Valero Texas Open
San Antonio, TX
Overnight leader and World No. 41 Kevin Chappell hung up a 4-under-par 34-34=68 in the final round of the Valero Texas Open to post 12-under 276, good for a 1-shot win over Brooks Koepka and his first PGA TOUR title in his 180th career start.
The 30-year-old's been a runner-up six times on TOUR, four times last year, including solo 2nd at THE PLAYERS and P2 at the season-ending TOUR Championship (as 54-hole co-leader). He also went for T3 at the 2016 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, his third career third-place finish.
The UCLA product, a pre-tourney 25/1 outright, breaks through in his eighth visit to San Antonio – chasing T4 last year – with one of the aforementioned runner-ups coming here in 2011.
The victory comes in his 13th start of the season, is a second top 25, both doubling as top 10s, and checked in off T7 at the Masters two weeks ago. Of note, he is the 10th straight winner to have at least one week off prior to their respective wins.
He striped 10 (of 14) fairways and pelted 15 greens in regulation, gaining 4.041 strokes approaching-the-green. The Fresno, California, native squared bogey-5s at five (3-putt from 25'7") and 15, camouflaged by six birdies at holes 2, 3, 7, 10, 14 and 18, all from inside of nine feet.
Koepka, playing three groups ahead, posted the clubhouse mark of 11-under, walking off with birdie-4 after hitting his third from 88 yards away to 37 inches.
Chappell, unable to circle the drivable par-4 17th, came to the 18th needing birdie to win. He reached the par 5 in three and knocked home the winner from 8’2”, his subsequent celebration akin to last year’s champ Charley Hoffman, who also birdied the 72nd hole (from 9’2”) to win by one, though Hoffman’s dagger completed a come-from-behind victory.
This was Chappell’s fourth career lead/co-lead after 54 holes, first as the outright leader, and finally crossed the finish line.
With the win, he earns a 2-year exemption on TOUR (thru 2018-19) and invites to the 2017 PGA Championship and WGC-Bridgestone, and the 2018 SBS Tournament of Champions. He’d previously qualified for the 2017 PLAYERS, U.S. Open and Open Championship, and the 2018 Masters.
Chappell's 1st-place prize: $1,116,000 (no change from last year).
Chappell's Position by Round:
With a Strength of Field (SOF) rating of 203 (down from 215 last year), Chappell collects 38.00 world-ranking points and jumps 18 places to career-high 23rd in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
He banks 500 FedExCup (FEC) points for the victory and vaults 92 spots to 21st in the FEC standings.
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 87th playing of the Texas Open and eighth consecutive at the 7,435-yard par-72 (36-36) TPC San Antonio.
R1: 71.858; R2: 72.968; R3: 74.342*; R4: 73.158*
*Rounds 3 and 4 were the highest scoring averages for their respective rounds this season.
Chappell posted rounds of 69-68-71-68 for 16.326 SG: Total. He was the only player to put all four laps in the red.
Chappell ranked 1st in total birdies (with 22); 2nd in par-3 scoring; 2nd in SG: Approach-the-Green; 3rd in greens in regulation (GIR); T3 in par-5 scoring and 4th in SG: Off-the-Tee.
Koepka was 1stin SG: Tee-to-Green; 1st in GIR; T2 in total birdies (21); 3rd in SG: Approach-the-Green and 4th in SG: Around-the-Green.
Chappell’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 76 players):
Birdies: 22 (1st)
Bogeys: 8 (T5)
Double Bogeys: 1 (T19)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.81 (2nd)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.98 (T11)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.50 (T3)
Driving Distance (all drives): 297.0 yards (4th)
Driving Accuracy: 33/56 (T35) at 58.93 percent
GIR: 52/72 (3rd) at 72.22 percent
Proximity to hole: 35’7” (T10)
Putts per GIR: 1.692 (14th)
Total Putts: 112 (T36)
Putts by Round: 29-25-28-30
Scrambling: 13/20 (26th) at 65.00 percent
SG: Off-the-Tee: 4.383 (4th)
SG: Approach-the-Green: 8.130 (2nd)
SG: Around-the-Green: 0.751 (T32)
SG: Tee-to-Green: 13.265 (2nd)
SG: Putting: 3.061 (21st)
Brooks Koepka: The World No. 24 wrapped with a day-low 7-under-par 32-33=65 to reach 11-under 277, up 10 to solo 2nd. He nudges five spots to 19th in OWGR and 19 places to 18th in the FEC standings.
After opening in 68-74-70, the 26-year-old began T12 on 4-under, four back, and mounted a serious charge. His closing 65 was 8.158 strokes better than the field average in R4 and matched the low round of the week.
Playing out of the fourth-to-last threesome, the FSU product landed eight (of 14) fairways and peppered 16 GIR, the tourney leader in the latter at 75.00 percent (54/72).
He squared a lone bogey-5 at nine (3-putt from 49’8”), camouflaged by eight birdies at holes 1, 2, 6-8, 11, 12 and 18, five from greater than eight feet with a long of 39’1” at the par-4 seventh.
This was Koepka’s fourth runner-up in 74 career events (73 pro), second this season in 11 starts (2nd, Shriners), and has strung together three straight top-11 finishes.
