Hoffman, Hossler highlight fantasy picks for the Valero Texas Open
Even by professional standards, TPC San Antonio can be a bear. Excluding the majors and Players Championship, the AT&T Oaks course was the fifth-hardest scoring venue on the PGA Tour last season, with the Valero Texas Open field averaging a 72.853 (+.853) on the Lone Star track. Though that number's high, it's considered moderate by this course's historic output: in 2015, the field averaged a whopping 74.521, with a handful of other years barking louder since the tournament moved to its current home in 2010.
Perhaps that's why this week's field is relatively low on marquee attractions—Sergio Garcia (No. 10) is the lone player in the top 20 world rankings. (And wait until next year, when the tournament moves to a new pre-Masters spot. Given the disparity between its set-up and Augusta National, it might look like an alternate event.) Despite this lack of firepower, there are still a host of intriguing names teeing it up. Have a listen to our weekly fantasy podcast to get up-to-speed on some of the top players to consider this week.
Meanwhile, for more information about guys that warrant your fantasy attention, read on:
Not only does he have a win at San Antonio, but Steele boasts two other top 10s, along with a T-13 in 2016. Though he had a quick out at the Masters he's still playing well this year, ranking fifth in strokes gained: off the tee and 25th in strokes gained total. Throw in the weak field, he’s about as safe a bet as you can get.
Si Woo Kim
His iffy short game—not only down the stretch in Hilton Head, but for the season (ranked outside the top 200 in strokes gained: putting) does give pause. Conversely, after a brutal stretch stretch following his Players Championship win (one top 35 from Sawgrass to the end of the season), Kim has regained a bit of formidability this campaign, posting four top 10s and ranking 25th in strokes gained: off-the-tee. Coupled with a nice showing in San Antonio last year, the 22-year-old should be on your short list.
Aside from ranking 19th in strokes gained off the tee, he statistics don’t paint a pretty picture, which could explain, aside from a runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open, he hasn’t done anything of merit this season. Put that aside for the moment, because has been money since the tournament moved to TPC San Antonio. Palmer owns four top 10s at this venue, including three straight top-six finishes.
Hossler showed signs of life early this season, but struggled come Sundays. Actually, "struggled" is putting it lightly: entering the Shell Houston Open, the University of Texas product was 188th in fourth-round scoring. That...that won't get it done. However, in Houston (67) and Hilton Head (68), Hossler proved his mettle. Sometimes young guns need to be thrown from the proverbial saddle to understand what it takes to ride in the ring. With a lights-out short game (10th in strokes gained: putting) and decent muscle off the tee, don't be surprised if Hossler finds himself in the mix in San Antonio.
Following a career year in 2017, Hoffman's been unable to mount a strong second effort through the first half of 2018, posting zero top 10s and ranking 51st in strokes gained. However, this is your "horses for courses" pick. In his eight appearances at TPC San Antonio, he has seven finishes of T-13 or better, including a 2016 victory. If he's not in your lineup, you're doing it wrong.