The Confidence Factor: Valero Texas Open Preview 2019

The city of San Antonio is the longest-serving host of a TOUR event and is the third-longest running non-major.

Andrew Landry returns to defend his first victory on TOUR.

Boot scoot boogie, eh?

Valero Texas Open

AT&T Oaks Course

TPC San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

Oaks Course Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,435
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: 6,400 square feet; Champion Bermuda over-seeded with Poa Trivialis and Velvet Bentgrass.
Stimpmeter: 11′
Rough: Bandera Bermuda over-seeded with fescue and ryegrass at 2″.
Bunkers: 64
Water Hazards: 3
Architect(s): Greg Norman (2010); Player-consultant Sergio Garcia.
Purse: $7.5 million; $1.35 million, 500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion: Andrew Landry (-17)
Notes: Field of 144; If not eligible already, the winner receives the final spot in the Masters next week.
Notes II: The Oaks Course will host for the 10th-consecutive year. Any history prior is worthless.

History Lessons

Previous Winners:

Year Winner   Comment
       
2018 Andrew Landry -17 Tournament record; only player with all four rounds in the 60’s; fourth first-time winner in nine events here.
2017 Kevin Chappell -12 Closed with 68 to hold the 54-hole lead and pick up victory No. 1 on TOUR.
2016 Charley Hoffman -12 Made up a two-shot deficit in the final round with 69 to win by a shot.
2015 Jimmy Walker -11 Local ran away, winning by four, as the event was held the final weekend of March.
2014 Steven Bowditch -8 Shot 76 and won by a shot for his first TOUR victory.
2013 Martin Laird -14 Equaled the low tournament score here set by Adam Scott in 2010, the first year.
2012 Ben Curtis -9 Beat other short-knockers Matt Every and John Huh by two.
2011 Brendan Steele -8 Held off two future winners, Hoffman and Chappell, for his first win on TOUR.
2010 Adam Scott -14 Set the marker in the inaugural event at TPC San Antonio.

Recent History Lessons

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

The Oaks Course has been the host since 2010. Any information from previous courses in San Antonio won’t be of any use for course historians.

Tournament Record: 271 (-17); Landry
Course Record: 62; Trey Mullinax, Round 3, 2018.
Recent Defending Champion: There has never been a champion defend.
Multiple Winners (entered) No multiple winners.
First TOUR Win: Four times, last was Landry.
First-time in the field: Steele and Curtis.
Low Round 2018: 62; Mullinax.
Odd Fact: Only Texans to win the event are Landry and Walker.

The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Inside the ropes

With one eye on the Masters next week, it wouldn’t surprise me again this season to see another unknown jump up and steal the plaudits. Only 10 players from the OWGR top 50 are entered this week so the door is open for this opportunity.

The Texas Hill Country track will have the rough chopped down to just two inches so missing fairways isn’t going to be dire. The 6,400-square foot greens (on average) are deeper than they are wide so ball-strikers (see the designers) should flourish.

If the winds calm down, the targets will be easier to hit and with greens running no more than 11 feet, there won’t be many three putts.  With four Par-5 holes to navigate there will be chances to score but keeping a clean card will be more important. Landry only made four bogeys (no others) in his win last year.

The date moves back to March for the first time since 2015 but the forecast looks great.

Trend or Not a Trend?

Stats 2018 2017 2016 2015
  Andrew Landry Kevin Chappell Charley

Hoffman

Jimmy Walker
Winning Score -17 -12 -12 -11
         
Distance of All Drives 26 4 7 11
Driving Accuracy T29 T35 T34 T45
Greens in Regulation 1 3 T17 1st
Ball-Striking T20 T10 8 T1
Proximity to the Hole 7 T10 46 17
Putting: Birdie-or-Better % 10 4 T7 4
SG: Off-the-Tee 9 4 8 26
SG: Approach-the-Green 1 2 16 10
SG: Around-the-Green 33 32 49 19
SG: Putting 8 21 4 1st
SG: Tee-to-Green 1 2 10 3
Scrambling 2 26 42 27
Bogey Avoidance 1 T3 T10 T3
Par-3 Scoring 1 T2 T14 T16
Par-4 Scoring 4 T11 T17 T10
Par-5 Scoring 39 T3 T1 1st

Horses for Courses

Each week I’ll put the major players in here. There are always exceptions to rules and “new” players every year so use this as a guide or tiebreaker.

