Texas Open 2024 Tips: Jamie Worsley’s six to back on the PGA Tour this week

 | April 01 | 

22 mins read

jamie worsley pga tour

The US Masters is fast-approaching and many golfers will have one final chance of playing at Augusta National in 2024 but they'll need to win at the Valero Texas Open at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio this week.

Our golf tipster Jamie Worsley is no doubt already doing his research ahead of the first major of the season but for this week his PGA Tour eyes are firmly set on the Lone Star state, as he picks out six players worth backing as part of his Texas Open 2024 Betting Tipping Preview for us at Betfred Insights...

Texas Open 2024 Tips

  • Harris English 35/1 – 1/5 6 places – 1.5 pts ew
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout 40/1 – 1/5 8 places – 1.25 pts ew
  • Aaron Rai 55/1 – 1/5 8 places – 1 pt ew
  • Lee Hodges 90/1 – 1/5 6 places – 1 pt ew
  • Seamus Power 100/1 – 1/5 8 places – 1 pt ew
  • Nate Lashley 125/1 – 1/5 6 places – 0.75 pts ew

Germany’s Stephan Jaeger ended his long wait for a PGA Tour victory in Houston last week and denied Scottie Scheffler a third straight win in the process; as some of those putting issues resurfaced for the world #1.

Both players were part of a five-way tie for the lead entering Sunday’s final round and Jaeger swiftly established himself as the man to beat as a 3-under-par front nine took him into the outright lead.

Contenders came and went, with Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti bogeying the final hole to finish a shot shy of Jaeger, whilst Thomas Detry will be ruing letting countless excellent chances slip by over the closing holes.

A superb approach to 5ft on the final hole looked set to take Scheffler into a playoff after Jaeger missed his lengthier birdie chance. However, Scottie had struggled with the putter all day and as his birdie putt slid by, the title belonged to Jaeger.

It was another exciting final round on the PGA Tour and the tour will be hoping for more of the same in Texas this week, as we make one final stop before Augusta, with the Texas Open at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Having debuted in 1922, the Texas Open is one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour and has always been played in and around the San Antonio area. As of 2010, the home of the tournament has been here, at the Greg Norman-designed TPC San Antonio – Oaks Course.

Since 2019 it has been staged in this slot on the calendar, directly preceding The Masters; providing those on the outside looking in with one final opportunity of making it to Augusta.

This fine old event has a roll of honour to match, with revered names such as Walter Hagen (1923), Byron Nelson (1940), Ben Hogan (1946), Sam Snead (1948, 1950), Hale Irwin (1977) and Lee Trevino (1980) all previous winners.

Ahead of several two-time winners, Arnold Palmer was for a long time the only player to have won the Texas Open on three occasions, recording a trio of victories from 1960-1962. However, Texas’ own Justin Leonard equalled this feat in 2007, having previously won the event in 2000 and 2001.

Last five winners:

  • 2023: Winner: Corey Conners (-15); runner-up: Sam Stevens (-14)
  • 2022: Winner: JJ Spaun (-13); runners-up: Matt Jones, Matt Kuchar (-11)
  • 2021: Winner: Jordan Spieth (-18); runner-up: Charley Hoffman (-16)
  • 2019: Winner: Corey Conners (-20); runners-up: Charley Hoffman (-18)
  • 2018: Winner: Andrew Landry (-17); runners-up: Trey Mullinax, Sean O’Hair (-15)

Corey Conners became the first person to win multiple versions of the Texas Open at TPC San Antonio last year, following on from his first tour victory in 2019. He returns to defend, though he will need to get the better of one of the best Texas Open fields in recent memory if he wants to retain.

THE COURSE

Greg Norman completed TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course in 2010 and the course has remained largely the same, besides a bunker renovation that took place in 2021.

Aside from hosting this event, the Oaks Course also hosted the 2020 TPC San Antonio Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour – an event won by Davis Riley - after the 2020 Texas Open was cancelled due to covid.

The course plays as a par 72 and measures 7438 yards. It possesses 10x par 4s (347-481 yards), 4x par 5s (553-604 yards) and 4x par 3s (171-241 yards).

