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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2023 Valero Texas Open

Hello folks, and welcome back to Horse For The Course! The final edition of the WGC Dell Match Play turned out to be a barn burner with Sam Burns emerging from an awesome final four that included Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and Cameron Young. Hopefully, this year's terrific event will help to get the Match Play back on the PGA Tour's schedule sooner rather than later.

After a terrific first quarter of the year, the golf world now turns its eyes to next week's Masters, the first major championship of 2023. Before we get completely lost in the greatness that is that event, we have the Valero Texas Open at hand this week.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our excellent PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!


2023 Valero Texas Open

Following a star-studded stretch in Florida and last week's banger edition of the Match Play - not to mention the Masters looming on the horizon next week - it is easy to let this week's Valero Texas Open slide down our priority list. However, I think that would be a mistake, as the Valero consistently produces an interesting event that contains intriguing storylines.

For years, it was the Houston Open that preceded the year's first major, but the Valero Texas Open has held this spot on the schedule since 2019. While many of the game's top stars utilized this spot on the calendar as a Masters warm-up in the past, it seems that the preferred strategy for many of golf's elites has trended toward resting the week before the year's first major championship, leaving us with a field this week that's fairly light on star power and includes less than a dozen players that are currently qualified for the Masters.

J.J. Spaun is the reigning Valero champion and is set to defend against a group that includes Tyrrell Hatton, Rickie Fowler, and Corey Conners. One of the coolest things about this week's event is that it offers entrants one last chance to qualify for the Masters if they aren't already in and the majority of golfers in this Valero field - including the aforementioned Fowler - will be extremely motivated to punch their ticket to Augusta National with a win this week.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)

Par 72 - 7,494 Yards, Greens: Bermuda (Poa Overseed), Designed By: Greg Norman & Pete Dye

Opened in 2010, this Pete Dye/Greg Norman design (with an assist from Sergio Garcia) immediately found its way into the PGA Tour rotation and has hosted this event since it opened. Norman incorporated the natural terrain to create a layout that's long and tough. Its length definitely gives a bump to the bombers, though we have seen precise ball-strikers thrive here in recent years due to course conditions. The Par-5's are no picnic, as all four play almost 600 yards and don't yield the number of birdies and eagles that we normally see on the Tour.

The wind is always a huge factor at TPC San Antonio, as intended with the design. It's somewhat of a fool's errand trying to predict the weather, especially wind, but it's worth keeping an eye on the forecast for any possible tee-time draw advantage. The big takeaway this week is: ball striking, ball striking, and more ball striking.


Recent Valero Winners & Scoring Info

  • 2022: J.J. Spaun (-13)
  • 2021: Jordan Spieth (-18)
  • 2020: Cancelled - COVID
  • 2019: Corey Conners (-20)
  • 2018: Andrew Landry (-17)
  • Average Winning Score Last Five Years: -17


The Horse

Chris Kirk

  • Event Scoring Average: 71.07 (Eight career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T35 (2022), T6 ('21), T8 ('18), T8 ('15)
  • DraftKings Price: $9,300 FanDuel Price: $11,100

It's already been an extremely successful 2023 for Chris Kirk, a golfer that won the Honda Classic and logged top-three finishes at both the Sony Open and the AmEx.

Kirk will try to keep the positive mojo flowing this week at TPC San Antonio, a course where he's largely thrived across eight previous career starts. The UGA alum has scored three results inside the top-eight at the Valero since 2015 while amassing a 71.07 career scoring average in this event.

The veteran's success on this layout - and across 2023 in general - can largely be attributed to his pinpoint accuracy from T2G. Kirk grades out 10th in this week's field in Good Drives Gained over the last 24 rounds and he stands 15th in Overall Proximity over the same timeframe. That ability to consistently find fairways and greens should once again serve him well in this year's edition of the Valero, as he comes in playing perhaps the finest golf of his career.


The Ponies

Corey Conners

  • Event Scoring Average: 69.81 (Four career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T35 ('22), T14 ('21), Win ('19), T26 ('18)
  • DraftKings Price: $10,100 FanDuel Price: $11,900

The Canadian heads to the site of his lone career PGA Tour victory in rather pedestrian form - at least by his lofty standards. Conners has shockingly lost strokes on Approach in two of his last three stroke-play events. However, between poor outings at the Genesis and PLAYERS, he did manage to gain 5.3 strokes T2G en route to a T21 at the API...so all hope is not lost this week.

