One of the weakest fields of the PGA Tour season will be on hand this week at the Valero Texas Open. With the Masters next week and the WGC-Dell Match Play last week, big names are few and far between on the entry list for this week at TPC San Antonio. This is a pretty motivated field at least, as the winner could end up getting a spot in the field for the Masters. If that player is already there, well, it’s not bad to go into the first major off of a win and a million dollar check.
You know it’s going to be a tricky one when Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, and Sungjae Im are the only players in five figures per DraftKings. We’ll do what we always do and look for value in case you want to break the bank on those guys.
Ryan Palmer ($8,400) – The Amarillo native played his golf at Texas A&M and seems to love this course. Before missing the cut last year, Palmer was sixth, fourth, and sixth from 2015-17, so he certainly has his fair share of strong finishes at TPC San Antonio. He’s already racked up three top-10 finishes this season with a third at the CJ Cup, a fourth at the Honda Classic, and a seventh at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He’s 54th in strokes gained tee-to-green and in the top 60 in putting. While he doesn’t stand out in most regular fields, that type of consistency is magnified here. He’s also sixth in GIR% and seventh in birdie average. That matters even more than usual this week.
Luke List ($8,000) – The reason why the ability to hit GIRs and make birdies is because the big hitters should have an easier time with this course this week. Course officials have widened the fairways and have trimmed down the rough this week. Perhaps it is to placate the fans and the entrants with a light field, but it should help the heavy hitters that can’t keep it between the thick, green lines. Luke List is one of those guys. He’s third in driving distance, but 178th in driving accuracy. He’s 52nd in GIR%, though, so tamer rough and wider fairways can’t hurt. List is 16th in strokes gained tee-to-green and 23rd in strokes gained overall. List is one of many hoping to punch a ticket to the Masters, so he has a lot to play for.
Trey Mullinax ($7,400) – This is my favorite play of the weekend. Trey Mullinax, like Luke List, is a guy that hits the ball a mile, but isn’t always quite sure where it’s going to end up. Mullinax is 19th in driving distance and 47th in GIR%, but he’s 206th in driving accuracy. With even wider fairways, Mullinax has the chance to repeat or maybe even improve upon last year’s second-place finish. Putting has been his primary problem all season, as he ranks 192nd in that department, but there must have been something about these greens last year. He opened with a 74 and still finished second, as he was helped tremendously by a Saturday 62. You don’t shoot 62s if you don’t like the greens.
Wyndham Clark ($7,100) – Let’s keep that theme rolling, eh? Wyndham Clark, who might have the golfiest golfer name ever, is fifth in driving distance this season. Like List and Mullinax, finding the fairway has been a problem. He is a bit lower on the GIR% pecking order, but he’s putted much better than the other two gents. Clark is actually 20th in strokes gained putting. As long as he gets it to the green in a reasonable amount of time, he’s pretty good from that point on. Clark has also had a really nice wedge and chip game, as he ranks 44th in strokes gained around the green. He’s got a couple of top-10 finishes this season already and certainly has a chance at another one with this field and his skill set.
Jason Kokrak ($9,400) – This is a really pricy addition to the article, but Jason Kokrak has made all 11 cuts this season and got to take last week off from playing. That could be a big help after sitting out an event like the WGC-Dell Match Play. Some of the guys in this field, most of them priced around Kokrak, played last week. He was second at the Valspar two weeks ago and was also top 10 in the Arnold Palmer and the Honda Classic. Kokrak is 30th in driving distance, which will definitely play here, 25th in GIR%, ninth in strokes gained tee to green and 15th in strokes gained overall. He’s struggled to putt, but he’s done well en route. If nothing else, he should be a safe bet to grab a top-15 finish, while others in his salary range are not.