With an average winning score just above -13 over the thirteen renewals at the course since 2010, TPC San Antonio has proven to be a stern but fair test.

This largely flat parkland course is one that is all about ball-striking. Despite being predominantly tree-lined, there is plenty of room on many holes, however the often doglegging fairways are notoriously difficult to find, possessing the fourth-lowest driving accuracy percentage on tour; protected by strategically-placed bunkers and some thick patches of rough.

These challenges off-the-tee then amp up the difficulty on approaches into these large but resistant poa trivialis overseeded greens. Most of them are elevated - some dramatically so – whilst also narrow/shallow in shape and positioned at an angle to the fairway. Guarded by a plethora of large, cavernous bunkers and abounded by steep run-offs and false-fronts, they are designed to harshly punish unprecise approaches and rank among the ten toughest-to-find greens on tour.

Having said that, despite being extremely sloped in places, they usually run pretty slow and it doesn’t rank among the more demanding short-game tests on tour.

Water is only seriously in-play on a couple of holes, guarding the front of the huge sloping green on the 171-yard par 3 3rd and comes into play again on the closing hole of a typically exciting TPC finish.

The 183-yard par 3 16th kicks off the closing trio of holes, requiring players to hit an approach into a large green that is protected by a bunker right in the middle.

This is followed by the 347-yard par 4 17th, a drivable par 4 but challenging to hit in one. The narrow green is protected by a large bunker to the left, whilst the camber of the fairway will see those who come up short running into a collection area further left, leaving an unenviable pitch over the aforementioned bunker to try to set up a birdie chance.

The 591-yard par 5 18th closes things out. This snaking par 5 will see players drive into one of the narrowest fairways on the course; the green and layup area are split by a creek and will leave players with a tough choice in how to attack the hole. It always makes for an exciting finish, with eagles and doubles+ on the cards for all.

THE WEATHER

Conditions are forecast to be sunny, warm and dry in the buildup to this week’s event and continuing throughout the week.

With just a gentle breeze on Thursday, this should be the most scorable day of the week as the wind is set to kick up over the next three, where we may see gusts of 25mph+ over the weekend.

KEY STATS

  • SG: Approach
  • Greens-in-Regulation
  • Proximity from 150-200 yards

Whilst an all-round ball-striking performance is important at TPC San Antonio, there is no doubt that the key to unlocking this course lies in iron play.

This was plain to see in last year’s renewal, as Corey Conners ranked 1st in approach and greens-in-regulation on his way to victory; a repeat of how he won his first Texas Open in 2019. Not only the Canadian who impressed in this area but his nearest challengers all excelled in approach, with Sam Stevens in 2nd ranking 2nd; Matt Kuchar and Sam Ryder in 3rd ranked 3rd and 4th respectively.

JJ Spaun entered the 2022 Texas Open in form with his irons and replicated it somewhat that week, ranking top 25 in approach/GIR.

Jordan Spieth was also in good form in approach prior to his 2021 win and brought it that week, ranking 4th, whilst his nearest challengers, Charley Hoffman and Matt Wallace, ranked 8th and 1st in approach respectively.

Andrew Landry led the field in approach and GIR in his 2018 victory and Kevin Chappell ranked top 5 in both areas when taking this title in 2017.

In addition, those players at their best with the mid-long irons should be extra advantaged this week, with approaches in between 150-200 yards accounting for over 33% in the last eight renewal.

  • SG: Off-the-Tee and/or Driving Accuracy

It’s no surprise to see the driver also feature heavily among the contenders here over the years. Corey Conners ranked 4th and 8th OTT in each of his two victories and JJ Spaun ranked 10th when winning in 2022.

Spieth drove it solidly in 2021, though Hoffman and Wallace drove it better, ranking inside the top 20. It was the same story for Conners’ closest rivals in 2019 and of the three winners from 2016-18, each ranked top 20 OTT.

We often see both longer and shorter hitters enjoy success here. Despite the course looking reasonably length at 7400+ yards, most of that length comes from three of the par 5s and one especially lengthy par 3. The par 4s look attackable for all types in the field and if the shorter hitters find plenty of fairways they can definitely get themselves in the mix.

