Horses for Courses: Valero Texas Open 2021

Corey Conners broke thru as a Monday Qualifier the last time the TOUR was in San Antonio in 2019. He’ll look to become the only player to defend the title this week at The AT&T Oaks Course.

If these boots are made for walking they won’t have too far to go as the TOUR remains in Texas but shifts from Austin to San Antonio. TPC San Antonio and the Oaks Course will host for the 11th time since the event relocated here for the 2010 edition after missing out in 2020 to COVID-19.


RELATED:  Expert Picks


This is the third oldest event (non-major) on TOUR after the Western Open (now BMW) and Canadian Open. Dating back to 1922, it’s the longest running event in one city so history is part of the backdrop this week.

So is the weather.

The forecast this week suggests mild conditions and breezes that fall into the “normal” range this time of year. Greg Norman, with help from player consultant Sergio Garcia, created a rough and tumble Par-72 which now stretches to almost 7,500 yards (7,494 for 2021).Wide fairways and narrow Champion Bermuda greens are both difficult to hit if that Texas wind blows and gusts. With only two inches of rough, experiments off the fairway and around the greens can be attempted. The only major course change was adding a new tee box on No. 5 (342 yards is now 401).

Since 2010 these greens have ranked in the top three as toughest on TOUR to hit. The Oaks Course also has dished out the third most TRIPLES or worst scores over that same time period. Scoring this week happens on the inward nine so discipline and patience will be needed early in the rounds.

The last two events have had mild conditions and the tournament record was set and then broken by two players who had never won on TOUR before. The three events prior churned out winning scores of 12-under, 12-under and 11-under.

A pair of custom made boots plus $1.386 million and 500 FedExCup points await the winner from a purse of $7.7 million. There’s never been a playoff in 10 previous editions but the field of 144 will try and emulate Corey Conners and his masterful performance from the 2019 edition.

Recent Event Winners Stats

2020201920182017
WinnerNo Event – COVIDCorey ConnersAndrew LandryKevin Chappell
Score 20-under17-under12-under
MOV 221
Cut  1-under1-overEven
     
Age 273030
     
Distance of All Drives T17264
Driving Accuracy T7T29T35
Greens in Regulation 113
Ball-Striking 1T20T10
Proximity to the Hole 27T10
Putting: Birdie-or-Better % 1104
SG: Off-the-Tee 494
SG: Approach-the-Green 112
SG: Around-the-Green 583332
SG: Putting 26821
SG: Tee-to-Green 212
Scrambling 70226
Bogey Avoidance T361T3
Par-3 Scoring T21T2
Par-4 Scoring T24T11
Par-5 Scoring T839T3

Recent Winners and Notables

2019: Corey Conners (-20, 268)

Canadian picked up his first TOUR win in his 51st start. … Won by two after starting one shot back in the final group. … Fired 66 on Sunday, which included TEN birdies. … Set the tournament scoring record by three shots. … Circled 29 birdies, seven more than second best for another record. … Only player to post all four rounds in the 60s. … Never led after any round except the final round. … Became the fourth first-time winner in the last six events here. … Became the first Monday qualifier to win on TOUR since 2010. … Won on his second visit. … Entered the week MC in five of his last six but had T3 at Sony to start the new year.

Notables:

2016 winner Charley Hoffman (2nd) closed 64-67 for his third podium in 10 starts. … Ryan Moore (3rd) led the field in Fairways and was T3 GIR. … Si Woo Kim (T4) set the 36-hole scoring record and led after 18, 36 and 54 holes before 72 on Sunday. … Brian Stuard (T4) hit the top 25 for the first time in six starts. … Byeong-Hun An (T7) posted one of the two rounds ABOVE par from the top 15 players. … Graeme McDowell (T7) followed his win at Corales with another strong finish in breezy conditions. … Scott Brown (T7) picked up his first top 25 in his sixth try. … Matt Kuchar (T7) ranked in the top four in both Fairways and GIR. … Dallas resident Danny Lee (T7) and Adam Schenk (T7) rounded out the top 10. … Cut was 1-under. … 20 bogey-free rounds. … First time the event played below par (71.242). … No player has ever successfully defended as Andrew Landry MC. … There has never been a playoff required to determine a champion.

2018: Andrew Landry (-17, 271)

Texan picked up his first TOUR win in his 32nd start as he won by two. … Set the tournament scoring record. … Became the third first-time winner in the last five. …. First 54-hole lead or co-lead. … Only player to sign for all four rounds in the 60s. … Bogey-free 67 in Round 3 pushed him into the final pairing. … T51 on debut in only other attempt. … Entered the week MC in five of six after P2 to Jon Rahm at The American Express.

Notables:

Trey Mullinax (not entered; T2) posted the course record, 62, in Round 3. … Sean O’Hair (T2) closed 65-66. … 2015 champion and local Jimmy Walker (4th) posted all four rounds in the red. … Zach Johnson (5th) shared the 54-hole lead on 13-under with Landry. … Ryan Moore (7th) co-led after 18 and 36 holes and was bogey-free. … Chris Kirk (T8) posted 66, his best at Valero, in Round 2. … Andrew Putnam (T8) picked up his best finish from three starts. … Chesson Hadley (T20) and Keegan Bradley (T48) shared the first round lead with Moore on 68. … Defending champion Kevin Chappell cashed T30. … Cut was 1-over. … There has never been a multiple winner of this event at The Oaks Course.

