Golf picks: Valero Texas Open predictions & best bets from Joe Champion

Corey Conners tees off on the sixth hole during the third round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament.
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Joe Champion


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Golf and soccer analyst for Pickswise, while also an avid tennis fan. One of very few Milton Keynes Dons soccer fans. For Joe Champion media enquiries, please email
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The Masters is just a week away but before the world’s best take the trip up Magnolia Lane, the Texas Open affords one final chance to tune up, or in the case of many, become the final man to qualify for the Augusta spectacular.

There are 30 Masters invitees in the field at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course, Rory McIlroy among them, while the remaining 126 runners are all dreaming of securing the last spot in next week’s field.

TPC San Antonio has hosted the Texas Open since 2010 and the tournament moved to its pre-Masters slot in 2019, when Corey Conners Monday-qualified then went on to win and seal an Augusta debut. But while only eight members of  last year’s Texas Open field had qualified for the Masters including Conners, who would go on to double up in this event, a restructured PGA Tour schedule has made for a stronger field this time around.

With Scottie Scheffler taking a week off, Rory McIlroy is the market leader by default and he was second at the Oaks Course in 2013, but the Northern Irishman is not playing because he’s desperate to win the Texas Open. He will only have the Green Jacket on his mind.

Of the other market principals, Collin Morikawa makes his debut hoping to find something ahead of next week, Jordan Spieth loves this event but struck the ball poorly in Florida and Max Homa failed to capitalize on a strong start at the Players. Let’s get into our predictions

Valero Texas Open golf picks and predictions

Ludvig Aberg (+1100)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

It’s no surprise to see Ludvig Aberg installed as second-favourite behind his Ryder Cup colleague McIlroy and the Swede, who incredibly is gearing up for his Major debut at Augusta, could head to Georgia on the back of a second PGA Tour victory.

While San Antonio hasn’t tended to favour one type of player, Aberg has a game which will translate to just about any course. His long, straight driving is always an asset but he’s also been solid on and around the greens in recent appearances.

The 24-year-old made a slow start to the year in Hawaii, taking time to gel with new caddie Joe Skovron, but form figures of 9-2-19-25-8 from his last five events, the most recent of which was the Players, suggest he could be about to kick on as the season starts to really heat up.

Aberg missed the cut as an amateur in the 2022 Texas Open but he knows San Antonio well, having attended Texas Tech University. This time he returns as a member of the elite.

Corey Connors (+2000)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Two-time winner Conners is priced up shorter than would usually be the case but the Canadian returns in solid form, finishing 18th at the Arnold Palmer and 13th at Sawgrass.

He possesses one of the best long-games on the PGA Tour, ranking tenth in strokes-gained tee-to-green, and it will be a surprise if he’s not towards the top of the leaderboard again.

Erik van Rooyen (+8000)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Erik van Rooyen and Austin Eckroat have qualified for the Masters by virtue of their PGA Tour wins and they catch the eye at bigger prices.

Van Rooyen is a high-class iron-player who was 14th on San Antonio debut three years ago and he had form figures of 8-2-25 prior to a missed cut at the Players. He can bounce back.

Austin Eckroat (+10000)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Eckroat, who pipped Van Rooyen to the Cognizant Classic title last month, is a tidy operator. He was born and resides in neighbouring Oklahoma, where he also went to college. He was also a runner-up at the 2023 Byron Nelson, which takes place in Dallas.

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