This weekly article is going to breakdown past performances by players at the course the tour is visiting for the week. Specifically we will be looking at who has had success at a given course, who hasn’t, and what sorts of statistics or trends you should pay close attention to when making your fantasy golf rosters on DraftKings. This article is more about alerting you to certain trends and giving you the tools to succeed than simply recommending certain plays.
This is a regular tour event with a full 144 man field. The cut will take place after Friday with top 70 and ties moving on.
The field itself will be much weaker than last week but there are still some top players in the field. Many of the top players will be focused on Augusta (only two weeks away) and will be either resting or using the Texas swing as a tune up. Some top players who will be in attendance include Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Martin Kaymer. Several players in this field will be looking to either notch their first win or land a high finish to qualify for the Masters. These may be players worth targeting this week as long shots have traditionally fared quite well here.
TPC San Antonio, Par 72 -7400-7500 yards (depending on setup)
TPC San Antonio is a relatively new course on the PGA Tour. While the tournament itself has been around for a while, TPC San Antonio only opened back in 2010. It’s a long par 72 track and has traditionally played quite hard. The greens are usually quite firm and fast and the entire course is open to the wind. And if you’ve ever been to Texas, you know it can get quite windy there. Weather may play a factor this week and I’d recommend checking to see if certain days might be worse than others.
Last Five Winners
1) Steven Bowditch
2) Martin Laird
3) Ben Curtis
4) Brendan Steele
5) Adam Scott
What Will it Take to Succeed at The Valero Texas Open?
A solid and accurate tee to green game and a good short game. The course has played quite tough the last few years and so outright power may not be as large a factor as it has been in weeks prior. Players will need to limit damage and stay out of trouble when possible. Additionally, players who are good in the wind and have had some success in Texas before will have an advantage.
Who has had Success Here?
Players with a strong short game and a penchant for staying out of trouble. Even though the course has only been in use since 2010, you can start to see some trends already, it rewards accurate driving and good scrambling. Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk have never won here but do have 3 top ten’s between them in the past 3 years, and both have top 5 finishes at TPC San Antonio. Charley Hoffman seems to absolutely love the course and has not missed the cut at this event since it moved to TPC San Antonio, this includes a 2nd (2011) and a 3rd (2013). Martin Flores, a Texas native, seems to really love playing in the wind, his last three finishes here read 16-10-24. Finally, it’s hard to overlook Daniel Summerhays who has improved every time in his past three visits going 2-7-29.
Who has Struggled Here?
Given that TPC San Antonio has only been on tour for 5 years, there isn’t a huge amount of data to look back on. Still, it’s interesting to note that some of the bigger hitters have struggled here. Harris English has visited TPC San Antonio twice and never finished above 61st place. Jimmy Walker has played here each of the past four years and missed the cut twice. And finally, Gary Woodland has played at TPC San Antonio twice since it opened and had a missed cut and a 75th. The sample size for many of these players are small but it does seem to be trending in the direction of favoring accuracy over power. And if the wind picks up it should favor the accurate drivers even more.
What Statistics are Important?
Total Driving and Scrambling are two of the most important stats to focus on for the week. Last year saw some of the best scramblers and most accurate drivers on tour do quite well here. However, it being a long course, long drivers can still have some kind of advantage. The key might be the weather, as the wind picks up, accuracy will become even more important. Steven Bowditch, last year’s winner, is not an accurate driver but he put on a scrambling clinic last year to hold on and win his first tournament.
Look for players who can grind it out in tough conditions. Players who have had past success in Texas or other windy courses might be well worth a look. Total driving and driving accuracy look like key stats to target, along with players who are good around the greens. Finally, keep an eye on the weather, if it looks like wind is going to be a huge factor, you might want to leave the power hitters at home as high ball flights will get punished more severely. Conversely a calm week might mean that chancing some of the big hitters is an OK play.
My Pick to Win: Brendon Todd
Todd’s been playing very sound golf lately. He started the season somewhat slowly but his putter has started to heat up in recent weeks. He’s a straight hitter with a very above average short game and is currently ranked 13th in scrambling. He finished 6th here last year in tough conditions, and if the course plays the same he should be in contention when Sunday rolls around.