           
Player Cuts Top Top Most Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s Recent  
           
Andrew Landry 2/2 1 1 Win (2018) 17-under, 1st TOUR win
Trey Mullinax 1/2 1 1 T2 (2018) MC other
Jimmy Walker 6/9 3 5 4 (2018) 2015 champ; SAN resident
Joaquin Niemann 1/1 1 1 6 (2018)  
Ryan Moore 3/3 2 3 7 (2018) T8 2012, T18 2017
Chris Kirk 4/5 2 3 T8 (2018) T8 2015, T13 2016
Kevin Streelman 5/5 1 3 T8 (2018) Top 15’s earlier decade
Andrew Putnam 2/2 1 1 T8 (2018)  
           
Kevin Tway 2/3 1 1 T3 (2017)  
Tony Finau 2/2 1 1 T3 (2017)  
Ryan Palmer 7/9 4 5 T6 (2017) T4 2016, T6 2015
Brian Gay 5/7 2 3 T6 (2017) T4 2012
Sung Kang 2/5 1 1 T6 (2017) T42 other
Bud Cauley 3/4 1 2 T10 (2017) T18 2012
           
Charley Hoffman 9/9 3 7 Win (2016) Last 2 years garbage
Billy Horschel 6/8 3 4 T4 (2016) T3 2013, 3 2015, T11 ’18
Harold Varner III 2/3 1 1 T9 (2016) 10 over last 4 rounds
Tom Hoge 2/4 1 1 T9 (2016) T53 other
           
Jordan Spieth 3/4 2 2 2 (2015) 10th 2014; 2015 last start
Chesson Hadley 3/4 1 2 T4 (2015) T20 last year
Brendan Steele 7/8 3 4 T8 (2015) 2011 champ on debut
           
Jim Furyk 4/4 2 2 T6 (2014) T3 2013
           
Player Cuts Top Top Last Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s    
           
Martin Laird 5/6 2 4 Win (2013) T11 ’18
           
Freddie Jacobson 8/8 2 5 T5 (2011) T18 or better 2010-2014

The Chalk

Billy Horschel: Next stop in San Antonio is the winner’s circle! This event is on his schedule every year and the last four visits have yielded third, T4, MC and T11 last year. Of his last 20 rounds, 17 are par or better. Not missing a cut in his last 14 starts doesn’t hurt either.

Matt Kuchar: Just missed out on his second WGC-Match Play title and third win of the season last week. His golf ball rarely finds much trouble and he won’t be “working” on anything this week. Never missed in seven tries here and is the safest play on the board, as usual.

Jim Furyk: No country for old men? How about Hill Country? I wrote Furyk off way too soon but now that he’s healthy and not having to worry about the Ryder Cup, he looks like Stricker five years ago. With five of six T18 or better in 2019, this isn’t an emotional decision.

Tony Finau: He should be No. 1 on this list. He should bomb it, wedge it and win by five shots. His last top 10 was in October when he was second at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Lucas Bjerregaard: Let me know when you find his last MC. Only concern this week is the energy level and GAS tank but he’s playing great. Watching him battle Woods on Saturday answered any questions I had.

Sungjae Im: His run of top-10 paydays has stretched to three in his last four events with the only whiff being TPC Sawgrass. Everyone jumped on him LAST week in the Dominican in a light field. No reason he can’t contend again this week.

Lucas Glover: Anytime GIR is required his value increases. Anytime GIR is required and those greens are Bermuda, even better. With nothing worse than T17 on the season, I’m easily on-board again this week.

Aaron Baddeley: His two best paydays are in opposite-field events in the last month but his ridiculous record at TPC San Antonio pushes him up the list.

Jason Kokrak: The first win is always the toughest one to notch but this event lends itself to first-timers. The big-hitter will look to add to his run of top-10 paydays, including T2 at Valspar LTO, and join the field at Augusta with a win.

Rickie Fowler: First-timer is back in action since T40 (API) and T47 (PLAYERS) the Florida Swing. Full bag, class, pedigree, yeah, got it. I’d be higher on him if the Masters wasn’t next week but he’s good enough to show up and contend, obviously.

Ryan Moore: He’s one of the singles hitters that have feasted here. In three starts he has a pair of top 10s plus a T18. He’ll be lonely this week after scaring everyone off with a MC LTO at Valspar.

Joost Luiten: Of his five starts in 2019, four have cashed T12 or better. You know my rule: Hot golf = hot golf regardless of where it’s being played.

Justin Harding: Of his last three starts worldwide he won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, tied for second in Kenya and almost won his group in Match Play. You know my rule: Hot golf = hot golf regardless of where it’s being played.

Next Group

Nick Taylor: Five straight of T33 or better on TOUR and a pair of top 25’s in three starts at Valero. Go with the flow.

