PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Valero Texas Open (2022)
Scottie Scheffler secured his third win on the PGA Tour this season during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, this past weekend. The 25-year old has won three times in his previous five events, joining elite company as only the sixth player to be ranked No. 1 at 25 years old. This includes No. 1 in the FedExCup and Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), which is a remarkable feat. Scheffler will take this weekend to rest up as the PGA Tour resumes its default four-round solo competition with the traditional cut line enforced after the first two rounds.
While Scheffler won’t be competing, the PGA Tour will not stray far, exchanging Austin for San Antonio at the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course). Many high-caliber prospects are competing at Valero, including defending champion Jordan Spieth, who dominated with elite putting and strong scrambling in the gusty winds of San Antonio. The course layout will be a relief to many players who experienced any part of the grueling four-week stretch of Florida courses, which had high primary rough and numerous bodies of water to navigate.
Let’s break down the layout of the Oaks Course and identify the best value prospects available to roster on the upcoming slate during the 2022 Valero Texas Open.
- 2021 – Jordan Spieth (-18)
- 2020 – N/A
- 2019 – Corey Conners (-20)
- 2018 – Andrew Landry (-17)
- 2017 – Kevin Chappell (-12)
- 2016 – Charley Hoffman (-12)
Relevant Betting Stats
- Driver accuracy percentage
- Greens in Regulation (GIR) percentage
- Par 5 scoring
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
The Oaks Course is a par 72 that stretches to 7,438 yards and challenges players with directional wind patterns instead of the bodies of water and tall rough that was rampant in Florida. The greens are medium-sized at roughly 6,400 square feet and are overseeded, as is the entire course, with Poa trivialis that measures just under 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. The slow pace of the greens, combined with their relatively large size, will be necessary to stay under-par if the winds pick up.
An even mixture of par 3s and par 5s creates eight holes that veer off the standard par 4s, with a three-hole stretch to end the course that features a par 3, par 4, and par 5. As a result, water hazards are not a threat at Oaks Course. Instead, the massive sand bunkers flanking the fairways and greens pose the biggest challenge. Long, thin fairways, many of which are doglegs, force players to produce strong drives or tee shots that don’t veer off into the trees or sand bunkers. It also implements sloped inclines or declines within most greens, so reaching the green does not guarantee success.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Rory McIlroy ($11,200)
Rory McIlroy has not competed at Valero since 2013, where he finished runner-up with a -12-under-par outing. The 32-year old Irishman has not competed at many events thus far this season, meaning he’s well-rested and ready for the challenge at Oaks Course, where he finished strong after going even during the opening round back in 2013. McIlroy had his worst finish of the season at The Players Championship a couple of weeks ago, where he went T33 (-3) due to his first three rounds winding up over-par before a strong Sunday performance. Don’t let a slow start worry you, as McIlroy has proven time and time again that he’s clutch and saves his best ball for when it’s most needed. Yes, he’s the most expensive player on DraftKings, but there’s a reason. McIlroy is also the betting favorite to win at +750 odds, so invest in the top prospect on the slate, who has had substantial past success at Valero.
Chris Kirk ($9,400)
36-year old American Chris Kirk is among the best values on the Valero slate. He’s certainly not had the best season out of every prospect competing this weekend, but Kirk has recent finishes of T14, T7, and T5 before missing the cut line at The Players Championship a couple of weeks ago. Kirk has an accurate driver and is among the best in total strokes gained categories, averaging 1.317 per round, ranking 15th on the PGA Tour this season. These skills will elevate certain players over others during the four rounds at Oaks Course, but this is not the only reason validating Kirk’s presence in DFS lineups this weekend. He drew previous finishes of T6 in 2021 and T8 in 2018 at Valero. Kirk has +3500 odds to win, which gives him the sixth-best odds among the field alongside Keegan Bradley, Si-Woo Kim, and Maverick McNealy, to name a few. Kirk is a fantastic value and should yield tons of production in DFS lineups in San Antonio this weekend.
Charley Hoffman ($8,200)
Charley Hoffman has not been on his A-game lately, but he’ll return to a site he’s familiar with due to previous success. The 45-year old American has missed consecutive cut lines in his last two events while finishing outside of the top 60 in the recent events where he could play the full four rounds. Hoffman has only one finish inside the top 25, which occurred way back in September at the Fortinet Championship. So why am I recommending this veteran? First, the salary is tremendously low. Second, Hoffman has one of the more robust drivers on the Tour, averaging 307 yards per attempt while generating roughly four birdies per round. This is currency to chase in DFS. Lastly, Hoffman finished as the runner-up at Valero twice in its previous two events, going 16-under-par in 2021 and delivering another 18-under-par performance in 2019. This is his most significant appeal by far. Hoffman has been playing horribly as of late, so his salary is so low. Take a leap of faith and plug in the grizzled veteran at one of his favorite courses this weekend.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000
Abraham Ancer ($11,400)
31-year old Mexican Abraham Ancer is coming off of a T5 finish in Match Play at the WGC-Dell Technologies in Austin this past weekend, which should create some momentum for him entering Valero. Ancer does have a couple of top-ten finishes this season as a solo competitor, but this has not occurred since November. Ancer is equipped with a ton of talent, and his skill set matches the rigors of the windy deceptive fairways at Oaks Course. His driving accuracy percentage, which ranks 11th on Tour, combined with his ability to remain solid in strokes gained off-the-tee, makes Ancer an intriguing prospect to consider. Yes, he’s expensive. However, Ancer has finished T23, T42, T58, and T42 in previous appearances at Oaks Course. This is encouraging in terms of Ancer’s ability to make the cut line while also possessing the confidence from last weekend and an accurate driver to remain situated for success on Valero’s long, thin fairways. Pay up to roster a player who has the fifth-highest odds at +2200 to win the 2022 Valero Texas Open.
Gary Woodland ($10,800)
Quietly flying under the radar this season, 37-year old American Gary Woodland has numerous reasons to feel confident heading into Thursday’s opening round at Valero. Woodland has finished T39, T5, T5, and T21 over the last two months, which is impressive considering the noted difficulty in courses throughout the Florida leg from mid-February to mid-March. Woodland has a powerful but inaccurate driver, which could spell trouble on his opening shots off the tee. However, if he successfully transitions to irons off the tee, expect Woodland to rise up the leaderboards. He’s exceptional in nearly every strokes gained category, including putting, which is the formula Jordan Spieth relied on during his win at Valero last season. Woodland is still reasonably high-priced, but you won’t regret rostering him come Sunday. His previous two appearances at Valero in 2021 and 2015 resulted in finishes of T6 and T26, which are fantastic results. This is a course Woodland has found massive success at in the past, so fire him up and watch another strong performance occur this weekend.
Sahith Theegala ($9,900)
This has been Sahith Theegala’s breakout campaign. The 24-year old American has dazzled at times, producing three top-ten finishes, including a third-place finish at the WM Phoenix Open, which launched him squarely into the spotlight. Theegala had a couple of missed cuts in the Florida leg but rebounded with a T7 finish at Valspar a couple of weeks ago, thanks to going four-under-par in three of its four rounds. He is very precise with his irons, which is why Theegala has managed to elevate his game this season. Ranked 68th in total strokes gained and 52nd in strokes gained tee-to-green, Theegala will be comfortable on some of Valero’s challenging par 3 holes. He’s another prospect who averages nearly four birdies per round, which will allow the DFS points to accumulate quickly in lineups this weekend. At under $10,000, Theegala is a considerable value during his debut at the Valero Texas Open.
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