Billy Horschel earned the biggest victory of his career at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last weekend at a price of 70-1. After a 2-1 group-play record and outlasting Max Homa in sudden death, the 32nd-seeded Horschel defeated Kevin Streelman, Tommy Fleetwood, Victor Perez and then Scottie Scheffler in the final. Horschel moved into the Official World Golf Ranking top 20 for the first time since 2015 and put himself into consideration to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the first time. He will not play in the Valero Texas Open this week, instead turning to Masters preparation.
Meanwhile, Joel Dahmen will enter an event as a PGA Tour winner for the first time. At 50-1, Dahmen won the Corales Puntacana Championship and was in tears on the 18th green, saying, “It is so freaking hard to win a golf tournament.” He admitted to a bit of a hangover Monday but now must get back to business as he will need to go back-to-back to earn a spot in next week’s Masters. Nevertheless, he is now No. 61 in the world and has a two-year PGA Tour exemption after his maiden victory.
Dustin Johnson was a late entry into the Valero Texas Open. But Monday, he became a late withdrawal, taking the week off before defending his Masters title. Speaking of the Masters, 2015 champion Jordan Spieth (10-1) is now this week’s betting favorite in San Antonio, where he finished second in 2015. After a season-opening missed cut in San Diego, Spieth was all the way down to 92nd in the world. Since then he has posted three top-4 finishes, reached the round of 16 at the Match Play and has become a chic pick to capture another green jacket. Tony Finau (12-1) has cooled a bit from his early season form, when he had four top-4 finishes in four starts, but he did finish third here in 2017. Scheffler (14-1) played brilliantly last week in his Austin home game. He took down Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm, two European Ryder Cuppers, on Saturday, and then beat Matt Kuchar before bowing out to Horschel in the final. Scheffler is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory, and it will remain to be seen if he has the energy for this one with the Masters on deck. Hideki Matsuyama (18-1) makes his first Valero appearance after failing to advance in the Match Play, but he might be carrying some momentum after having easily dispatched world No. 10 Patrick Cantlay 4 and 2 in his final pool-play match. Abraham Ancer (20-1) was looking to go 3-0 in his group and had a 2-up lead on Viktor Hovland with four holes to play, but he lost three straight holes and eventually the match, then had little left for Streelman in sudden death for a spot in the round of 16. Corey Conners (20-1) had to earn a spot in a Monday qualifier the last time this event was held in 2019 but got himself a spot in that year’s Masters. Many players are attempting to duplicate that feat this week.