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Patrick Rodgers leads, but value lurks behind him at Valero

5 Min Read

Draws and Fades

    In my First Round Leader column on Wednesday, I noted the tricky weather these players were expected to have to deal with – but that handicap did not account for fog!? That was indeed a curveball, and very apropos, coming on opening day of the Major League Baseball season. The fog that delayed play for over three hours on Thursday now has Round 2 bleeding over into the weekend. Currently the projected cut line sits at Even and there is a strong chance that is where we will end up after the second round is completed on Saturday.

    Patrick Rodgers is well out in front at 11 under after firing two straight rounds in the 60's, an opening round 66 followed by a 67. Rodgers is seeking his first ever PGA TOUR victory. 2019 Valero Texas Open champion, Corey Conners, is three shots back of Rodgers at 8 under after opening with a 64 and following it up with an even par, 72 on Friday. Roberto Diaz is currently tied with Conners at 8 under - with eight holes left to play in his second round. Like Rodgers, Diaz is also seeking his first TOUR win and is ranked 816th in the OWGR.

    Updated odds to win (via BetMGM Sportsbook)

    +250: Patrick Rodgers

    +450: Corey Conners

    +900: Brendon Todd

    +1400: Matt Kuchar

    +2000: Chris Kirk, Thomas Detry

    +2500: Michael Thompson, Roberto Diaz

    +2800: Eric Cole

    +3000: Nick Taylor

    Here's a look at some of the players I’m looking to back (and oppose) heading into Day 3 in San Antonio:


    Brandon Todd (+900)

    The price is probably a little light at this point, but Todd has a very good chance to get to 8 under, if not 9 under, before Round 3 begins. He is currently on the green, playing his 16th hole of round two and needs to two-putt from 25 feet in order to remain at seven under par for the tournament. He then has a Par 5 and Par 4 to close his second round, two holes ranking 15th and 13th in terms of difficulty. If he finishes Round 2 at 8 under, +900 is a number I feel much better about. Todd has been uncharacteristically erratic so far and is currently 104th in the field for Driving Accuracy and 62nd in SG: Putting. These two areas are the biggest strengths of Todd's game and I believe they will come around over the weekend. It's pretty amazing that he is where he is on the leaderboard and the strengths of his game are not yet firing for him. Todd finished eighth here last year and has also finished first, eighth, and 11th at Mayakoba, another Greg Norman design. He also currently ranks second on TOUR in Final Round Scoring Average.

    Eric Cole (+2800)

    This is a pretty juicy number on a player who is currently tied with Kuchar and one shot ahead of Chris Kirk, a man he went to a playoff with at the Honda Classic just five weeks ago. Cole is an excellent putter and on day one here in San Antonio, he ranked 98th in the field for SG Putting, losing nearly three quarters of a stroke to the field. On Day 2, he got back to what he is used to and ranked fifth in the field for SG: Putting. He's been excellent off the tee and on approach. I think Cole is primed for a very solid weekend and offers what I see as the best value at +2800. Honestly, the very short price on Patrick Rodgers is very fair – but I'm not ready to jump in. It's hard for me to take that price with a player who has yet to win on TOUR. I'd rather back Cole, who is 30th on TOUR in Third Round Scoring Average and 16th in Final Round Scoring Average. And I like him in the role of the chaser whereas Rodgers is dealing with the pressure of being the 36-hole leader. I believe the playoff loss to Kirk at the Honda helps Cole prepare for what could be another big moment on Sunday.


    Corey Conners (+450)

    Conners came out on Thursday, scorching hot, firing a 64 but he came back on Friday with an even-par 72 that included a 3-putt from just four feet. Conners is already qualified for The Masters Tournament next week and while his track record here in San Antonio is excellent, I'm not so sure how much his heart is in this to go through the grind for another two and a half days. From Round 1 to Round 2, Conners went from 11th and 14th in the field for SG: Around the Green and SG: Putting, respectively to 67th and 84th in Round 2. I'd rather see consistency than big swings in performance. On top of this, Conners is one of the bigger names in this field with a proven history here at this event. I don't think +450 is a great number to jump in on the past champ right now.

    Matt Kuchar (+1400)

    Kuchar is another one of the prominent names in this field who has consistently performed well in the state of Texas as well as on a few of the correlated courses I used this week - but I believe he is too far back at this point relative to his price. He's really been shaky off of the tee but is saving himself around the greens and from the sand. Will that hold up all weekend? I definitely don't want to take a +1400 chance on him making a charge and not only turning things around off the tee, but clinging to the magic he has going on around the greens. I figure he is truly more like a +2000 shot at this point to win the Valero Texas Open and it always pays to shop for the best bargain.

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