We’re staying put in Texas for the next PGA Tour event, but it will return to its standard stroke-play scoring format during the 2023 Valero Texas Open. This is a relatively new event that began in 2010 after Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia completed the design of the Oaks Course, which we’ll dive into more in-depth shortly. J.J. Spaun is the defending champion at Valero, where he won with a final scorecard of -13-under-par, beating Matt Kuchar and Matt Jones by two strokes. Spaun enters this event at 35/1 odds, which shows us that oddsmakers don’t feel nearly as confident in his ability to defend his 2022 title against the field.
Water hazards will not be frequent here. Instead, lengthy, narrow fairways, coarse Texas vegetation, and expansive sand bunkers litter most of the holes at the Oaks Course. This means players who can drive the golf ball far and accurately, paired with strong iron play and a confident putter, will contend atop the leaderboard in a field that lacks star power compared to recent PGA Tour events. Jordan Spieth won here in 2021, but he won’t be in attendance. However, Corey Conners, who won with a scorching 20-under-par scorecard back in 2019, will look to dominate at Valero to earn his second outright win on the PGA Tour. Conners is currently getting +1800 odds to win outright, third behind only Tyrrell Hatton and Rickie Fowler.
Let’s look at the top-ten betting odds, course layout, and a couple of players with the experience, skill set, and current form to win outright ahead of Thursday’s opening round at the 2023 Valero Texas Open.
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Valero Texas Open Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+2000|
Valero Texas Open Betting Preview
- J.J. Spaun (-13) – 2022
- Jordan Spieth (-18) – 2021
- Cancelled – 2020
- Corey Conners (-20) – 2019
- Andrew Landry (-17) – 2018
- Kevin Chappell (-12) – 2017
Relevant Betting Stats
- Driving Distance
- Driving Accuracy
- Strokes Gained Approaching the Green
- Sand Save Percentage
TPC San Antonio Oaks Course was initially designed by Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia as a consultant back in 2010. Since its opening, it has hosted every Valero Texas Open event at the Oaks Course. The Oaks Course emphasizes narrower fairways lined with oak trees and native Texas hill grass and vegetation, which punish errant tee shots and approach shots alike by creating difficult lies. Bermudagrass surfaces exist on the fairways, rough, and include Champions Bermuda on the greens. Bentgrass surfaces tend to have increased velocity, but depending on the conditions at TPC San Antonio, the ball shouldn’t have much difficulty gaining speed. Most of the fairways aren’t doglegged, as quite a few of the par 4 holes are under 450 yards, creating ideal situations for players to stay in the red by draining birdies.
TPC San Antonio Oaks Course is a par 72 that tips north of 7,400 yards. It doesn’t have many water hazards for players to overcome, but the narrow fairways, combined with large-surface area sand bunkers, will create enough challenges to forget the lack of water. It won’t be a tough walk for players, as the elevation hardly changes. At the same time, the native oak trees and coarse vegetation are prevalent in the surrounding rough, creating difficult lies for errant tee shots and approach shots. Three of the four par 5 holes tip north of 600 yards, so strong drivers and irons will reward players with an easier path to the hole location. The course ends with a par 5 that is 610 yards, while the only body of water comes early at the par 3 third hole. The shortest par 3 is on the 16th hole, rounding out at 193 yards, with a sand bunker squarely placed in the center of the green.
Top Players to Bet Outright Winner at Valero Texas Open
Si Woo Kim (+2000) (Bet $100 to Collect $2100) (Get the Best Odds for This Si Woo Kim Pick at DraftKings Sportsbook)
I like how Si Woo Kim’s skill set aligns with the rigors of the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course entering this event. The 27-year-old native of South Korea has already bagged one outright win at The Sony Open back in January, and he’s also been rock solid in each of his previous three appearances at Valero, logging finishes of T13, T25, and T4 dating back to 2019.
We’re getting 20/1 odds on Kim, the fourth highest on the slate in this lighter field. Kim is a great ball striker, ranked 22nd in total strokes gained, including 19th in tee-to-green, 22nd approaching the green, and has the 15th-ranked driving accuracy percentage. It’s imperative to have a good lie at the Oaks Course, as the rough conditions create difficult lies, while the oak trees can obscure the hole location and force players to lay up onto the fairway, essentially forfeiting a shot. Kim hits 68.5 percent of greens in regulation, and he’s also 24th in scrambling, so even when he doesn’t find a green in regulation, he’s talented enough around the green to recover and save par.
The lengthy sand bunkers will be another test of players’ skill at Valero, but Kim has no worries in that department either, ranking 16th in sand save percentage. Since his win at Sony, Kim has four T25 finishes, but he hasn’t returned inside of the top ten. That changes this weekend in San Antonio, where I expect Kim to contend all the way through the 72nd hole on Sunday afternoon. At +2000, jump on his outright winning number now before it dries up the closer we get to his opening tee time on Thursday.
Matt Kuchar (+2500) (Bet $100 to Collect $2,600) (Get the Best Odds for This Matt Kuchar Pick at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Veteran Matt Kuchar has looked great in spots this season, racking up three T10 finishes, including most recently during Match Play at Austin CC this past weekend. Sure, the 44-year-old American has missed four cuts this season, but when he’s dialed in, Kuchar can only stop himself.
Last year at Valero, Kuchar logged a T2 (-11) finish, losing by two strokes to J.J. Spaun. If not for going even par in the third round, Kuchar likely would’ve forced a sudden-death playoff or won in regulation. Expect revenge to be on his mind, as he’s logged previous finishes of T2, T12, and T7 since 2019.
Kuchar has several metrics that stand out ahead of playing at TPC San Antonio. Most notably, he’s ranked first in sand save percentage, first in scrambling, and second in consecutive fairways hit. These three stats alone will benefit Kuchar from some bad lies or missing the Bermuda greens, where he’s also ranked 18th in strokes gained around the green. His putter has performed best in the second round this season, ranking 36th in Round 2 putts, and he does a decent job at avoiding three-putts. Most importantly, Kuchar is ranked 25th in the Round 4 scoring average, so he can bring the juice in crunch time when needed.
We’re landing 25/1 odds on Kuchar earning his 10th PGA Tour outright win, so at a course where he nearly won it all in 2022, expect Kuchar to transfer his recent momentum to cash in hefty +2500 outright winner bets at the 2023 Valero Texas Open.