2023 Valero Open Preview (3-29-23)

By: Victor Herrera

Headline Photo Credit: USA Today

The Dell Match Play event in Austin, Texas at the Austin Country Club was an exciting one, to say the least. Rickie Fowler pulled the upset on world number two Jon Rahm. Rory McIlroy who many thoughts were going to cruise to a win had trouble closing out a key match. Ultimately after the long five-day event Sam Burns claimed the prize. Burns picked up his fifth career win and did it with ease as he won the final round with a six-hole lead. Before we make it to the Masters in 2 weeks the next stop is in San Antonio, Texas. Not all players will likely enjoy the festivities the party city has to offer as certain players are hoping for their last shot at a trip to Augusta this year. Taking place at TPC San Antonio the Valero Open will be the last stop before the first major of the year. A course that entices the players to drive it long, can also hurt them as the greens are surrounded by bunkers. We almost saw this happen to last year’s winner JJ Spaun on the final hole of last year’s tournament, where he almost gave up his golden ticket to Augusta with a drive wide left.

Mar 24, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Keegan Bradley congratulates Rory McElroy for a win during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

TPC San Antonio is a beautiful course that will challenge these golfers but can reward the long-ball hitters. My favorite leading into this tournament is a player who many hope can regain his winning ways. Looking for the final invite to Augusta. Rickie Fowler will be my favorite to win this week in River City. Fowler has played great as of late. His world golf rankings continue to rise each week. He did not finish how he wanted to last week but he was able to make a come-from-behind win against the number two player in the world. If Fowler can pull this off, it would send a shock in the golf world with him earning a chance to get his first career major. My dark horse for the Valero Open is Pierceson Coody. Having led the Texas Longhorn Golf Team to a championship, the 23-year-old is destined for big things on tour. This would be a good opportunity to make his mark early in his career.