  • SG: Putting (poa trivialis overseed)

Whilst not as important as the ball-striking areas, most players to win here have needed an at least solid week on the greens, with Conners last year the only one of the last seven winners to rank outside the top 35.

CORRELATING EVENTS (COURSES)

Memorial Tournament (Muirfield Village)

The tree-lined yet spacious Muirfield Village is a place where quality ball-strikers thrive, especially in approach into similarly punishing greens; whilst the average approach distances there also compare closely to TPC San Antonio.

Notable correlating form:

Kevin Chappell:

Texas (1st) / Memorial (2nd)

Ben Curtis:

Texas (1st) / Memorial (6th)

Matt Kuchar:

Texas (2nd, 3rd, 4th) / Memorial (1st, 2nd)

Daniel Summerhays:

Texas (2nd, 4th) / Memorial (4th)

Sean O’Hair:

Texas (2nd) / Memorial (5th)

Matt Every:

Texas (2nd) / Memorial (6th)

Billy Horschel:

Texas (3rd, 3rd, 4th) / Memorial (1st)

Ryan Moore:

Texas (3rd) / Memorial (2nd, 5th)

Matt Wallace:

Texas (3rd) / Memorial (4th)

Ryan Palmer:

Texas (4th, 6th, 6th) / Memorial (2nd)

Si Woo Kim:

Texas (4th) / Memorial (4th)

Anirban Lahiri:

Texas (5th) / Memorial (2nd)

Byeong Hun An:

Texas (6th, 7th) / Memorial (2nd)

Valspar Championship (Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead Course)

Though a more traditional test, Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course is of a similar length, possesses similarly-sized poa trivialis overseeded greens and offers up a closely-matched test in approach to this week.

Notable correlating form:

Jordan Spieth:

Texas (1st) / Valspar (1st)

Martin Laird:

Texas (1st) / Valspar (5th)

Sean O’Hair:

Texas (2nd) / Valspar (1st, 2nd)

Will Mackenzie:

Texas (2nd) / Valspar (4th)

Ryan Moore:

Texas (3rd) / Valspar (3rd, 5th, 5th)

Adam Hadwin:

Texas (4th) / Valspar (1st, 5th)

Brian Gay:

Texas (4th, 6th) / Valspar (4th, 9th)

Charles Howell III:

Texas (4th, 8th) / Valspar (2nd, 5th)

Cameron Tringale:

Texas (5th, 8th, 9th) / Valspar (3rd)

Gary Woodland:

Texas (6th, 8th) / Valspar (1st)

Kevin Streelman:

Texas (6th, 8th) / Valspar (1st)

Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bay Hill)

The ball-striking test at Bay Hill is akin to what players will find In Texas, where a strong long iron game and quality off-the-tee can take you far. Much like the previous two courses, the makeup of approach distances is similar to TPC San Antonio.

Notable correlating form:

Martin Laird:

Texas (1st) / API (1st)

Corey Conners:

Texas (1st, 1st) / API (3rd)

Kevin Chappell:

Texas (1st) / API (2nd)

Charley Hoffman:

Texas (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd) / API (2nd)

Ben Curtis:

Texas (1st) / API (4th, 6th)

Matt Every:

Texas (2nd) / API (1st, 1st)

Sean O’Hair:

Texas (2nd) / API (2nd, 3rd)

Billy Horschel:

Texas (3rd, 3rd, 4th) / API (2nd)

Ryan Moore:

Texas (3rd) / API (4th, 5th)

Matt Wallace:

Texas (3rd) / API (6th)

Mayakoba Classic/World Wide Technology Championship (El Camaleon Golf Club)

El Camaleon wouldn’t look the most obvious comp, despite being another Greg Norman design. However, there was an abundance of crossover form between these two events and it does require a good level of precision ball-striking to overcome, whilst also ranking among the easiest courses on tour on and around the greens.

