Everyone is getting into Masters mode, but we still have the Valero Texas Open before we head to Georgia. TPC San Antonio will play host once again and it is a par 72 that plays just over 7,400 yards.
The course usually has reasonably fast greens running around 11.5 on the stimp. There are just 54 bunkers and 2 water hazards that the field will contend with. Greens are Bermuda but overseeded with Velvet Bent and Poa Trivialis. For more information on the historical trends this week, head over to yesterday’s article.
Checking the Chalk
Sungjae Im ($10,100) comes in with great form to the Valero Texas Open this week. He has the third-longest active streak on tour of rounds at par or better with nine. This is the first real price jump of his young career, as he goes into the $10,000 range for the first time in a full-field event. Another popular, expensive option this week is Tony Finau ($10,800). He’s made nearly 90 percent of his cuts since the start of 2018. During that span, he’s popped for 12 top-10 finishes including four runner-ups. This event was good to him two years ago as he finished in third place. Finau has scored at least 70 DK points in each of his past four starts.
Jason Kokrak ($9,400) has the second-longest cuts made streak with 17 in a row dating back to The Open Championship. This is the first time in a full-field, regular season event that Kokrak is above $9,000. His current form warrants that price tag, though, as he’s had 10 top-25 finishes during his made cuts streak. Kokrak has hit at least 60 percent of greens in regulation in every start he’s made since last June. Everyone’s favorite golfer to tilt, Luke List ($8,000) is back at it again this week at a price that seems a bit low for the field. After struggling with his irons at the as we went from California to Florida, he seems to have found something again. He’s hit an average of 68 percent of his greens over his past two starts. List struggled to score on the weekend at TPC Sawgrass, but he goes as his putter goes.
I’m not sure how popular he’ll be but this was Joaquin Niemann’s ($7,600) coming out party last year. It was his first professional start and he turned in a T6 performance. He’s one of my guys, but his finishes have been less than stellar recently. Niemann missed the cut last week at the Corales, and hasn’t finished inside of the top 30 since November. His ball-striking has been pretty solid, averaging over 60 percent of GIR over his past five starts, but the putter has really held him back lately.
Note: As always, make sure you check out the model and ownership projections below. As I’m writing this, it looks like these are some of the popular options, but things change as the week goes on.
At least one of Rickie Fowler ($11,700) or Matt Kuchar ($11,200) might go slightly under-owned this week. Depending on roster construction in a weak field like this we could see them come in at lower ownership than you’d expect for their name recognition.
Even including a win and a second place finish, Fowler’s stats aren’t necessarily what we’ve come to expect over his past five starts. His ball-striking — both GIR and SG: Off the Tee — are below his average since the start of 2018. His putting has spiked, though, as he’s averaging 4.25 strokes on the greens over that span compared to 1.03 strokes over the 21 starts before that. Per DataGolf, he’s spiked around this level of putting before but it’s approaching unsustainable levels.
Kuchar seems to be peaking, as evidenced by his spot in the finals at the match play event last week. His putter was trending hard in the wrong direction and has an average of -1.05 SG: Putting over his past five stroke play events. Kuchar’s GIR numbers are a bit inflated over that time compared to his average since the start of 2018 but even if that regresses a little bit and his putter trends upwards a bit we could be looking at another solid performance from the PGA’s newest villain.
It’s not quite ready for prime time yet, but there’s a player comparison tool in the works behind the scenes for RotoViz. When looking for a Kokrak pivot, Jhonattan Vegas ($8,700) popped up as a recent comp. Over their past three starts, Vegas has hit more fairways and more greens than Kokrak while boasting similar distance off the tee. At a slight ownership discount, Vegas could make some sense this week.
Hank Lebioda ($6,400) has made 5-of-6 cuts and has only finished inside of the top 30 once in that span. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but he’s been striking the ball well and is very cheap in a weak field. During that span of a half dozen starts, Lebioda has hit at least 60 percent of GIR every time out. The putter hasn’t quite been there for him, but at only a few hundred dollars over the minimum salary here I think he has real cut equity and could pop into the finish position bonus at low ownership.
So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 22/24 made cuts, 16/24 top 30s, and 10/24 top 10s. Let’s keep it rolling with this week’s locks.
- Byeong Hun An ($9,200)
- He’s No. 1 in my model this week.
- An is hitting more fairways with more distance and about the same number of GIR as fan favorite Kokrak. I think he gives you a decent amount of leverage over the field.
- Jhonattan Vegas ($8,700)
- For the reasons above.
Model and Ownership Projections
Note: Ownership projections will be added and updated as we get closer to lock.
|Cheng Tsung Pan||6800||0.76||1|
|Si Woo Kim||7900||0.55||6.5|
|Davis Love III||6400||0.24||0.25|
|Jose de Jesus Rodriguez||6200||0.02||0.25|
|Ted Potter Jr||6100||0.01||0.25|