I took last week off for the RBC Heritage Classic because I was busy with articles and contests for the NHL playoffs which began last week. Truth be told, I also had a significant Masters hangover and after all of that excitement I just wasn’t really ready to do the work researching the RBC the week after the biggest tourney in golf. All of that said, I’m back at it this week with my 6 picks for the Valero Texas Open. It’s another event with a fairly weak field, but I think there are a few very solid long shot plays, which I will be focusing on this week because I don’t think one of the favourites will take it down.
As always I will be looking primarily at recent form and course history, but I will be focusing on bombers off the tee and players with solid tee to green stats. I’ve heard that the rough is cut shorter than in the past, which should help bombers because the rough won’t be as penal if the ball rolls out of the fairway. I’m also not going to be looking at putting too much because the putting always seems to be a little bit wonky at this tournament so it’s easiest to just throw out the putting stats and hope one of the bombers figures out the greens and gets the ball rolling well over the weekend.
Below I’ll provide my 6 top outright winner picks for the week. I’ll be using the best odds available from any of our top rated sportsbooks which you can see in the table below.
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As you can see I’m going with the long shots for this tournament. There’s just not the high quality players in the tournament who can really lap the field and in the past it has not been big names taking this tourney down on many occasions.
Jamie Lovemark 90/1
Lovemark is a strange player because in these weaker field events sometimes you see him lower than 50/1 and sometimes you see him up near 100/1. It all depends on the chatter heading into the tournament. In these events he’s not a great play if his odds were 50/1, but at 90/1 he’s an absolute steal. He ranks 25th on tour in driving distance and also has a great tee to green game ranked 50th. Lovemark’s length and ball striking should give him plenty of looks this week and if he can get the putter rolling he has a great shot to be in contention on the weekend.
Cameron Smith 110/1
Smith has not played this tournament in the past, but it should fit his game very well. He has the ability to go low and has the length to put himself in good positions off the tee. This guy has a ton of talent and it’s only a matter of time before he puts it all together and wins a tournament. At these odds I think he’s a great play this week in a weak field to get the job done.
Scott Piercy 110/1
Piercy checks my stats categories this week ranking 51st in driving distance and 66th in greens in regulation (both of which are fairly good for this field). He also knows how to go low with a birdie or better % ranking 12th on tour. Piercy is a very hot and cold golfer, and he’s been cold of late having missed his last two cuts. He’s played this tournament 3 times and has made the cut each time, but has yet to string together 4 solid rounds. That said, he has gone low at this course with rounds of 64 and 65 in those appearances. If he can put together two of those low rounds and hold around par in the other two rounds he has a great shot at winning this tournament. At this price I think he’s a great play.
Andrew Johnston 140/1
Beef has the length off the tee to shorten this course and I’ve been impressed with his game since coming over to the PGA Tour. He does have the odd blowup round that can really hurt his chances in a tournament (he shot a 76 in round 4 last week after being in a good position heading into Sunday), but if he can put 4 rounds together he has the ability to go low, which is what you want in a potential winner. I think it’s a matter of time before Johnston wins on the PGA Tour and this course should fit his game.
Cameron Percy 200/1
Percy has played well here in the past. He missed the cut last year, but finished 15th, 37th and 22nd in his previous three trips, shooing in 60’s in one round of each of those tournaments. Percy has the game for this course with a long drive and solid tee to green play. If he can combine two of those rounds in the 60’s into the same tournament he should be among the leaders come Sunday with a chance at the win.
Xander Schauffele 300/1
Schauffele is a bomber who has the skill to win one of these weaker field events. He’s a Web.com tour graduate and at only 23 years old he was able to get his PGA Tour card after just one season on the Web.com. He’s the real deal, his game should fit this course and at these odds he’s worth a flyer.
**I should have my DK targets up soon as well.