Kelly Kraft: A pair of top-10 paychecks in his last five also includes just one MC. I’m going to find a few gold coins to chuck on the Dallas native this week each way.

Matt Jones: He should be in the top 15. I’m not moving him now that you’ve forgotten. His only win was in Houston, which was usually this week, so SOME EXPERT will suggest that’s a good thing. Hahaha. I’m more encouraged about his form, which is red-hot.

Jhonattan Vegas: Another Texan who has been battering it around properly as of late, I’m hoping he overpowers this track like he did TPC Sawgrass.

Ben An: Who’s made the most cuts on TOUR?

Ryan Palmer: All-or-nothing in this season but in this field and this event, a definite to have on most rosters.

Abraham Ancer: Never missed here and was T12 at TPC Sawgrass. I’d point out he WON two matches and didn’t advance at Match Play but that’s just ovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvverkillllllllll.

Trey Mullinax: Swung and missed with him in OAD last week. Course record holder returns after T2 last year.

J.B. Holmes: Bomb it. Gouge it. Hole a few putts. The less wind, the better.

Haotong Li: Speaking of all-or-nothing, the Chinese hasn’t finished outside T19 when making the weekend in 2019. Lack of rough this week is encouraging if you’re on him.

Dylan Frittelli: Another who will get a gold coin or two in the long-shot department, the former Longhorn was T20 on debut last year and is trending properly.

Sung Kang: More top-10 finishes (2) than MC (1) in nine events in 2019.

Chris Stroud: Three top-10 checks in his last six and nearly won last week. Texas native.

Wyndham Clark: Super short game and a pair of top-10 finishes recently.

Denny McCarthy: One round over 72 in his last 12 rounds on TOUR. Fire putter.

J.T. Poston: The MC at Valspar is hardly a scarlet letter but it did break a streak of eight in a row. Of eight rounds here five are par or better and both finishes T30 or better.

Austin Cook: I didn’t forget he opened 69-67 in Tampa. I also didn’t forget he closed 72-72 (T9). Brewing.

Course Horses

Jimmy Walker: Like most on this list, if he had ANY FORM he’d be higher up the list. He’ll be in every roster this week so that kills the value as well.

Charley Hoffman: First seven years here were unbelievable so it’s not unbelievable to see it end. I’ll also point out that he was heavily involved in the Masters in 2017 and 2018 leading into this event. Interesting.

Martin Laird: He’s a notorious winter/spring player who hasn’t “horse for course” yet this season. Why is he going to start this week?

Brian Gay: I’d prefer him in windy conditions where his accuracy off the tee would help more. MC-T6-MC in his last three will tempt plenty.

Kevin Streelman: Never missed in six tries but his best, T8 last year, piggybacked T7 from Harbour Town. Be aware.

Brendan Steele: T17 at API is bookended by four MC on the front and two after.

Ollie Schniederjans: Remember that 65 at THE PLAYERS in Round 3? He’s played eight rounds here and seven are par-or-better. Sweet flier.

Harris English: Never missed in four chances. Never has broken 72 on Friday, Saturday OR Sunday. Hahahahaha.

Coming in HAWT

Long Shots, Wings, Prayers

Kyoung-Hoon Lee: 73 in the DR Sunday should chase most off the scent.

D.J. Trahan: Check the metrics in The Confidence Factor.

Mackenzie Hughes: T13 Valspar followed by T2 Corales.

Ernie Els: I liked this idea more if it was windy. T7 LTO at Maybank.

Curtis Luck: Total gut

Kramer Hickok: Five straight and T10 in the DR the best of the bunch. Native Texan from up the street in Austin. Yes, please.

Sepp Straka: Plenty of signs of life here.

Kevin Tway: Every week a guy who has missed 100 in a row with MC shows up. He’s 11-under here the last two years.

Scott Langley: He hasn’t played here since 2016 but he’s cashed in four of five.

Carlos Ortiz: He’s posted 67 and 68 and 78 and 79 over two events. His T9 at Riviera caught my eye as that’s not an easy track either.

Jonas Blixt: Racked up five straight paychecks.

Julian Etulain: Shhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Bud Cauley: In here until he wins.

History’s Mysteries

Jordan Spieth: I have no idea.

Andrew Landry: Never play guys defending for the first time.

Joe Quinn Newman: Solo sixth in his pro debut but one top-25 check in 13 starts this season.

Martin Kaymer: 82-80 in 2015. 72-76 in 2018. Congratulations on your victory, Martin!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s