The Valero Texas Open (April 4-7) is the final chance for players on the PGA Tour to fine tune their games before next week’s US Masters. However, this tournament is very much a big event in its own right, rewarding the winner with a first prize of over $1 Million and 500 Fedex Cup points.
The Valero Texas Open dates back to 1922, but form students need only look back to 2010. That is when the event moved to its current home at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, which is a Par 72 layout measuring over 7,400 yards.
The course takes its name from the tall oak trees that border the fairways at this Greg Norman-design and avoiding them is essential. The course also features a variety of elevation changes, but the uphill holes tend to play downwind and downhill holes into the wind. The course tends to rank in the top-10 hardest courses to play on the PGA Tour each season.
Valero Texas Open 2019 Market Leaders
As is often the case in the week before a major, many of the top players in the world are absent from this week’s field. That means the betting is headed by Rickie Fowler, who is the only one of the top-14 ranked players in the world playing this week. However, having chosen to give last week’s WGC Match Play a miss, he may just be happy to use this week as an opportunity to practice a few shots he might be using at Augusta next week.
It’s also asking a lot of Matt Kuchar to get in contention this week after he played seven matches at Austin County Club last week. That means that Tony Finau looks the most interesting of the market leaders this week as he was third here in 2017 and this looks a great opportunity for him to record another victory in a weaker than normal field.
Two Golfers With Course & Current Form
The other angle in this week is to back players that aren’t currently playing in next week’s first major of the season, as that means this tournament is their number one priority. Two players with decent course and current form to catch the eye are Aaron Baddeley and Ryan Palmer.
Baddeley has recently finished runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open and seventh in the Dominican Republic last week. This week’s field isn’t much stronger than the fields assembled for those events and he’s posted three top-5 finishes here, including in 2017.
Ryan Palmer has also posted some decent finishes in his home state of Texas and he finished fourth here in 2016 and sixth in both of the years either side of that top-5 finish. He did miss the cut at the Players Championship on his last start, but a repeat of the form he showed in finishing fourth at the Honda Classic two starts ago would see him go close here.
Valero Texas Open 2019 Tips
- Tony Finau (Each-Way)
- Aaron Baddeley (Each-Way)
- Ryan Palmer (Each-Way)