Valero Texas Open First Round Leader Picks, Bets & More (2024)

The PGA Tour certainly ensured no upstaging of the Masters by scheduling the rather bland Texas Open the week prior. There are still a handful of big names near the top of the OWGR, but the Valero is a tune-up at most. It’s why we continue with our PGA DFS first-round leader series by taking a stab at our Valero Texas Open first-round leader picks, bets and more!

Rory McIlroy leads the pack but there are plenty of golfers looking to tighten up before next week’s Major. Some desperately need improvement while others may look to tinker here or there, not truly caring about winning – or even making the cut. It’s vital to identify anyone in this field who truly needs to improve, as they will take a more serious approach, especially in the first round. There are also a bunch of big names sandwiched between Rory and the mid-range beginning in the 35-1 range.

TPC San Antonio offers little surprises, with tree-lined fairways and the elements as the course’s best defense. While it’s long, the course favors accuracy over raw power – making it more friendly for longer ball strikers than just bombers off the tee. We are also looking at anyone who is at least familiar with Bermuda grass. The Oaks Course plays a little shorter than the overall distance may indicate. There are multiple ways to attack the green off approach shots and uphill holes tend to play downhill.

The Texas wind can be unforgiving. Anyone who is from the area or just deadly accurate should prevail. Looking at the first-round leader market, we can start to weed out golfers who struggle in difficult conditions.

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Valero Texas Open First Round Leader Picks

The Keys To The Kingdom

We don’t need to overthink much for this week’s event. Oaks doesn’t jump out with much that we already know heading in and outside of extreme wind, won’t prevent a double-digit winning score. Targeting a first-round leader lies in combining accuracy, an early tee time and at the very least reliable putting. Bombers can certainly live well at the Oaks Course, but shaping shots and sacrificing distance for accuracy is the winning method.

This is a rare event before a major where some of the golfers in the field just aren’t too serious about making the cut. We want to stay as far away from those guys as possible, not looking to place any wager on McIlroy as a whole. Getting to the green may require a familiarity with this course, so if there’s anyone we like to lead after one, they better be top level accurate or have course history. Finally, use the current odds as an advantage. There are a few golfers who are still getting buy low numbers despite solid performances – those being Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Fitzpatrick and even Collin Morikawa.

Most of the time a first-round leader number is built off an outright chance, so there’s more of a break in taking a guy who only needs to be consistent for a round, rather than four days. Here are the top two first-round leader plays for the Valero Texas Open!

The Valero Texas Open First-Round Leader Picks

Valero Texas Open First Round Leader Picks: Collin Morikawa (+4500 at Caesars)

OK, I’ll bite. Morikawa hasn’t played much golf this calendar year and was absolutely atrocious at the Arnold Palmer but is a tremendous fit for this course. He followed that up with a pedestrian outing at The PLAYERS, finishing 45th. But we’ve also seen plenty of flash from him, it’s just been a colossal failure at times on the greens during some events. He finished fifth at the Sentry, 14th at Pebble and 19th at the Genesis. When he’s on, he’s been accurate and long with his irons and not falling apart while putting.

Oaks will demand a challenging strategy more than execution. Finding the correct spot and setting up the following shot will be more important than how long someone drives the ball. We know Morikawa to be an elite ball striker when healthy and should fit perfectly with what the Valero demands from second shots.

Morikawa has finished at least 18th in each of the last three Masters and could benefit from a hot start despite the Valero being unfamiliar territory. He has the ball striking ability to overcome what might be lost in any initial read of a golf course. With an earlier tee time, bogey avoidance, scoring on par 5’s and overall accuracy – Morikawa jumps out to a first-round lead.

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Texas Children’s Valero Texas Open First Round Leader Picks: Ryan Moore (+10000 at BetRivers)

Sure, there’s always going to be an element of fun whenever you bet something 100-1 but it’s rooted in more than just hope. Ryan Moore is spot on accurate with his clubs, making the ball look like it’s connected to a magnet. He’s at the top of accurate players who gain strokes on approach shots. In fact, he lost strokes on the green in each of his past three events despite making every cut and finished fifth once

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