Notable correlating form:

Charley Hoffman:

Texas (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd) / El Camaleon (1st)

JJ Spaun:

Texas (1st) / El Camaleon (3rd)

Andrew Landry:

Texas (1st) / El Camaleon (7th)

Matt Kuchar:

Texas (2nd, 3rd, 4th) / El Camaleon (1st, 3rd)

John Huh:

Texas (2nd) / El Camaleon (1st)

Matt Every:

Texas (2nd) / El Camaleon (3rd)

Daniel Summerhays:

Texas (2nd, 4th) / El Camaleon (5th)

Will Mackenzie:

Texas (2nd) / El Camaleon (9th, 12th)

Chad Collins:

Texas (3rd) / El Camaleon (4th)

Brian Gay:

Texas (4th, 6th) / El Camaleon (1st, 5th)

Si Woo Kim:

Texas (4th) / El Camaleon (3rd)

Martin Piller:

Texas (4th) / El Camaleon (4th)

Brendon Todd:

Texas (6th, 8th) / El Camaleon (1st)

Gary Woodland:

Texas (6th, 8th) / El Camaleon (2nd)

Kevin Streelman:

Texas (6th, 8th) / El Camaleon (3rd, 4th)

Phoenix Open (TPC Scottsdale)

With fairways that are tough to hit, and possessing an emphasis on approaches from 150-200 yards into large poa trivialis overseeded greens, TPC Scottsdale should act as a good guide this week.

Notable correlating form:

Charley Hoffman:

Texas (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd) / Phoenix (2nd, 2nd)

Brendan Steele:

Texas (1st, 4th) / Phoenix (3rd, 5th, 6th, 6th)

Martin Laird:

Texas (1st) / Phoenix (3rd, 5th)

JJ Spaun:

Texas (1st) / Phoenix (3rd)

Matt Kuchar:

Texas (2nd, 3rd, 4th) / Phoenix (4th, 5th)

John Huh:

Texas (2nd) / Phoenix (6th)

Matt Every:

Texas (2nd) / Phoenix (8th, 9th)

Aaron Baddeley:

Texas (3rd, 5th) / Phoenix (1st)

Ryan Palmer:

Texas (4th, 6th, 6th) / Phoenix (2nd, 2nd)

Gary Woodland:

Texas (6th, 8th) / Phoenix (1st)

Houston Open (Memorial Park Golf Course)

The similarly challenging ball-striking test and need for quality long iron play at TPC San Antonio led me to include it as a comp course for last week’s Houston Open. It feels sensible to reverse that this week.

Notable correlating form:

Trey Mullinax:

Texas (2nd) / Houston (4th)

Billy Horschel:

Texas (3rd, 3rd, 4th) / Houston (7th)

Tony Finau:

Texas (3rd) / Houston (1st)

Kevin Tway:

Texas (3rd) / Houston (2nd)

Gary Woodland:

Texas (6th, 8th) / Houston (9th)

Jason Kokrak:

Texas (7th) / Houston (1st)

THE FIELD

One of the best Texas Open fields in a long time has assembled at TPC San Antonio, as a host of stars look to get some last minute prep in before heading to Augusta.

World #2, Rory McIlroy heads them up and will be hoping to go much better than his missed cut here in 2022. He is one of four players from inside the top 10, joined by #8 Brian Harman, #9 Ludvig Aberg and #10 Max Homa.

There are a further seven from the top 25, including a quartet of TPC San Antonio debutants: #11 Matt Fitzpatrick, #12 Tommy Fleetwood, #16 Collin Morikawa and #21 Tom Kim.

Last year’s winner, Corey Conners is one of ten former winners in attendance, joined by JJ Spaun (2022), Jordan Spieth (2021), Andrew Landry (2018), Kevin Chappell (2017), Charley Hoffman (2016), Jimmy Walker (2015), Martin Laird (2013), Adam Scott (2010) and Zach Johnson (2009, 2008).

High-profile entrants chasing that final Masters spot include Billy Horschel, Byeong Hun An, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alex Noren, Keith Mitchell and Matt Kuchar.

SELECTIONS

Market leaders: Rory McIlroy 8/1, Ludvig Aberg 12/1, Max Homa 18/1, Hideki Matsuyama 18/1, Jordan Spieth 18/1, Collin Morikawa 20/1

Despite this strong field I’m going to avoid the top of the betting. Some of the more fancied players are routinely disappointing currently, and with the added caveat that many of those big names will have one eye on the much bigger prize of a Green Jacket next week I want to steer clear.

