Valero Texas Open Betting Preview & Picks: Can Chris Kirk Stay Hot?


March 28

With just one short week separating us golf bettors and fans from Augusta National and the 2023 Masters, the PGA Tour stops at TPC San Antonio for the 2023 Valero Texas Open. Most players in the field will be searching for their last chance invitation to the Masters, which would only be secured by winning this event.

Long-time Tour veterans and fan favorites Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar will be teeing it up along with Tyrrell Hatton and Hideki Matsuyama as most of the sport’s elites will be fine-tuning their game elsewhere for next week. 

 This long, 7,438-yard Par 72 features a few of the most difficult par 5s to reach in two, including a superb closing hole with a creek protecting the front of the green. Approach play and Greens-in-Regulation are once again the name of the game when trying to determine a recipe for success, as they are most weeks on tour, but scrambling and greenside bunker play is something to hone in on for this competition specifically.

Players hit these greens in regulation at TPC San Antonio nearly 7% less often than on an average Tour course, so even those in the superb ball-striking form will need up and downs to save their pars more often than normal. The main approach buckets to look at are from 75-100 yards and 100-125 yards, with nearly double those shots being taken here than on average.

Last year, Texan J.J. Spaun became a first-time PGA Tour winner with a final round 69 (despite opening his Sunday with a double bogey). Spaun clipped Matt Kuchar and Matt Jones by two strokes at a winning score of 13 under par. 

Valero Texas Open Top 10 Finishers

Garrick Higgo will begin the betting card for the week at +800 for a Top 10 finish. Although he has not had the finishing results that catch your eye over the past few months, he is consistently making cuts (six of his last eight) in tournaments with fields much stronger than this. He has also shown flashes of excellent birdie-making (14th in this field in Birdies-or-Better Gained) and gained with approach and around-the-green play in his last five tournaments. 

Another Top 10 bet I will be backing at +750 is Trey Mullinax. Mullinax turned in a T-4th place finish at his last event in Texas at the Houston Open during the wraparound portion of the season. He also recently finished T-8th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

As one of the longest hitters on Tour, Mullinax will be among the small handful of players this week that should have a look at all four Par 5s in two. He also boasts a stellar around-the-green game, gaining strokes on the field in that department in seven of his last eight starts. 

Thomas Detry figures to be a popular play this week as he has consistently made cuts and appeared near the top of leaderboards during his first season on the PGA Tour. Detry comes in with just one early tournament exit among his 12 starts this season, and he has shown the ability to gain strokes on the field in each of the four major statistical categories. 

Valero Texas Open  Top 5 Finishers

New Zealand native Ryan Fox has won golf tournaments worldwide, and in my opinion, it is only a matter of time until he finds paydirt on American soil. With T-14 and T-27 finishes to his name in his only two starts in the U.S. this season at premier events (API & The PLAYERS), Fox will look to capitalize on the softest field he has been a part of on the PGA Tour.

Fox does not have enough rounds/tournaments played with strokes gained data to get people excited, but I will take a chance at +900 for a Top 5 finish. 

Valero Texas Open 

Outright Winners

Many bettors may dismiss Chris Kirk at +2800 this week in favor of those who need a victory to get to Augusta, but I will go right back to the well on this year’s Honda Classic winner. Kirk had shown excellent course history at PGA National before winning there last month.

He has also had success at TPC San Antonio with two Top 10 finishes in his previous four trips to this week’s course. His tee-to-green numbers have been lights out (gaining 3.4 strokes per event over his past five), coming in fourth in that department in this field over the past 24 rounds.

His short game has continued to be the best part of his skillset during this career renaissance, and I believe that finally returning to the winner’s circle last month will only propel him to more victories in the near future. 

Thomas Detry (+5000) is also worth a sprinkle since he will be among the many players searching for the “win-and-in” ticket for the Masters. 

I will also invest a slight taste on the aforementioned Trey Mullinax (+8000) to top the field at Valero.  

Closing it out, I see no reason not to throw a few bucks on Ryan Fox outright (+4000), a guy with 14 worldwide professional victories.

Odds courtesy FanDuel Sportsbook

Thumbnail photo via USA TODAY Sports Images

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