Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Valero Texas Open
He's since established himself as one of the most reliable ball-strikers on Tour, and that skillset was on full display in his two stroke victory at TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks in April 2019. He led the field in strokes gained: approach and ranked fourth in strokes gained: off the tee en route to a two-stroke victory.
We'll return to TPC San Antonio for the first time since then, with Conners now well established on Tour as a top-50 player who can get into just about any event he wants. The Oaks Course plays to 7,494 yards for its par 72, and was designed by Greg Norman with Sergio Garcia serving as the player consultant. It's been the host venue for since 2010, but this event's history stretches all the way back to 1922.
In 2011, the event moved to a sort of calendar dead zone the week after The Masters, and the course history shows few elite names largely for that reason.
With the Houston Open's move to the fall, the Valero was moved up to the slot before the Masters in 2019, and with the jam-packed 2020-21 calendar putting it right between a WGC event and The Masters, it's no surprise to see a field thin on star power.
Dustin Johnson was a late add to the field after being eliminated in group play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last week, and Tony Finau is the only other top 20 player teeing it up this week.
The course, with tree-lined fairways and narrow corridors on some holes and wide open looks on others, requires a diverse off the tee game. Native and unplayable areas border a few holes and can make for some ugly numbers. Seriously, just ask Kevin Na.
Texas winds will play a factor as they always do, and targeting golfers going off early is the way to go for single-round contests.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks
Distance: 7,494 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass overseeded with perennial ryegrass and fescue
Greens: Champion bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis and velvet bentgrass
The course picks up basically all of its length on par 3s and par 5s, with five of the eight par 4s measuring 410 yards or shorter. Each of the par 3s is at least 183 yards, and the shortest par 5 is 561 yards.
The 591-yard 18th makes for an exciting finish with both birdie and bogey in play. The Oaks Course is designed to account for the wind, with downhill holes playing into the wind and uphill holes playing downwind.
For comparable courses, we can first look to the old Houston Open venue, Golf Club of Houston. The spot on the schedule and similar field strength with bermuda greens and Texas winds make it a natural pick. Further away we can look to TPC Southwind (WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational), which -- until the recent change to WGC status -- featured a similar field and emphasis on iron play for success.
These stats will be the keys to success in the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks.
|Key Stats for the Valero Texas Open|
at TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained 175+|
Our stats this week are heavily geared toward elite iron play, as driving is just not quite as predictive of success where the field is generally less accurate due to the narrow fairways, and the difference between being a little right and way right is an essentially unplayable/out of bounds. If we had to pinpoint one, we'd say accuracy over distance this week, but really our focus is on the second shot as befits a course where Garcia consulted on the design.
There will be plenty of wedges in hand this week, but by and large the separation will come on the holes that require a longer shot into the green. Given the distance on the par 3s and par 5s, we'll parse through proximity from over 175 yards, which will include a bucket of 175-200 yards and a bucket of 200-plus yards.
Opportunities gained gives us another way to look at approach play and should help us pick up the shorter shots in as well but pointing toward the golfers who knock it the close with regularity.
The par 5s here are no cakewalk and regularly play as among the highest average to par on Tour. Taking advantage of the par 5s is essential on any par 72 course with four such birdie chances, but especially so at the Valero Texas Open.
Course History Studs
Charley Hoffman has played here every year since 2011, with finishes of 2nd, 13th, 3rd, 11th, 11th, 1st, 40th, 64th, and 2nd.
Kevin Chappell won is 2017 and has three other top 15 finishes, including a runner-up back in 2011.
Jimmy Walker won this event in 2015, and after missing the cut his first two tries in 2011 and 2012, he's finished 31st, 16th, 1st, MC, 13th, 4th, and 30th.
Ryan Palmer is another staple in the field and, despite missed cuts the last two times this event was held in 2018 and 2019, his finishes the three years before that were 6th, 4th, and 6th.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.