I did like the look of Billy Horschel and Alex Noren; both finished strongly last week, have good form here and chasing that Masters spot, there’s no questioning their motivation this week.

Having said that, that is also true of many others in this field who have shown some good form lately and look better value than the aforementioned duo.

Whilst several of those types will be among my selections this week, I am starting with a player who already has his spot assured. I just couldn’t ignore the recent upturn in form in approach from Harris English, who goes in as this week’s headline selection in Texas.

Harris English

English kicked off his year in Hawaii, finishing 14th in The Sentry and 10th in the Sony Open, before two underwhelming performances in California. However, he’s come back strongly over his last four starts, finishing no worse than 21st and hitting the top 10 at the Genesis. A run of form that has coincided with him finally finding form in approach.

He failed to strike a blow in approach over his first five starts of 2024 but has since gained in each of his last three, ranking inside the top 30 in the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and PLAYERS Championship. This sees English rank inside the top 25 approach players on tour over that period.

Added to a rank of 18th in greens-in-regulation for the season and top 50 off-the-tee and in driving accuracy, he is striking the ball well enough to play well here. When added to a ranking of 29th on the greens, he looks the complete package for TPC San Antonio.

While he has only played here five times – most recently when missing the cut in 2019 – he does have some solid efforts of 30th in 2015 and 36th in 2018. Although, it’s his correlating form that really catches the eye.

English is a past winner at El Camaleon; a runner-up in the Arnold Palmer Invitational; has a 3rd in Phoenix and possesses several top 10s at Innisbrook. This gives me the confidence that he’s capable of going better in Texas and if able to maintain the recent form in approach, I’d expect him to be among the leading contenders.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Christiaan Bezuidenhout has been in excellent form this year and as one of the strongest combined iron players/putters on tour, he can finally make that form pay by claiming a first PGA Tour title in Texas, booking his return to Augusta in the process.

Bezuidenhout has made nine starts this season and hit the top 25 on five occasions. His best finish came on his first start of 2024, finishing 2nd in The AmEx and he recorded his second top 10 of the year when 9th on the Valspar two weeks ago.

Barring an off week at Bay Hill, the South African hasn’t missed a beat in approach, gaining strokes in his other eight starts and ranks 11th on tour this season, where he has looked strong from 150-200 yards. He compliments this with a top-20 putting ranking, where he has shone several times on similar surfaces to this week, including ranking 15th when we last saw him at Innisbrook.

Those two areas contributed to Bezuidenhout finishing an encouraging 28th on debut at TPC San Antonio last year, as he ranked 10th in approach and 25th on the greens. His good record at Bay Hill - where he has three top 20s including finishing 7th in 2021 - along with this year’s top 10 at the Valspar suggest he’s capable of bettering that and with a Masters place on the line, I’m expecting him to do that this week.

Aaron Rai

Aaron Rai was well in contention throughout much of his 7th-place finish in Houston, sitting inside the top 10 at the close of every round. With his game looking strong all-round, he can capitalise on that at a course at which he’s gone strongly before.

Rai was a little slow to get going this year but has livened up over his last five starts where he has started to produced some eye-catching displays in approach.

He recorded a first top 20 of the year five starts ago when 19th in the Mexico Open, a performance aided by him ranking 3rd in approach. He followed that with another solid effort when 23rd in Puerto Rico and was again in fine ball-striking form three weeks ago when 35th in THE PLAYERS.

A missed cut at the Valspar two weeks ago was disappointing but he responded excellently last week with that first top 10 of the year at Memorial Park. He showed quality in all areas but in relation to this test I was especially encouraged by his rankings of 3rd in GIR and 10th in approach.

This consistent ball-striking quality sees the Englishman rank 5th on tour in GIR overall, 19th in approach – 13th between 175-200 yards – and he leads the tour in driving accuracy, certainly a positive here.

Rai’s precision-based ball-striking game has played a part in him going well on both previous visits here, finishing 29th in 2022 and 28th last year. Last week’s top 10 in Houston was his second at that correlating course and I fancy he’ll replicate that this week, as he goes in search of that first tour win and with it, a spot in the field at Augusta.

