2023 Valero Texas Open: Preview, Props & Best Bets

David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The Valero Texas Open lacks any top 10 players in this week’s field, but it does not lack for intrigue.

Of the 144 players in the field, only 11 are currently eligible for the Masters next week. The other 133 need to hoist the trophy in San Antonio on Sunday to punch the final ticket to Augusta National.

That includes fan favorite Rickie Fowler, who fell just short of earning his Masters invite at the Match Play. Can he earn his first victory since 2019 to return to Augusta?

Our golf experts break down this week’s event along with their favorite props and best bets.

Location: TPC San Antonio, Oaks Course (Par 72, 7,438 yards)
Purse: $8.9M (Winner: $1.602M)
Defending Champion: J.J. Spaun
FedEx Cup leader: Jon Rahm

TV: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-3:30 p.m. (GC), 3:30-6 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC)
Streaming on ESPN+: Thursday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Twitter: @ValeroTXOpen

–Corey Conners to Beat Matt Kuchar (+100 at DraftKings): Kuchar enters the week in slightly better form, posting a pair of top-10s to book-end consecutive missed cuts in his past four starts. Conners’ last top-10 came seven months ago but the Canadian has two things Kuchar currently lacks – an invite to August next week and a previous win in San Antonio (2019). While a T35 here last year is nothing to write home about, Conners does know this course well.

–Chris Kirk & Hideki Matsuyama to Both Finish Top 20 Inc. Ties (+350 at BetMGM): Matsuyama withdrew from the Match Play to protect his ongoing neck issues ahead of the Masters. That’s our biggest concern here, but he does want to sharpen his game before reaching Magnolia Lane. Matsuyama finished solo fifth at the Players and should be a threat to win against this field come Sunday as long as the neck holds up. So, too, should Kirk, who is looking to rebound from three poor starts since winning the Honda Classic.

–Si Woo Kim to Win Tournament 3-Ball (+170 at DraftKings): Fowler (+160) is the sentimental favorite and is playing his most consistent golf in years. Kuchar (+185) is the third player in this group. We like our chances — and the odds — with Kim. A winner in Hawaii earlier this year, the South Korean hasn’t been stellar since but does have four top-30s in six stroke play events since the Sony Open and should be a factor in a weaker field.

2023 Prop Picks Record: 14-16-1

–Tyrrell Hatton (+1200 at BetMGM) makes his tournament debut as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 17. He has three top-10s in seven starts this season, including a runner-up at The Players.
–Fowler (+1800) has three top-10s in 11 starts this season, his most since 2018-19. Fans wanting to see Fowler at Augusta have helped drive him to be the sportsbook’s biggest liability this week, backing him with a whopping 12.8 percent of the total winning bets and 18.1 percent of the handle.
–Kim (+1800) won the Sony Open to begin his 2023 schedule and is coming off a T17 last week. He’s the third-biggest liability, having drawn 6.0 and 7.6 percent of the action, respectively.
–Matsuyama (+2500) cited his recurring neck injury in withdrawing from last week’s Match Play, but he did post a solo fifth at the Players earlier this month. One of the most accomplished players in the field, the Japanese star has been backed by 4.6 percent of the total bets.
–Taylor Montgomery (+2500) is the top rookie in the FedEx Cup standings at No. 22 as he comes off a playoff loss in group play last week.
–Davis Riley (+2800) enters in solid form, with a pair of top-30s in three events since a T8 at Bay Hill.

–Spaun earned his first PGA Tour victory in his 147th career start last year. The last player to successfully defend a Valspar title was Zach Johnson in 2009.
–Lucas Glover will make his 500th career PGA Tour start.
–Nicolai Hojgaard and Ricky Barnes are in the field courtesy of top-10 finishes at last week’s Corales Puntacana Championship.
–Tommy Armour III holds the tournament scoring record of 254 set in 2003.
–Arnold Palmer won the first three editions of the event from 1960-62.

–Field Level Media

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