The PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the second of four Lone Star State events in 2018, with the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio taking center stage.
While it’s one of the oldest on the schedule (96 years ago), with a decent position on the calendar – two weeks after the Masters, and two weeks before THE PLAYERS, the Valero has historically had a tough time drawing big names.
This year is no different, as Sergio Garcia (No. 10), who assisted Greg Norman with the design of the Oaks Course – the host venue, is the only player in the field ranked in the top 20. With that, it’s not a huge surprise to see the Spaniard as the tournament favorite at 14-1, despite making just one start (way back in 2010) at the course he helped lay out.
World No. 21 Matt Kuchar is offered at 18-1, while Valero top-10 machine Charley Hoffman is at 20-1. Luke List, who owns three top 10s, and an additional top 20, in his last six starts, is next at 22-1. Ryan Moore (25-1), who is starting to round into form, and defending champion Kevin Chappell (28-1) are the only other players available under 30-1.
Adam Scott, a perennial top-10 player for years, has fallen on hard times as of late, and so here he is listed at 30-1 against a weak field. Billy Horschel, who posted his first top 10 (T5) in nearly a year at Harbour Town, is also at 30-1. Xander Schauffele (33-1), Brandt Snedeker (35-1), and Chesson Hadley (35-1) round out the top 10 favorites.
THREE PROP BETS
1. Charley Hoffman (Prop: Top 5, +450): Hoffman has played in this event for 12 consecutive years, and has never missed a cut. In 10 of those starts, he’s posted a top-15 finish, which includes a victory in 2016, a T2 in 2011, and T3 in 2013. If you read that as an indicator that he loves this course, you would be right — since the event moved to the Oaks Course in 2010, Hoffman has played it in an aggregate 41-under par. – Carey Hoffman
WAGER: We’re putting $100 down on Charley to win $450.
2. Sergio Garcia (Prop: Top 10, +125): World No. 10 Sergio Garcia will be playing on a course he helped Greg Norman design for only the second time, the first since its debut in this event in 2010. Prior to his well-documented flame out at Augusta, Garcia had been in a very solid stretch, with three straight top-10 finishes. It’s hard to see the Spaniard not finishing in the top 10 against such an historically weak field. – Carey Hoffman
WAGER: We’re taking Sergio for a top-10 finish at $200 to win $250.
3. Joaquin Niemann (Prop: Top South American, +500) One of the most talented amateur players in some time, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann is making the Valero Texas Open his professional debut. Just 19 years old, Niemann has held the No. 1 spot in the world amateur rankings for the past 48 weeks, second-most all time (Patrick Cantlay, 54 weeks). Niemann is already credited with six professional wins, mostly tearing up South America.
WAGER: We’re taking Niemann for $200 to win $1,000 against fellow South Americans Jon Vegas (+110), Fabian Gomez (+300), and Camilo Villegas (+300).
Tournament: Valero Texas Open
Dates: April 19-22, 2018
Where: San Antonio, Texas
Course: TPC San Antonio — AT&T Oaks Course
Distance: Par 72, 7,435 yards
Architect: Greg Norman
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $1,116,000
Defending Champion: Kevin Chappell