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Valero Texas Open Picks, Bets, DraftKings Notes
Didn’t fall in love with anyone at the top of the board. I had it narrowed down to Conners, Si WOOO, Riley, and Kuchar, but I couldn’t decide. So instead of being a goober and betting them all, I decided to bet none of them and add Bez to the card and hope conditions are impossible the first two days.
Ryan Fox — Fox has churned out Top 30 finishes in each PGA TOUR start, both elevated events; couple that with his three straight Top 20s on the DP World Tour before clearing customs and you have a string of excellent form. He’ll be one of the longer players in the field, which, along with his precision from 125 yards and in and experience in the wind, make Fox one of the clear favorites in San Antonio.
Garrick Higgo — The driver runs hot and cold and the putter is mostly frigid, but Higgo continues hitting GIRs at one of the highest rates in the field, and when he misses, he’s going the better around the green players in attendance. The South African has wins in weak-field birdiefests on the DP World Tour, and claimed victory against a similar weak field, difficult scoring PGA event at the Palmetto.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout — After a putting swoon that lingered into this calendar year, Bez has finally started to turn it around on the greens, gaining with the putter in three of four after dropping to the field in five of six. Looking at his proximity buckets, the further he gets from the hole, the worse he rates against the field. Fortunately, there are plenty of shorter Par 4s to deploy those wedges on, and the Par 5s can be three shot holes for the field so he’s not at the usual disadvantage. Plus, if the weather gets horrible, Bez’ short game and scramble is elite against this motley crew in San Antonio.
Austin Smotherman — The SMOTHER-MAN first took down Randle McMurphy, and now he’s setting his sights on this field. If he wants to be named, I’ll out him, but my man on the ground passed along that Smotherman’s life post baby is finally returning to normal. His family is back on the road with him again, and the results are starting to follow. After missing six of seven cuts, he’s quietly rebounded with consecutive Top 40s at Sawgrass and Valspar. Chuck in his T4 in the KFT event (that Davis Riley won btw) in 2020, and we got a stew going.
Pierceson Coody —
They tell me Opening Day is Thursday. Guess we need some picks for that. My guy BIG JOHN is BACK with MLB on MMN. His opening day picks are already OUT, and he’s going to be going twice a week in-season breaking down all things MLB. If that sort of thing interests you, I suggest subbing to Fantasy Baseball Picks and Bets
Valero Course Notes
Course: TPC San Antonio (Oaks)
Greens: Champion Bermuda overseeded with Poa Trivialis and velvet Bentgrass
Par 3s (4): Average length (200.5 yards), Hole 13 measures 241 yards (fifth toughest on the course) and boosts this average.
Take your medicine. These are the four most par’d holes on the course (all over two-thirds of the time)
Par 4s (10): Average length (428.6 yards), we are all over the place here with 134 yards separating the shortest from the longest Par 4 on this course
The two shortest Par 4s carry a birdie rate north of 23% (one of which is Hole 17 which also has a bogey rate of just 8.5% … all reward, little risk)
Par 5s (4): Average length (587.5 yards), three of four surpass this average with the shortest Par 5 (Hole 14, 553 yards) being the easiest on the course with a birdie rate (42.3%) that rivals the par rate (47.2%)
There were more eagles on Hole 14 last season than on the other three Par 5s combined, so that is your must score hole. Hole 8 is over 600 yards and could be a difference maker: 20.4% birdie rate and 15.6% bogey rate.
Valero Past Winners
2022: JJ Spaun -13
2021: Jordan Spieth -18
2019: Corey Conners -20
2018: Andrew Landry -17
2017: Kevin Chappell -12
2016: Charley Hoffman -12
2015: Jimmy Walker -11
2022: J.J. Spaun (-13, two clear of Matt Jones and Matt Kuchar)
His opening 67 was his best round and he was the only golfer not to shoot worse than 70 on the week
Worth noting that the top-7 finishers all gained strokes on the field from the sand
2021: Jordan Spieth (-18, two clear of Charley Hoffman)
He shot 67 or better in three of four rounds and when it comes to beating Hoffman … Spieth was eight strokes better on Thursday
14 of the top-16 finishers gained proximity from 175-200 yards (iron play all the way around: 9 of the top-11 finishers gained in both the 75-100 yard and 100-125 yard buckets.
