This is the last stop on the Tour before the Masters – the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. We break down the light field highlighted by Rory McIlroy and pick a trio of golfers – including Canadian Corey Conners – who are expected to be around for big weeks.
With the Masters fast approaching, the Tour heads to TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, providing a lightweight field the opportunity to get their games in shape in time for Augusta National.
While Valero Texas Open odds have Rory and Spieth as favorites, many Tour superstars are taking the week off in preparation for next week, leaving the door open for not-so-stellar names.
We break down the field and highlight a favorite, a sleeper and a longshot worth supporting before things kick off on Thursday, March 31.
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Valero Texas Open absolute picks
Among the favorites: Corey Conners (+1,600)
There are only two guys on this week’s roster above 2019 Valero Texas Open champion Corey Conners – Rory McIlroy and last year’s winner Jordan Spieth.
Rory’s +700 odds are far too short to consider supporting and I just haven’t seen much to suggest a win coming for Spieth, especially compared to the form he was in a while ago. year.
That brings us to Canadian Corey Conners, who could have a much higher chance of winning this week – and a much better chance.
He’s made three starts here at TPC San Antonio — T26 in 2018, a two-stroke win in 2019 and T14 in 2021 — and while his form has been oddly hit-or-miss to start 2022, his game is finally in shape. for the most important part of the Tour program.
He started the year with a streak of three missed cuts in five starts, but has since gone T11 at Bay Hill, T26 at the PLAYERS roller coaster and third solo at the Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, winning six of his seven games. .
Still (33rd), few guys in this area rank better than Conners at TPC San Antonio. He’s played 12 rounds here and ranks in the Top 5 in total strokes won as well as strokes won off the tee, tee to green and approach. He also has tied for the best aggregate score alongside Charley Hoffman dating back to 2017 (30-under).
It’s a dream and while many of the top dogs this week – including Conners – will have their eyes on next week’s Masters, the 30-year-old Canadian returns to TPC San Antonio in great shape, with a ton of great memories, and a solid opportunity to claim his second Tour victory.
Sleeper to watch: Chris Kirk (+2,800)
Chris Kirk is a name that should have some buzz behind it this week. He’s on the board at +2800.
It has already bet below 30/1 after opening the week in the 40/1 range, but despite the drop in value, there are still good reasons to watch it this week.
Aside from a missed cut at TPC Sawgrass, Kirk has already dwelt on a handful of Sunday rankings this season and entered PLAYERS Week on a strong run of T14s at Phoenix, T7s at Honda and T5s at Bay Hill.
He has improved his ranking in all major strokes gained categories compared to 2021 and some of his 2022 ratings might be a little surprising – 10th from tee to green (38th last year), 16th around green (24th) and 15th overall. (41st).
Combine his solid form with T6 and T8 finishes in two of his last three starts at TPC San Antonio and you have the recipe for a guy who could knock on the door on Sunday afternoon.
He should also have extra motivation. Kirk has no place at Augusta National next week
Longshot worth seeing: Charley Hoffman (+5,000)
I don’t know if Charley Hoffman at 50/1 falls under “watch-worthy longshot” status, but we can’t ignore the guy with possibly the best Valero Texas Open resume on the Tour – so let’s dive- y.
Hoffman’s resume at TPC San Antonio cannot be overstated – 11 cuts made in 11 starts, including a win in 2016, three runners-up (2011, 2019, 2021), a third-place finish and four other finishes inside the Top 15.
He struggled with injuries to start the calendar year and is stuck in a funk of missed cuts and poor finishes, but you’d be crazy not to consider the TPC San Antonio staple at number 50/1.