. Coming off a strong Sunday 64 last week, he’s a strong bet for four solid rounds this week.
Brenden Steele, $8500 – Including a breakthrough victory here in 2011, Steele has a rock-solid history that includes his win and three other top-15 efforts. Not surprisingly, Steele fits the mold quite well as he’s 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green this season and first in scrambling percentage.
Charley Hoffman, $8300 – To say the defending champion has a knack for this place is like saying Jack Nicklaus was merely good at golf. Both are huge understatements. This “horse for the course” has finished no worse than 13th in the last eight years at this event. Though he’ll be heavily owned for both his ironclad history and solid recent play, he’s worth every penny this week.
Ryan Moore, $8100 – Moore tied for eighth in San Antonio back in 2012, but hasn’t made the trip back until this year. He fits the profile too: a precise driver off the tee and good putting to grind out pars. Moore’s last finish was a top-10 at the Masters two weeks ago, so he enters with positive momentum.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Billy Horschel, $7300 – Horschel has been top-4 at this event in three of the last four years, and although his other finish was a missed cut, he is a surprising value this week at only $7300. Horschel missed the cut at the RBC Heritage last week, but that may in part have been due to his temporary departure to attend the birth of his second child, and it’s easy to overlook the risk when he has proven upside for a top-5. Plus, daughter No. 2 could have his spirits extra high this week.
Kevin Chappell, $6600 – A string of made cuts leading up to a tie for seventh at the Masters is a great trend heading into a diluted field this week for Chappell. A solid tee-to-green player with a pair of historical top-5s in San Antonio is enough evidence to run with Chappell this week.
Luke List, $6600 – List has made 2-of-2 career cuts in San Antonio, and checks all the boxes for course fit. Eighteenth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green this season, 36th in GIR%, and 46th in scrambling. Could it be his week to contend?
Sung Kang, $5900 – Kang is quietly making a name for himself with a near-win at the Shell Houston Open a few weeks back followed by an 11th at the RBC Heritage last week. In addition to his recent play, Kang made the cut at last year’s Valero Texas Open and has been hitting it well tee-to-green this season with a recent uptrend in his Strokes Gained: Putting stats.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
As one of the tougher tracks on the PGA Tour, TPC San Antonio should bare its teeth in a weaker field this week. Plenty of data suggests course history is more telling at this venue than most other events, so lean on historical horses like Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, and Brendan Steele to build a strong foundation. To fill out the rest of your lineup, seek lower-priced options who are playing well and have quality Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green stats. With scattered showers forecasted for most of the week and the typical wind in Texas, elite ball-strikers should rise to the top of the leaderboard.