It’s the tournament before the Masters, as the players head to TPC San Antonio and attempt to conquer the famous par-3 16th with ‘that’ bunker. Who will grab the final Augusta invite? Scroll down for my Valero Texas Open betting tips. But first…
Valero Texas Open preview
Venue: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course), Texas, USA
Date: March 30 – April 2, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,438 yards
Course summary: TPC San Antonio has one of the most exciting closing stretches in golf beginning with the par-3 16th hole that features a bunker in the middle of the green. This is followed by a driveable par 4 and then a par-5 closing hole guarded by a creek. The winner of the Valero Texas Open will book a late trip to the Masters.
Purse: $8.9 million
Defending champion: J.J. Spaun (-13)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm and Main Event from 1.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm and Main Event from 8.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 6pm and Main Event from 9.30pm
2023 Valero Texas Open betting tips
The Banker: Si Woo Kim @ 20/1 with Bet365
Si Woo Kim played better than I expected in the Match Play last week, and whilst Matt Kuchar dominated him in the final group match to advance, I won’t put too much stock into that loss given Kuchar’s fine match play record, and Kim’s mixed bag at Austin Country Club. Instead, I will focus on Kim’s ability to play this golf course, and his general form this season which has been more than promising.
Kim is on my radar for a longshot next week at Augusta, and as a result, I wanted to be on him this week as well, at a course where he’s nearly won before. Back in 2019, when this event first moved back to this part of the schedule, Si Woo had a four-shot lead at the halfway stage and led by a shot going into the final round as well. He could have gone on to win wire-to-wire, but in the end, fell short as he shot a final round 72.
He has finished 23rd and 13th here since, and the fact that he’s won at the Sony Open, a correlating event this season, is another tick in the checkbox for a player who is still potentially overlooked. A four-time winner on Tour, who has lost three playoffs, and also probably should have closed out this event, Kim could already have more than the four wins he has to his name already.
Like his win in Hawaii, a 3rd at Mayakoba in the past is also a bonus, and his form in recent weeks which has seen him finish T27 or better in four of his six strokeplay starts since his win, suggests he’s ready to contend here again.
The Each-Way Play: Chris Kirk @ 25/1 with Bet365
Chris Kirk had been playing some of the best golf of his career in recent weeks, finishing 3rd in back-to-back weeks at the Sony Open and the American Express, before finally capping his form off with a win at the Honda Classic.
39th-MC in his next two starts and an early exit at last week’s Match Play perhaps show signs of cooling off form-wise, but I am willing to chance that a return to this course sees him turn it around again.
Kirk has played at TPC San Antonio eight times, and in that span, he has posted three top 18s and another top 13 finish, so he clearly likes this layout. He has missed the cut just twice here, and his two most recent starts in this event are 6th and 35th place finishes.
No one has been more consistent than Kirk in this field in terms of Ball Striking this season, and he may just enjoy the respite from elevated events, as he did at the Honda Classic. Gearing up for major season, I think Kirk can win again as the biggest stars take a week off.
Another Each-Way Play: Ben Martin @ 70/1 with Bet365
Ben Martin is in great form, and we know his best can produce wins, having won the Shriners Open way back in 2014. He is a player I trust now that the form is coming back again, and I am more than confident that this is more than a flash in the pan for Martin, who is certainly edging closer to something like his best once again.
Like Kirk, Martin is another that is enjoying his golf when the best players take a week off, having finished 13th at Pebble Beach, 5th at the Honda Classic, where Kirk won, and 8th at last week’s Corales Puntacana Championship.
That’s three top-13 finishes in his last five starts for Martin, and he now returns to TPC San Antonio where he is 4/5 for made cuts in this PGA Tour event, and also has a top-nine finish, when the course hosted a Korn Ferry Tour event in 2020.
34th two years ago was his best effort here, but he was also 27th at the halfway stage last year before falling away over the weekend and I now think with his current form, and past results at the Sony Open (T7), that he can challenge here and replicate what J.J. Spaun did last year on the back of some modest course form. Spaun did have a top-30 finish the year he won, which seems to be a prerequisite, but Martin’s best of 34th is hardly far away from that, and he’s in superb form right now. Martin looks overpriced with the elite players missing, and I am happy to try and take advantage.
The Long Shot: David Lingmerth @ 80/1 with Bet365
Lingmerth is another like Martin who we know at his peak can win bigger golf tournaments than this, and with the Masters on the line, I think he can thrive given his current form.
The Swede has posted five top-11 finishes this season, the latest of which came at the Players Championship where he was 8th and he has since followed that up with a T27 finish at the Valspar. Lingmerth was better placed last time out at the Copperhead course, as he was 10th going into the final round, but a cold putter finally caught up with him on the week and he fell away.
This course has never been that kind to him with a best finish of 44th and only two made cuts (51st the other time) but I think he will prefer it in its now March slot, and with a Masters spot up for grabs in his current form, there has never been a better time to back Lingmerth here.
When he was 44th here, he was 18th at the halfway stage, and with 5th and 18th place finishes at Colonial, I am certain he can enjoy Texas golf when playing his best stuff, which he is right now. Add in good finishes at the Mayakoba (8th) and the Sony (13th) and he ticks every box I could hope for, apart from a really top finish here in the past.
- Visit Bet365 for more prices