DRAWS AND FADES
Draws and Fades: Valero Texas Open
March 29, 2022
By Rob Bolton , Golfbet for PGATOUR.COM
All-time shots from the Valero Texas Open
With two doubleheaders and THE PLAYERS sandwiched in between, March is extra, so we’re well-oiled for the cadence of the second half of the PGA TOUR season. You have enough experience to trust your swing and commit to your shots.
The Valero Texas Open, the third event of 11 in Segment 3 of PGA TOUR Fantasy golf, reconnects us with a steady stream of stand-alone tournaments all the way through the John Deere Classic, the fourth stop in Segment 4. Your only break of the season is the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April because it’s a team event.
This week also gets PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live back in our sights. After debuting with five consecutive tournaments from The Genesis Invitational through the Valspar Championship, it sat out last week’s World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and Corales Puntacana Championship.
Of course, it also means that Mike Glasscott and I will be back for Pick ‘Em Preview every Wednesday beginning with the Valero.
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Matt Kuchar (+275 for a Top 20) … A proven commodity (and former – yes, former – man-crush) throughout his career, the sunset is getting closer at a quicker pace, but he’s been ageless at TPC San Antonio. He’s 9-for-9 with five top 15s, including the last two editions. It makes sense because he finds fairways and fills cups, so toss him into the bucket of horses for courses. He’s also fresh off a T16 at Copperhead. Giddy-up!
Brendan Steele (+250 for a Top 20) … While he hasn’t recently piled onto superb records at sites like Silverado, TPC Scottsdale and PGA National, he deserves another crack at TPC San Antonio. He broke through here in 2011 and has added a trio of top 15s. He’s also coming off a T13 at TPC Sawgrass. DFS special.
K.H. Lee (+250 for a Top 20) … Another gem for DFS. He’s 2-for-2 with a T14 (2019) and a T23 (2021) at TPC San Antonio, and he’s cashed in 11 consecutive starts dating back to the Shriners.
Denny McCarthy (+300 for a Top 20) … He was one of my Sleepers here last year and finished T34. The 29-year-old has authored a consistently strong season with two top 10s among six top 20s. His accuracy of the tee gives him great looks and his superpower on the greens pays off the long game, but he’s elevated to a level now where the experience is yielding dividends.
Chad Ramey (+400 for a Top 20) … I get it. He’s fresh off the thrill of his first PGA TOUR victory, but if he was feeling any stress, he didn’t show it, especially with how he closed at Corales. Impressive performance for a dynamic young talent. That said, he likely wouldn’t have generated too much attention here this week if not for last week’s career-changer. He fits the profile of a ball-striker who should walk mostly on the shortest grass at TPC San Antonio, but he’s still a rookie in his tournament debut. Consider limping in for a top 40 where you can find it.
Si Woo Kim
Odds sourced on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
Bryson DeChambeau … Regardless of the outcome (T58), thrilled that he returned to action at the Match Play. Use this week as the experiment to determine what to do next week, if anything. He’s still on the rebound from a fractured hamate bone in his left hand and a torn labrum in his left hip.
Luke List … Still scuffling since the breakthrough at Torrey Pines. And while it’s not something that can be quantified in the short-term, it’s fair to acknowledge that his return to the Masters – and first appearance as a professional – can be a major distraction this week. The pun is intended, and it’s relevant.
Jason Day … It doesn’t seem possible but even though this is his fourth appearance in the tournament, it’s his first at TPC San Antonio. The Aussie debuted as an 18-year-old non-member in 2006 at LaCantera. He returned in 2008 and 2009, and then the tournament moved to its current location. So, while he’s getting his first look at it, he’s also 0-for-2 since the death of his mother. Continue to give him the time that he needs.
Tony Finau … It looks like an error that he’s 159th in the FedExCup, but he’s wrangled only one top-30 finish on the PGA TOUR this season, and that was a T19 at the 38-man Sentry Tournament of Champions. Until he figures out a solution for his putting, abstain.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Hideki Matsuyama … He withdrew early from THE PLAYERS due to discomfort in his neck, shoulder and back. He also sat out last week’s Match Play, so he’s rested from competition since a T20 at Bay Hill. The good news is that he’s chosen to return now. It gives us a free peek at his form and fitness ahead of the Masters where he’ll be defending the title. The bad news is that we’ve been down this road with him enough not to rush back as quickly. The hedge is to stow him on you bench in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf.
Scottie Scheffler … The winner of three of his last five starts not only sits No. 1 in the FedExCup, but he’s the latest first-timer atop the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s earned the week off. You even could say that he did this field a favor!
Cameron Young … Got some company in the Rookie of the Year race when Chad Ramey won at Corales, but Young still leads his class at 18th in the FedExCup. The learning curve to being a rookie consists of many components. That includes balancing one’s schedule. He’s had a nice problem to solve in determining where he’s going to play because of his early success, so it’s not terribly surprising that this is his fourth early withdrawal after a commitment deadline this season. You can sigh, but he’s in next week’s Masters.
Taylor Pendrith … Reversed course with a solid Florida Swing on which he went 3-for-3 with a pair of top 25s. He’s committed to and withdrawn early in each of the last three weeks, however. At 70th in the FedExCup, he can afford to rest, which he will do again next week.
Carlos Ortiz … Hasn’t been the same since grinding out a solo second at Mayakoba in his native Mexico in early November. In fact, you’ll recall that he already was battling a sore left shoulder that was problematic enough for him not to choose to try to defend his title in Houston the week after Mayakoba. In 2022 alone, he’s just 3-for-7 and without a top 30.
Cameron Percy … Not so much an early WD as a didn’t accept. He gained entry with his top 10 at Corales (see Power Rankings Recap below), but he’s passing on a spot at TPC San Antonio. Whatever works. The 47-year-old has been a reliable source for us in the opposite events and other thinner fields. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
Martin Kaymer … This is his first early WD in four years. The 37-year-old is in the Past Champions category, so we don’t expect him to play often – not that he ever did even when healthy, really – but stick with him in weekly formats when he makes sense, which also isn’t often lately.
RECAP – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Justin Thomas T35
2 Daniel Berger T35
3 Shane Lowry T35
4 Paul Casey T60
5 Scottie Scheffler Win
6 Collin Morikawa T9
7 Dustin Johnson 4th
8 Russell Henley T60
9 Jon Rahm T9
10 Viktor Hovland T18
11 Xander Schauffele T35
12 Sungjae Im T35
13 Billy Horschel T9
14 Jordan Spieth T35
15 Talor Gooch T18
16 Brian Harman T35
RECAP – CORALES PUNTACANA CHAMPIONSHIP
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Sahith Theegala T22
2 Jhonattan Vegas T4
3 Hudson Swafford T36
4 Kramer Hickok T13
5 Brian Stuard T7
6 Graeme McDowell T50
7 Joel Dahmen WD
8 Cameron Percy T4
9 Emiliano Grillo MC
10 Peter Uihlein T36
Wild Card Haotong Li MC
OTHERS TO CONSIDER
Thomas Detry T15
Brice Garnett T58
Mark Hubbard MC
Kelly Kraft MC
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
March 29 … none
March 30 … Sungjae Im (24)
March 31 … Andrew Novak (27); Mito Pereira (27)
April 1 … none
April 2 … J.J. Henry (47); Rory Sabbatini (46); Shane Lowry (35)
April 3 … none
April 4 … Justin Lower (33); Tyler McCumber (31)