Hello, friends… oh wait, that’s next week.
This week, we have the Valero Texas Open, the last chance for a PGA Tour player to gain entry into next week’s Masters. The event will once again take place at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. This par-72 Greg Norman design is a sturdy test that suits elite ball-strikers—not a surprise, given Norman’s legendary ball-striking prowess.
Let’s look at four strong ball-strikers who would make good fits for your fantasy lineups this week:
Tony Finau $11,000
After Dustin Johnson withdrew earlier this week, Tony Finau was left as the best player in the field by a substantial margin. Finau already has three runner-ups and a fourth-place finish in 2021. He is a top-notch ball-striker both off the tee (seventh) and on approach (14th). He’s not a great putter, but on TPC San Antonio’s slower greens, that weakness may be muted. Finau is first in the field in birdies, which is great for DraftKings scoring. In all three of his starts at the Valero Texas Open, he has made the cut, and he finished third in 2017.
Jim Furyk $6,800
Am I really recommending Jim Furyk? Well, yes. Yes I am. Furyk checks all of the boxes this week. He is the ultimate grinder, keeping himself near the tops of leaderboards by simply not making mistakes. In his five appearances at the Valero Texas Open, Furyk has made the cut every time and placed in the top six twice. In 2021, the 50-year-old has made three of four cuts on the PGA Tour. The one cut he missed was at the Honda Classic, where he was just one stroke away from making the weekend. Furyk ranks 10th in the field on approach, and if he hits his irons anywhere near that level at TPC San Antonio, he should make the cut and more than pay off his low $6,800 salary.
Hoffman couldn’t come to Texas at a better time. TPC San Antonio is arguably the PGA Tour course he plays the best, his game has been trending upward, and he needs a win to get into the Masters. In his past ten starts at the Valero Texas Open, Hoffman has finished 13th or better eight times, placed second twice, and won once. He joins Tony Finau, Corey Conners, and Keegan Bradley as the only players in the field to rank in the top 15 both off the tee and on approach. Finally, Hoffman has made his past five cuts, which resulted in three top-17 finishes and a T-34 last week in Punta Cana. (That 34th-place finish is better than it looks, though, as he was in contention before going five over his last two holes.)
If you used Hoffman already, Steele is a great option. The 2011 Valero Texas Open champion has made eight of nine cuts at this event, including four top-13 finishes. So far in 2021, Steele has placed 43rd or better in all eight of his starts, gaining strokes off the tee each time. If that continues, expect another high finish.