2017: Kevin Chappell (-12, 276)

Picks up his first TOUR win in start No. 180. … Defeated Brooks Koepka (not entered) by a shot with a birdie on the final hole. … 26 players began Sunday five shots back of his 54-hole lead. … Converted his first 54-hole lead on TOUR. … Chappell and Koepka only two players double digits under par. … Backed up his T4 from 2016. … Cashed his third top five in eight starts at Valero. … Previous start was two weeks prior with T7 at the Masters.

Notables:

Tony Finau (T3) posted the low round of the week with 65 in Round 2 and held the 36 hole lead. … Veteran Brian Gay (T6) picked up his second top 10 in eight visits. … Texan Ryan Palmer (T6) played the final 54 holes in 9-under. … First round leader Branden Grace (T10) backed up his T9 from 2016. … In his last visit Camilo Villegas (T10) picked up his only top 10. … Defending champion Charley Hoffman (T40) picked up, at the time, his worst check at the event. … Only two rounds in the 60s on Saturday. … Only one bogey-free round on the weekend. … Cut was Even.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. * – Top 10 finish here since 2015 or past champion

Strokes-Gained ApproachGolfer
6Keegan Bradley
10Matthew NeSmith
11*Tony Finau
12*Corey Conners
17Lanto Griffin
18*Charley Hoffman
19Cameron Percy
20Doug Ghim
21Scott Stallings
22Matt Wallace
23Kelly Kraft
26Roger Sloan
27Sam Burns
28Harry Higgs
29Chase Seiffert
30Hideki Matsuyama
  
Par-5 ScoringGolfer
4*Ryan Palmer
12Matt Wallace
12Keegan Bradley
17Ryan Brehm
23DJ Trahan
23*Tony Finau
23Hideki Matsuyama
23Hank Lebioda
23Luke List
32*Corey Conners
32Sebastian Munoz
36Cameron Tringale
36Danny Willett
36Abraham Ancer
36Patton Kizzire
  
Putting: Birdie or Better Conversion PercentageGolfer
10*Tony Finau
11*Ryan Palmer
14Peter Malnati
16Sam Burns
19*Jordan Spieth
20*Tom Hoge
22Cameron Davis
24Wesley Bryan
27Rory Sabbatini
29Scottie Scheffler
41Abraham Ancer
42Sebastian Munoz

Horses for Courses

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25Most RecentRecent Others
     
Corey Conners (2/2)11Win (2019)T26 2018; Monday Qualifier
Charley Hoffman (10/10)482 (2019)2016 Winner; T2 2011; T13 or better in 8 of 10
Ryan Moore (4/4)343 (2019)7th 2018; T8 2012, T18 2017
Si Woo Kim (3/4)12T4 (2019)T22 2017; opened 66-66 last time
Brian Stuard (4/6)11T4 (2019)Best two finishes are the last two in mild conditions
Matt Kuchar (8/8)25T7 (2019)T4 2014
Graeme McDowell (3/4)11T7 (2019)Three straight at the event; closed with 66 2019
Scott Brown (3/6)11T7 (2019)Posted all four rounds in the red
Danny Lee (3/6)11T7 (2019)T51 2018
Byeong Hun An (2/2)11T7 (2019)T40 2017
Adam Schenk (2/2)11T7 (2019)T58 debut year before
     
Andrew Landry (2/3)11Win (2018)T51 on debut 2017; MC defense
Sean O’Hair (1/3)11T2 (2018)DNS 2019; MC 2014-15
Zach Johnson (4/6)235 (2018)T6 2014; T20 2015
Chris Kirk (4/6)23T8 (2018)T8 2015; T13 2016
Andrew Putnam (3/3)11T8 (2018)T72 debut before; T36 after
     
Kevin Chappell (5/8)34Win (2017)T4 2016; T2 2011
Camilo Villegas (2/5)11T10 (2017)MDF 2014
Tony Finau (3/3)11T3 (2017)T61 before, T68 after
Ryan Palmer (7/10)45T6 (2017)T4 2016, T6 2015, T9 2010
Brian Gay (6/8)23T6 (2017)T4 2012
Sung Kang (3/6)11T6 (2017)T42 twice 
Branden Grace (4/4)22T10 (2017)T9 2016
Camilo Villegas (2/5)11T10 (2017)MDF 2014
     
Harold Varner III (3/4)12T9 (2016)8-under T9 and 8-under last year for T23
Tom Hoge (2/5)11T9 (2016)Closed with 65 for T9; T53 is the other
     
Jimmy Walker (7/10)35Win (2015)4th 2018; T3 2010
Jordan Spieth (4/5)222 (2015)10th 2014
Brendan Steele (8/9)34T8 (2015)2011 winner, T4 2012; Five straight paydays
     
OthersTop 10sTop 25Most RecentRecent Others
     
Martin Laird (6/7)24T11 (2018)2013 Winner, T9 2011
Pat Perez (4/5)14T5 (2011)Worst is T22 but has only played once in the last 4 
Jim Furyk (5/5)23T6 (2014)T23, T26 last 2 years
Brandt Snedeker (3/3)134 (2011)T25 2016, 15 2018; T4 2011
JB Holmes (5/7)03T13 (2016)T13, T13 and T11 but MC, T71 last two years

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