Only one more week until Christmas (aka the Masters), but first the PGA Tour makes a stop at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. The Oaks is a demanding ball-striking test that rewards solidly struck shots but punishes players when they miss in the wrong spot. Year after year we see the same mold of player contending at this event.

What are the most important skills required for success this week? Pretty simple:

  • Overall driving
  • Above-average approach play

Let’s take a look at three top-20 wagers:

Ludvig Åberg -140

The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio is a great fit for Ludvig, as it highlights his ball-striking prowess while deemphasizing his occasionally balky short game. He is the number-one overall ball-striker in the field, as he is the only player to rank top 10 off the tee and on approach. He did play this course numerous times in amateur events, so he is more familiar with it than he is with most other courses on Tour. Åberg has finished top 20 in 12 of his last 15 starts worldwide.

Corey Conners +135

Conners is second in this field in approach, gaining at least three strokes in each of his last four events. That elite consistency with his irons should set him up for another successful finish at TPC San Antonio. He has two wins in five starts here, and has never finished worse than 35th. He comes into this event in great form, with top-20 finishes at Bay Hill and the Players, both of which had much stronger fields than he’ll face this week.

Ryan Moore +380

Moore leads the field in approach in my model, as he has gained a monstrous 19.7 strokes on approach over his last three events. In those events, he finished 31st, 5th and 45th, struggling to capitalize on his approach play thanks to putting issues that cost him nearly 10 shots relative to the field average. The Oaks Course is a ball-strikers paradise, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Moore has three top-20 finishes in five appearances at this venue. +380 seems way too high for a player in great form playing a course that suits his game tremendously.