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Best golf bets and expert advice for the Valero Texas Open

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Best golf bets and expert advice for the Valero Texas Open

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The Masters is just days away but the now-traditional warm-up event, the Valero Texas Open, is a valuable PGA Tour prize in its own right with a competitive 156-man field assembling at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course.

Of those 156 players, 30 have an invite to Augusta National next week, including Rory McIlroy, who will be looking to sharpen up on the eve of the tournament he wants to win more than anything else.

Jordan Spieth, Max Homa and Collin Morikawa are among those joining McIlroy in a bid to find top form ahead of the Masters while, for the vast majority of the field in Texas, the Valero Open represents one last chance to qualify for the first Major of the season.

The Oaks Course, designed by Greg Norman, has staged this tournament since 2010 and 2019 marked the first time it was used the week prior to Augusta.

This 7,435-yard par-72 layout has played host to a few low-scoring affairs in recent editions but tough Saturday conditions could keep scores in check.

We have analysed the tournament and picked out three players who could head to the Masters on a high.

Valero Texas Open Tips

Ludvig Aberg to win @ 12/1

The best bet from the top of the market could be Ludvig Aberg, who can head to the Masters on a high by winning his second PGA Tour title in Texas this week.

Aberg missed the cut in this event when still a little-known amateur in 2022 but he has since become a superstar, claiming victories on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and making his Ryder Cup debut in a successful European team last autumn.

The 24-year-old knows this course well having attended Texas Tech University and he returns to the Lone Star State in rock-solid form having finished ninth, second, 19th, 25th and eighth in his last five PGA Tour starts, with the most recent effort coming on his Players Championship debut.

Corey Conners to win & each-way @ 25/1

Corey Conners’ maiden PGA Tour win came in the 2019 Texas Open as a Monday qualifier, then he did the double in this event last season, and the Canadian has every chance of sealing a Texas treble this time around.

Conners has long been a top-class ball-striker and that tee-to-green consistency returned over his last two starts with an 18th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational followed by 13th at the Players.

The defending champion has been held back by short-game struggles in the past but he’s putted well at San Antonio in five previous starts and a similar display should ensure he contends again.

Austin Eckroat to win & each-way @ 90/1

For a big-priced each-way punt, take a chance on Cognizant Classic champion Austin Eckroat as he goes in search of a second PGA Tour title in as many months.

Eckroat has yet to shine in this event but he’s a much-improved performer who has been striking his irons superbly in recent starts, including when producing a nerveless finish at PGA National.

He was a runner-up last year at another Texas event, the Byron Nelson, and could go one better at the Valero.

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