Lee Hodges

Lee Hodges has a good record here and with his putter now starting to match the quality he’s produced for most of the season in approach, he can warm up for his Masters debut with a win in Texas.

Hodges was hitting his irons well at the start of this season but due to struggles on the greens and off-the-tee, he only managed a best of 57th and missed three of his first five cuts of the year. He corrected both of those issues at Riviera, which took him to a first top 25 of 2024 and he has maintained it since.

He has recorded finishes of 12th at Bay Hill, 35th in THE PLAYERS and 26th in the Valspar over his last three starts; each time putting well – which sees him rank 28th on the greens over the course of those starts – and finding plenty of fairways, ranking 11th over that same time period in driving accuracy. When combined with his consistent quality in approach it makes him a dangerous competitor this week.

The American first played here in that 2020 event on the Korn Ferry Tour, finishing 14th, though missed the cut on his first PGA Tour start at TPC San Antonio in 2022. He looked set for a similar fate last year after an opening 74 saw him sat outside the top 100 after the first round, though he battled superbly, firing rounds of 66-69-69 to eventually finish the week in 6th spot. Looking good in approach and on these greens.

With solid 12th-place finishes at Muirfield Village and Bay Hill in his limited starts on correlating courses, Hodges has shown this to be a suitable setup.

Seamus Power

Seamus Power has shown positive signs throughout this year after returning from a hip injury which blighted much of last year’s campaign. After playing well at Augusta on each of his previous two visits, he’ll be desperate to book a return there this week and with his three best approach numbers of the year coming over his last three starts, he looks well positioned to make a serious run at doing so.

After several months out, it’s been encouraging to see Power’s consistency in 2024, where he’s missed just one cut in nine starts. Though there’s no doubt the quality of his results has improved in recent weeks.

His first top-25 finish of the year came when finishing 21st in the Arnold Palmer Invitational three starts ago, where he looked solid across all areas, including producing this year’s best approach performance. He again hit the irons solidly when finishing 64th at TPC Sawgrass and gave further reason for optimism when we last saw him finishing 26th in the Valspar, making it a trio of positive strokes-gained performances in approach and ranking 3rd in GIR.

Now starting to combine power and accuracy off-the-tee more frequently and looking much more like himself on the greens, he looks capable of a good week.

Power’s record of 58-MC-MC here in previous efforts may not look the most inspiring collection of results but it is worth noting he’s a considerably better play now than he was when missing that latest cut in 2019, becoming a two-time PGA Tour winner in the interim. His 3rd at El Camaleon in 2022 is a handy piece of Greg Norman form and suggests he’s more than capable of stepping up on these previous efforts.

Nate Lashley

I’m going to end this week’s picks with Nate Lashley. He’s been on fire with his irons on his last two starts and if reproducing that this week, he would look a real contender for a second PGA Tour win, which would earn him a second go at Augusta.

Lashley had a strange start to the year, missing six of his first seven cuts but finished a superb 3rd in the Farmers Insurance Open on that one occasion he did make the weekend. Although, he appears to have found consistency on his last two starts, that has coincided with some electric approach play.

He recorded his best ever finish in THE PLAYERS Championship two starts ago, entering the final round in 8th place before eventually finishing 13th; a performance that possessed quality throughout, though especially in approach, where he ranked 3rd and in gaining 2.14 strokes per round he produced his best display in this area in over five years.

It would’ve been easy for Lashley to fail to maintain this but after skipping the Valspar he returned to finish 21st in last week’s Houston Open, despite opening with a disappointing 74 to sit 100th after round one. He again shone with his irons, ranking 1st in GIR and 20th in approach, complimenting that with some straight driving, for which he ranked 5th in driving accuracy – as he does overall for the season – and looking solid on and around the greens.

That makes it two high-class ball-striking performances in a row, that I’m hoping he can transfer to this week at a course where he recorded a best of 18th in 2022. With a 3rd in the 2020 Phoenix Open acting as a good pointer for his potential at TPC San Antonio.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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