This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
San Antonio, Texas
TPC San Antonio - Par 72 - 7,435 yards
Field - 144 Entrants
Purse - $7.5M
Masters Eve has arrived in the form of the Valero Texas Open, which will be held for the 10th year at TPC San Antonio. For some historical perspective, the event originally began 97 years ago at Brackenridge Park Golf Course, where champion Bob MacDonald took home $1,500 of the $5K purse for his victory. The Texas Open now features a cool $7.5M in total prize money, which is a $1.3M increase from just last year with the tournament now scheduled right in front of the Masters. The quality of the field will consequently take a hit with so many top-tier players beginning their preparations at Augusta, and Rickie Fowler represents the only member of the Official World Golf Ranking's top-10 in attendance this week. The Valero's lengthy layout and difficult par-5s are usually even tougher due to typical Texas winds, but the wind is actually expected to remain fairly tame throughout the entire tournament this time around. Andrew Landry's 17-under performance last year was three strokes better than any previous champion since 2010 at TPC San Antonio.
Key Stats to Victory
SG: Tee-to-Green - TPC San Antonio isn't necessarily a bomber's paradise, but gaining strokes both off-the-tee and on approach shots is the first step in this week's equation
GIR percentage - Since the Valero Texas Open's move to TPC San Antonio in 2010, three of the event's nine champions have led the entire field in greens hit (including Landry in 2018)
Scrambling - With tough greens to hit and an annual scoring average sitting over-par, scrambling becomes key with par being more than acceptable in many spots
SG: Putting - Putting is a massive part of the battle when it comes to scrambling or birdie average, especially from inside 10 feet
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Tony Finau - $45
Top-4 among this week's field in both SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Putting in his last 12 rounds, Finau has strung together top-25 finishes in each of his past three stroke-play appearances since the Genesis Open. His improvements with the flat stick dating back to last season have really shone through as of late, with him gaining an average of 2.4 strokes on the greens over his last five tournaments. Additionally, Finau placed T3 here in 2017, when he gained over 11 strokes tee-to-green.
Sungjae Im - $39
The 21-year-old rookie's wheels still haven't fallen off despite a jam-packed schedule, most recently notching his fifth top-10 of the season at last week's Corales Championship. Over his last 24 rounds, Im ranks fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green and third in SG: Approach, while he hasn't lost strokes in the former department since the Sanderson Farms Championship in October. The young Korean needs a win at the Valero Texas Open in order to qualify for Augusta after falling just shy of the top-50 in the OWGR, so expect Im to remain motivated throughout the tourney in his TPC San Antonio debut.
Jason Kokrak - $39
Kokrak has compiled a pair of top-15s in seven trips to San Antonio, but his recent form now includes top-10s in three of his last four starts, culminated by a T2 at the Valspar Championship. He leads this week's field in SG: T2G and SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds, surging to 15th in SG: Total on Tour this season.
Justin Harding - $38
Harding narrowly missed out on advancing to the Round of 16 at last week's WGC-Dell Technologies Championship as he defeated Matthew Fitzpatrick and Luke List in the group stage, securing a 2-1-0 record with his lone loss coming at the hands of World No. 3 Rory McIlroy. Prior to his showing at Austin CC, Harding went T2-Win at the Magical Kenya Open and Commercial Bank Qatar Masters to reach a career best 48th in the OWGR. Low ownership could be in store for Harding at this price as well, with the average gamer simply skimming over a relatively unknown name here in the states.
Ryan Moore - $37
Moore has finished no worse than T18 in three voyages to TPC San Antonio since 2012. He may have missed the cut in his previous start at the Valspar Championship, but Moore still ranks eighth among the Valero field in terms of SG: T2G over his past 12 rounds. He's also gained strokes on approach in four consecutive performances.
Joost Luiten - $36
Much like the aforementioned Harding, Luiten could fall under the radar despite recent success overseas on the European Tour. Since returning from a wrist injury in late October, Luiten has finished T27 or better in eight of nine events. This stretch has also included three top-10s in his past five starts.
Aaron Baddeley - $26
I'm usually not too keen on using Baddeley in DFS because he's far from an impressive ball striker, but his short game has been stellar and that's important on a tough track like TPC San Antonio. He gained a whopping 10 strokes around-the-green on his way to a top-20 not long ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he's also gained 1.4 strokes with the flat stick in his last five tournaments. He's coming off a T7 at the Corales Championship where he ranked fifth in scrambling while totaling 20 birdies as well.
Graeme McDowell - $23
The 39-year-old returned to the winner's circle for the first time since the 2015 OHL Classic at the Corales Championship last week, pacing the field in both birdies (27) and putts per GIR along the way. As a result, McDowell launched from 257th to 133rd in the OWGR and will feel comfortable knowing he earned an exemption for the PGA Championship in May. Prior to his win in Punta Cana, McDowell had gained strokes putting in six consecutive measurable events.
D.J. Trahan - $20
Here we have yet another opportunity to take advantage of Trahan at the minimum price after he notched his third straight top-20 at the Corales last week. He picked up a ton of momentum during his final round when he racked up seven birdies to one bogey, ultimately leading the field in driving accuracy with 49 of 56 fairways in regulation. Trahan also collected a top-15 at TPC San Antonio back in 2013.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week
Billy Horschel is fostering plenty of attention in multiple formats this week thanks to his promising course history and fair cost at $39, but I'll likely be limiting my exposure in a major way because of his lousy ball striking of late. He's lost an average of 2.3 strokes tee-to-green over his past five tournaments and lost 4.5 strokes off the tee at THE PLAYERS Championship in his most recent start, so Horschel has been forced to rely heavily on the putter, which just isn't very enticing. Glancing higher up on the board, it also feels strange spending $42-plus for names like Lucas Glover, Jim Furyk and even Jordan Spieth right now.