Valero Texas Open Golf 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The PGA Tour remains in the state of Texas this week for the Texas Open, the final tournament before the sport heads to its spring home for The Masters, so this event offers up the chance for someone to secure their place at Augusta and the rest to finalise their preparations for it.

Corey Conners won this title for a second time in 2023 and he will be in the field looking to make a successful defence and win a third Texas Open. Given where we are in the calendar a decent enough field has been assembled for the event.

Recent Winners

2023 – Corey Conners

2022 – J.J. Spaun

2021 – Jordan Spieth

2019 – Corey Conners

2018 – Andrew Landry

2017 – Kevin Chappell

2016 – Charley Hoffman

2015 – Jimmy Walker

2014 – Steven Bowditch

2013 – Martin Laird

The Course

Once again the tournament takes place at TPC San Antonio this week. This is one of the tougher courses on the circuit when the wind blows which is interesting because next week at Augusta the players are going to be on a scoreable course. The wind is expected to be relevant for the middle two days of this event and we might even get some rain in amongst the wind on the final day so the players are going to need to manage the conditions well.

The track is a par 72 which measures 7,438 yards with some lengthy par 5s which even the longer hitters can’t reach. The trick to this place is hitting these large, undulating greens in regulation and then holing putts on them. This is becoming one of the biggest ball striker tracks on the PGA Tour. This isn’t going to be a shootout so the players who are proficient and accurate with the longer clubs are the ones most likely to contend.

The Field

You wouldn’t expect the strongest field known to man this week given how close we are to Augusta but there are still some decent names teeing it up in Sam Antonio, although as ever it needs to be assessed whether they are here to win or just to get some competitive reps in ahead of next week. Players who would fall into that category include Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Max Homa among others.

Corey Conners being here as the defending champion offers something extra to the field this week while European stars Ludvig Aberg, Matt Fitzpatrick, Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood all have a tee time here. Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel are in the field while the international charge alongside Matsuyama and Conners will be led by Byeong-Hun An, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Adam Scott, Tom Kim and Erik van Rooyen.

Market Leaders

Rory McIlroy is a 10/1 favourite and he is probably the most interesting player in the field as he wouldn’t normally play the week before The Masters but so desperate is he to claim the Grand Slam next week he has changed up his preparation. I just can’t believe that he is here to win here though. I think this is all about staying active ahead of next week and even if he is here to attempt to win I don’t think the course necessarily suits him so he isn’t for me.

Ludvig Aberg comes next in the betting at 12/1 this week. The first thing is whether he is here to win or just shake off some rust ahead of next week. He hasn’t played since The Players Championship so he might need to shake off some rust. He is such a pure driver of the ball though that if he is on it from the start of the week he could do some damage around here but he makes his major debut next week and surely that will be at the forefront of his mind.

Hideki Matsuyama and Jordan Spieth comes next in the betting at 22/1 and as former champions at The Masters both will be eyeing up next week but could be of interest this week. Matsuyama usually plays the week before a major and this course couldn’t suit him any better if it tried. Spieth also plays the week before a big tournament and this is his home state so he might have his mind on winning here more than one or two others in the field.

The defending champion Corey Conners and Max Homa come next at 25/1 this week. I’m not a fan of backing defending champions but Conners’ record around here is about as good as you are going to get so he will interest plenty I’m sure. Homa has the tools to go well here too although the very tip of his form might just be behind him. It might be significant that this is his first attempt at this event in five years so he might just be here to stay warm for next week.

Main Bets

I’ve been waiting for the time to get on Matthew Fitzpatrick this year. To be fair to the Sheffield man, 2024 hasn’t been great at all for him but he is someone who in the time off between seasons tends to work a lot on his weaknesses to improve as a player and we often see his early PGA Tour form, at last in the last couple of years, take a while to fire into life but make no mistake about it Fitzpatrick remains one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour and we know he can win at this level. He has won the US Open and will be defending The RBC Heritage in a couple of weeks, further evidence that he comes good around this time of year. Fitzpatrick finished with a top five at Sawgrass last time out and you don’t finish that high around there if you are not hitting the ball well and he sits at 10 in the ball striking rankings on the PGA Tour this season. It hasn’t been a dreadful start to the year for the Englishman but expectations are so high that more would have been expected of him. He can put that right this week.

Another player who looks to be warming up to the challenge at the minute is Billy Horschel and he is another elite ball striker who is capable of winning at the top level. He has a WGC win on his CV having won the Matchplay and he has also won the flagship event on the DP World Tour in the BMW PGA Championship. He looks to be trending in the right direction to me. He finished in the top 10 at PGA National which is a ball strikers paradise, narrowly missed the cut at Sawgrass and has gone T12-T7 since then and finished with a wonderful 64 in Houston last week. He is one above Fitzpatrick on the ball striking chart this season and when you consider that a couple above him on that list aren’t here this week he has to have an excellent chance.

Outsiders

I’ll go with a couple of outsiders who sit high up in the ball striking rankings as I really do think that is going to be important this week. Erik van Rooyen is just inside the top 20 for that and he has been in decent form in the last couple of months. He has gone T25-T20-MC-T8-T2-T25-MC since The American Express with the missed cuts having shot one under in Phoenix and one over at Sawgrass. The top 10s were in Mexico and at the Cognizant where he opened the first week with a 63 and closed the second week with one so he is clearly scoring pretty well. He has won on the PGA Tour on two occasions, both where the breeze is a factor. I think he’s a solid outside bet here.

There is an all or nothing look to the form of Kevin Yu. He has made four cuts from nine starts and has converted three of those weekends into top 10 finishes, at The American Express, Farmers Insurance Championship and the Cognizant Classic so the latter two have come at tough tracks. That is probably no surprise because he sits in second place on the PGA Tour this season for ball striking and is the first player on that list I’ll consider because Keith Mitchell is firmly on my blacklist after he bombed out in the final round of the Valspar carrying my money. At a three-figure price, a player who rarely deviates from the short grass and who has converted for three top 10 finishes this year feels like a decent bet in a field which is weaker than normal anyway and where many of those have their eyes on next week.

Tips

Back M.Fitzpatrick to win Valero Texas Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back B.Horschel to win Valero Texas Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back E.van Rooyen to win Valero Texas Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 71.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

Back K.Yu to win Valero Texas Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)

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