2023 Valero Texas Open Golf DFS Fades & Pivots: Cameron Davis the Ultimate All-or-Nothing Play

The Valero Texas Open begins this week, and most of the bigger names on the PGA Tour are skipping this event. The highest-ranked golfer in the field is Hideki Matsuyama, who withdrew last week from his final singles match. Matsuyama will be looking for quick redemption, much like most of the field, but not everyone will have what it takes to challenge for the win. Let’s take a look at the top PGA DFS fades and pivots for the 2023 Valero Texas Open.

PGA DFS Golf Fades & Pivots | Valero Texas Open

TPC San Antonio is a longer course where supreme ball striking will be necessary. It is a par-72, winding track that has seen a solid number of elite and longshot winners come through, and the looming Masters always adds an element of intrigue due to the winner receiving a final qualification spot for that event. There are not too many easy comparables for the course given its unique setting and layout, but the tougher Copperhead Course (host of the Valspar) comes to mind. Jordan Spieth has won at both courses, and players like Sean O’Hair, Gary Woodland and Tony Finau have shown good upside at both venues as well.

This year, the lack of elite talent will again mean ownership will be condensed around a couple of bigger names and create some interesting dynamics for lineup building in DFS.

TPC San Antonio Stats and Info

  • This venue features some of the toughest-to-hit greens on tour, with a greens-in-regulation rate that typically falls between 52% and 58% most years — well below the tour average. Approach games become very important this week, and top finishers have tended to gain most of their strokes through approaches.
  • TPC San Antonio is also more of a driver-heavy course, with average driving distance typically falling a couple of yards above the tour average. Fairways are extremely hard to hit, with driving accuracy numbers being 5% to 10% lower than average most seasons.
  • It features atypical par 5’s, as only two of the four par 5’s on the course rank in the top 5 easiest scoring holes.

2023 Valero Texas Open DFS Golf Fades and Pivots

High-End Fade: Taylor Montgomery

Projected DFS Golf Ownership: DraftKings: 15.1% | FanDuel: 22%

Montgomery doesn’t carry overly chalky PGA DFS ownership projections, but he will still likely push towards being 15% owned (or more) in big GPPs on both sites. His $9,900 salary on DraftKings is anything but a bargain, especially compared to the other golfers in this range. Below Montgomery, there are players like Si Woo Kim (who has already won on the PGA this season), Davis Riley and Matt Kuchar (who are trending well). Even Ryan Fox has shown good form of late and comes $900 cheaper. Montgomery continues to bleed strokes on approach and, as a result, doesn’t set up well for this kind of demanding track where long games will be under pressure all round. There are several players in the $9,000 range on DraftKings projecting above him in top-6 probability in Stokastic’s PGA DFS projections, making Montgomery an easy fade at his current ownership levels.

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High-End Pivot: Matt Kuchar

Projected DFS Golf Ownership: DraftKings: 14.2% | FanDuel: 18.1%

There are lots of pivot options to consider off of Montgomery, but Matt Kuchar provides the best leverage. He is projecting for under 15% ownership on DraftKings and has nearly the same PGA DFS projections that Montgomery does on Stokastic. Kuchar also comes a lot cheaper, which is great considering his floor is likely as good as anyone’s in the field. He has made five cuts in a row at TPC San Antonio and finished 12th or better at this event in each of the past three seasons. Kuchar has shown flashes that his game is trending in the right direction in 2023, and he will be coming in with some confidence after winning his pod at the WGC Match Play. The course history and strong PGA DFS projections all lead to Kuchar being a great pivot option whose salary alone will allow for better lineups.

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Mid-Range Fade: Will Gordon

Projected DFS Golf Ownership: DraftKings: 17.1% | FanDuel: 8.1%

Gordon will likely carry solid ownership once again on DraftKings, where his $7,200 salary makes him one of the better-known players in that range. Gordon certainly hasn’t tanked lineups this season as a value, but he has also not done much in terms of landing a big finish either. Four made cuts in his last four starts have only yielded finishes of 42, 70, 54 and 36, and he gains strokes anywhere but on approach. This week he is also grouped in a range of players where finding a low-owned pivot will be easy enough and where better upside exists for those willing to take on some higher variance. Gordon fails to stand out in a weak range in the PGA DFS projections, and that combined with him likely being the highest-owned player in this range makes him a solid fade target.

Mid-Range Pivot: David Lingmerth

Projected DFS Golf Ownership: DraftKings: 5.0% | FanDuel: 5.0%

Lingmerth is more of a momentum play than anything, as he comes into this event on a solid run of two top-10 finishes over his last five starts. Lingmerth’s long-term viability may be semi-hard to figure given how long he was off the PGA Tour, but it is hard to argue with his results this season. He has also been gaining most of his strokes off the tee and on approach of late, which makes him a better fit for TPC San Antonio than several of the other players in this range who are more up and down in those stats. Despite the good play of late, Lingmerth is still being relatively ignored in this range, with projected 5% ownership on DraftKings. He is an excellent pivot candidate for large-field GPPs and top-10 markets.

Mid-Range Fade: Thomas Detry

Projected DFS Golf Ownership: DraftKings: 12.5% | FanDuel: 9.4%

Detry has done pretty well in these weak field events over his short time on the PGA Tour, but at the same time, his lack of top finishes this season leaves a lot to be desired. He has made 14 of his last 15 cuts on the PGA Tour, but since the start of the season, his best finish prior to last week in Corales (which was the weakest field of the year) was a 24th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Detry is a pure projection fade, as he currently has one of the worst top-6 percentages in the $8,000 range on DraftKings. His usefulness as a cut maker is nice, but for $8,400, there are better upside options for large-field GPPs.

Mid-Range Pivot: Cameron Davis

Projected DFS Golf Ownership: DraftKings: 9.6% | FanDuel: 5.7%

Davis is the classic all-or-nothing move in 2023. He has dealt with some health issues and at one point missed five cuts in a row. However, his sixth-place finish at THE PLAYERS demonstrates what he can do when his game is trending well. Unlike Detry, who makes cuts but has trouble getting into contention on the weekend, Davis is far more prone to making runs on Saturday or Sunday and has a top-6 probability in the PGA DFS projections that is nearly 2 percentage points higher than Detry’s. Davis should be keen to follow up his sixth at THE PLAYERS with another decent start given that he lost in the pod stage at the WGC Match Play. With people still scared off, he is a great GPP target with PGA DFS ownership projections trending to be under 10%.

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Geoff Ulrich

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