Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Valero Texas Open Cash and GPP Strategy

Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Valero Texas Open Cash and GPP Strategy

Valero Texas Open

San Antonio, Texas
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) - Par 72 - 7,438 yards
Field - 156 entrants
Purse - $9.2M

The Preview

One final Masters invite remains up for grabs this week as the PGA Tour heads a couple hundred miles west from Houston to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, which serves as the last stop before the calendar year's most celebrated week in golf. The nearly 7,500-yard Oaks Course invites ample distance off the tee while featuring long par-5s and slow bermuda greens that are overseeded with poa trivialis to combat potentially windy conditions, given a Texan breeze typically acts as this layout's primary defense. Hotter afternoon temps are in the forecast for Rounds 1 and 2 before scattered showers possibly dampen the venue Saturday and Sunday morning. In terms of difficulty, only one past champion has been able to reach the 20-under-par mark since the event's transition to TPC San Antonio in 2010.

Recent Champions

2023 - Corey Conners
2022 - J.J. Spaun
2021 - Jordan Spieth
2020 - None
2019 - Corey Conners
2018 - Andrew Landry
2017 - Kevin Chappell
2016 - Charley Hoffman
2015 - Jimmy Walker
2014 - Steven Bowditch

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
Driving distance
Bogey avoidance
Par-5 scoring

Yahoo Value Picks

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Ludvig Aberg - $42

A $45 McIlroy is the obvious alpha target with odds as short as 8/1 to win this week, but Aberg isn't far behind as the 24-year-old Swede makes his first start since an eighth-place result at THE PLAYERS Championship, where he finished fourth among the field in SG: Tee-to-Green while losing 1.2 strokes with the flat stick. Aberg is riding a streak of five straight top-25s since the Farmers Insurance Open, and in addition to being one of the best drivers on Tour, over his last 24 rounds he's No. 1 in both Prox: 75-100 and Prox: 150-175, third in P3: 200-225, fourth in Opportunities Gained and seventh in Bogey Avoidance.

Hideki Matsuyama - $40

Matsuyama is on a bit of a heater with finishes of T12-T6 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS after his win at The Genesis Invitational, ascending to the No. 1 spot among this week's field in SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Around-the-Green over his last 24 rounds. He posted a T15 here at TPC San Antonio last year when he gained seven strokes ball-striking.

Glue Guys

Corey Conners - $34

One of only two players in the field to rank top-10 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach over their last 24 rounds, Conners will look to become a three-time Valero Texas Open champion as he defends his most-recent 2023 victory here. The Canadian has averaged a ridiculous 8.4 strokes gained from tee to green across his first five career trips to TPC San Antonio, and in terms of recent form, he's been on the positive side of SG: T2G in nine consecutive outings dating back to The RSM Classic in November.

Billy Horschel - $31

Rebounding from his third missed cut of the season at THE PLAYERS Championship, Horschel appears to be rounding back into form after placing T12-T7 in his last two starts at the Valspar Championship and the Texas Children's Houston Open, gaining a combined 12.2 strokes from tee to green across these eight recent rounds as well. He paced the Houston Open field with a six-under 64 in the final round at Memorial Park this past Sunday, and his Valero Texas Open resume includes four finishes of T11 or better in nine career showings.

Akshay Bhatia - $30

Not only did Bhatia lead the field in driving accuracy last week, but he also posted a career-best 7.9 strokes gained on his approach shots in Houston where he added his second straight top-20 finish since a stretch of three missed cuts from the WM Phoenix Open to THE PLAYERS. The 22-year-old is long and straight with the driver, as evidenced by the fact that he's gained strokes off the tee in each of the eight measured events that he's played this season, rising to 15th on Tour in Total Driving.

Bargain Bin

Ryan Moore - $20

The putter has been a major issue for Moore as he's lost an average of 3.2 strokes on the greens per event throughout his last five starts, but his irons are absolutely on fire right now, and such quality ball-striking upside is typically difficult to find at the $20 minimum. En route to finishes of T31-T5-T45 since THE PLAYERS Championship, he gained a collective 19.7 strokes on approach, so he's No. 1 among the Valero field in SG: APP over his last 12 rounds by a decent margin. Moore also has finished 18th or better in four of six career Valero Texas Open outings, so the course history bump figures to further inflate his ownership.

Andrew Novak - $20

Novak notched a solo-ninth here at TPC San Antonio last year in just his second VTO appearance when he gained a career-high 7.7 strokes on these greens. Within the past two months, he racked up three consecutive top-10s from the WM Phoenix Open through the Cognizant Classic before adding another top-20 at the Valspar Championship, improving to 11th in both Bogey Avoidance and SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds. From a season-long perspective, he's 10th in Prox: 200-plus and 17th in SG: Total.

Bud Cauley - $20

When the cards flip Thursday morning, I'd expect to see the aforementioned Moore and Novak draw the highest ownership among the $20 punt plays in GPPs, which could allow for Cauley to slip through the cracks as a single-digit percentage flier. Over his last 12 rounds, Cauley finds himself top-10 in both Bogey Avoidance and Prox: 175-200, but he's also gained an average of 3.4 strokes from tee to green per event through his first four starts of the 2024 season. He ranked T2 in scrambling and seventh in SG: APP this past week at the Houston Open, but the putter didn't cooperate. If positive regression awaits for Cauley on the greens in San Antonio, his ball striking can certainly be good enough for a top-25 effort.

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