2019: Corey Conners (-20, two clear of Charley Hoffman)
Consecutive 66s over the weekend, he was the only player with four rounds in the 60s
7 of the top-13 finishers lost strokes around the green (all 13 of them gained strokes off the tee)
2018: Andrew Landry (-17, two clear of Trey Mullinax and Sean O’Hair)
The only player in the 60s for all four rounds, moving day was critical for the top of the board (all top-6 finishers shot 68 or better on Saturday, including a 62 from Mullinax to put pressure on Landry)
2017: Kevin Chappell (-12, one clear of Brooks Koepka)
Avoided the bad round (71 was his worst, five of the eight closest to Chappell carded a 73 or worse)
Seven of the top nine in terms of GIRs earned top-10 paychecks (Chappell and Koepka were two of the three best for the week in the category)
On the surface, it looks like the AM/PM will likely get the slightly better edge in terms of weather, but there’s a lot of rain/lightning projected for Thursday. And, as we’ve seen, one rain delay and the whole wave stack gets shifted. I did dedicate 20% of my lineups to AM/PM. From the AM/PM side, only Davis Riley, Matt Kuchar, and Matt Wallace are in it and above $8,500. Everyone else falls on the other side. So there was no need to go out my way to jam them in all together, as it worked out that way in a lot of lineups anyway.
Tambo’s putting everyone who RTs this in a draw for a $100 Masters Milly Maker Ticket btw
There are another 2 tickets available from Tambo & Kenny here
After talking about NFL with Cust and Feinberg the past few weeks, I decided to bring in a ringer. Kevin Cole is excellent, and has an awesome unstuck of his own if you want to join.
We touched on Lamar, Rodgers, SF QBs, and the draft, but I really enjoyed our chat about how the Lions are current the favorites in the NFC North, half the odds of the Vikings. It’s kinda bizarre.
Valero PLAY DRAFTKINGS NOTES
Tambo and I talked through the entire slate. I think I accidentally said Davis Riley is out. He’s not. It’s Davis Thompson who is OUT. So don’t use him. We spoke about getting different with he AM/PM builds if that’s the route you want to take, and some Hatton or Hatton + Hideki builds since most are off of them.
DK NOTES FROM LAST YEARS
2022: All four players that reached triple digits in DK points were priced under $8,000 with Spaun ($6,700) leading the charge
Three of the four most expensive golfers didn’t play the weekend.
2021: The top-2 DK scorers were both top-10 in DK pricing
Five of the next six top DK scorers were priced at $7,700 or cheaper
2019: Four of the top-7 DK scorers were priced at $7,000 or cheaper (Conners won at $6,400 and outscored second place by 34 DK points)
Balance was key … Kuchar was the highest scoring $10,000+ golfer and he finished 15th on the DK leaderboard.
2018: The average price of the seven top DK golfers on the week was $7,300 (min: Andrew Putnam at $6,500, max: Jimmy Walker at $8,200)
Three of the top six in DK pricing failed to make the cut
2017: Koepka was the only one of the eight most expensive golfers to finish top-13 in DK scoring (five of the top-9 scorers were priced under $7,500).
We’re doing four bracket related shows decided to breaking down each h conference in this Best Sitcom bracket. Now, I realize you may think these are awful seeds, and I agree. I did not make them. Sia Nejad did. So direct your frustration his way. But the hilariously bad seedings made for some fun back and forth. That’ll be coming soon. Rasa was especially mad about Curb’s seeding. As, I assume, we all are…