If things are going to start clicking for Conners, this tournament makes sense, as he not only possesses elite course history in this event but experienced a truly life-changing week in 2019 when he Monday qualified for the Valero and went on to win the tournament and earn entry into the Masters. His 69.81 career scoring average in the event is the best for any player with more than two Valero starts and his 31.29 SG: Total at TPC San Antonio since 2017 is the highest mark in the field.

Although his ball-striking output hasn't been at his usual superhuman level, he's by no means been bad, as he grades out fourth among this week's entrants in SG: Ball Striking over his last 24 rounds, as well as second in Birdie or Better Opportunities Gained over the same timeframe.

As is often the case with Conners, the putts just simply haven't been falling lately. Perhaps the flat stick can get warm this week on a TPC San Antonio layout where he's gained strokes putting in three of his four career starts.


Si Woo Kim

  • Event Scoring Average: 70.73 (Six career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T13 ('22), T23 ('21), T4 ('19), T22 ('17)
  • DraftKings Price: $9,700  FanDuel Price: $11,600

The "Si Woo Experience" is never a dull one, as the often-erratic Korean is seemingly just as likely to score a top-10 as he is to miss the cut on a week-to-week basis. Though that volatility seems to be inherent to Kim, he has found a nice - consistent - groove at TPC San Antonio in recent years.

Kim has made the cut in five consecutive Valero appearances with a T4 in 2019 highlighting four top-25 finishes in the Texas event since 2017. His SG: Total mark of 30.73 in the Valero since 2017 trails only Corey Conners among this week's entrants.

In addition to his strong track record at the Oaks Course, Kim has put together a stellar 2023 campaign with a win at the Sony Open as well as three additional top-25 finishes across his seven starts of the year. In his most recent stroke play start at the PLAYERS, Kim's irons were sizzling, as he gained 7.2 strokes on Approach en route to a T27 at Sawgrass, a performance that marked his best effort since his January win at Sony.


Did you know RotoBaller has a Premium DFS PGA subscription? Like what you read today? You can show your support for Joe by using the discount code NICE when purchasing a PGA Premium Pass. You get 10% off and full access to all of our Premium PGA articles, DFS tools, and Lineup Optimizer! You also get access to weekly betting picks from Spencer Aguiar, one of the top betting minds in the industry.


Matt Kuchar

  • Event Scoring Average: 70.79 (15 career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T2 ('22), T12 ('21), T7 ('19), T4 ('14)
  • DraftKings Price: $9,200 FanDuel Price: $10,600

The Valero Texas Open has been Matt Kuchar's personal ATM for the last decade or so, as the thrifty veteran always seems to ride out of San Antonio with a pile of cash every single year.

Kuchar cashed a check for a little over $750,000 for a share of second place in last year's Valero, a result that marked his third consecutive finish of T12 or better in the Texas event. The 44-year-old has now made the Valero cut in 10 straight appearances.

He's experienced a bit of a career resurgence in 2023 with a pair of top-10 finishes across his six starts this calendar year. The cagey vet also showed some fight in last week's Dell Match Play event by advancing to the round of 16. Kuchar is not yet qualified for the Masters, a tournament in his home state of Georgia where he's historically thrived, so he will enter this tournament highly motivated both by the cash and the chance to tee it up at Augusta National next week.

Kevin Streelman

  • Event Scoring Average: 70.44 (Eight career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T18 ('22), 6th ('19), T8 ('18), 
  • DraftKings Price: $7,000 FanDuel Price: $8,600

Streelman heads to San Antonio to make his ninth career start in the Valero Texas Open. He's made the cut in all of his eight previous trips. Yeah...the course history is strong with this one.

Unfortunately, Streelman's game has been a hot mess in 2023, as he's missed as many cuts as he's made - four on both counts - and his last top-25 came when there was still frost on the pumpkin.

Despite those struggles, I am somewhat optimistic about the veteran's chances this week. In addition to his ridiculously-good track record at TPC San Antonio, Streelman comes in off what was - by far - his best statistical outing of the year in his most recent start at the Valspar Championship. He gained 4.2 strokes T2G at the Copperhead Course, his best output since October of last year.


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