His lone TOUR title remains the 2015 WM Phoenix Open (52 starts ago), where he came from three back with 5-under 66 to win by one.
Yahoo! Low Rounds:
R1: Branden Grace (66)
R3: Ryan Palmer (68)
R4: Brooks Koepka (65)
A total of 76 players from a field of 156 made the 36-hole cut of even-par 144:
40 (of 78) EARLY/late
36 (of 77) LATE/early; 1 WD
12 players finished in the top 10 with EIGHT of those EARLY/late, including all five of the top-5 finishers.
*Gay and Cauley record their second top-10 finishes in as many weeks, both results out of the LATE/early draw.
Kevin Tway: The World No. 432 fashioned a 3-under-par 35-34=69 to conclude on 9-under 279 (70-68-72-69), up one spot into a two-way T3 and a career best in his 44th career event.
He ended up three short of Chappell, but the T3 is his first career top-25 finish, brushing aside a T26 at the 2014 Travelers.
This was the Oklahoma State product’s second VTO after a missed cut by five in 2014 (74-78). The podium comes in his 12th start of the season, supplanting a previous-best T32 in his last start at the opposite-field Puerto Rico Open.
The Web.com Tour grad leapfrogs 153 places to 279th in OWGR and 73 spots to 102nd in the FEC standings.
Tony Finau: The second-round co-leader and World No. 74 orchestrated a 3-under-par 36-33=69 to finish off on 9-under 279, up one place to a season-best T3, three back.
This was the 27-year-old's second visit after T68 at the wind-swept edition in 2015. It was his 14th start of the season and departs with a fourth top 10, three of those top 5s, joining solo 5th (Valspar) and T4 (Farmers).
After opening laps of 71-65, the Utahan co-led at the midpoint, his first career 36-hole lead/co-lead in 76 career starts. He backed up with 74 in R3 to begin in a 7-way T4 on 6-under, two back.
Finau outpaced two bogeys with five birdies, though one of those squares came at the 72nd hole when birdie would’ve tied the clubhouse lead. He bumps eight spots to a career-high 66th in OWGR and 15 places to 24th in the FEC standings.
Top 10 in FEC standings (points):
1. Dustin Johnson (1,903)
2. Hideki Matsuyama (1,822)
3. Justin Thomas (1,793)
4. Jon Rahm (1,361)
5. Adam Hadwin (1,201)
6. Jordan Spieth (1,104)
7. Pat Perez (1,096)
8. Rickie Fowler (1,069)
9. Justin Rose (980)
10. Brendan Steele (964)
Top 10 in OWGR (this week’s finishes):
1. Dustin Johnson (idle)
2. Rory McIlroy (idle)
3. Jason Day (idle)
4. Hideki Matsuyama (idle)
5. Jordan Spieth (idle)
6. Henrik Stenson (idle)
7. Sergio Garcia (idle)
8. Justin Rose (idle)
9. Rickie Fowler (idle)
10. Adam Scott (idle)
9 of the Top 50 in OWGR were in the field; three finished in the top 10.
Joining Chappell (No. 41) and Koepka (No. 24) was:
Branden Grace: Playing out of the final threesome and beginning the finale one back, the World No. 21 sleepwalked to a 1-over-par 36-37=73 (one birdie, two bogeys) to finish off his fourth appearance on 6-under 282, down eight places to T10, a distant six in arrears.
He was the first-round leader with 66, tacking on 73-70-73, but did hang in for his first top 10 of the season in 12 starts and second straight top 11, chasing T11 last week as defender at the Heritage.
Other Notable Finishes:
No. 15 Patrick Reed (CUT): Top-ranked OWGR, missed his third straight cut on TOUR for the first time since 2014.
No. 17 Matt Kuchar (T40): Was the pre-tourney fave outright (18/1).
No. 25 Jimmy Walker (T13): Revealed Lyme disease diagnosis on the lead-in.
No. 91 Ryan Palmer (T6): Texan posted his third straight T6 or better in San Antonio.
No. 96 Sung Kang (T6): Texas resident recorded his third consecutive T11 or better on TOUR. Was career-best solo 2nd two starts ago at Shell Houston Open.
No. 136 Aaron Baddeley (5th): T15 two starts ago in Houston.
No. 335 Camilo Villegas (T10): Top 10 on sponsor invite.
No. 339 Brian Gay (T6): Met terms of Major Medical Extension (in earnings); will play out of no worse than Category No. 22 of the Eligibility Ranking for the remainder of the season.
In total, 12 players finished in the top 10. Average world ranking: 155th
First-timers and/or Rookies:
Top-10 finishes: 1
Cameron Smith: The World No. 122 crafted a 1-under-par 35-36=71 to wrap his tourney debut on 7-under 281, good for a 4-way T6, five back.
After opening in 72-65-73, he began T4, two shy. Playing out of the fourth-to-last threesome, the 23-year-old landed nine (of 14) fairways and just eight GIR, losing 2.300 strokes approaching-the-green.
He outpaced four bogeys with three birdies and an eagle-3 at the second, gaining 3.777 strokes around-the-green, the tourney leader in the latter with a cumulative 10.565.
This was the Aussie’s 15th start of the season, third top 25 and second top 10 (T10, Shriners), and gains 10 spots in OWGR to 112th and bumps 14 in FEC points to 67th. His career best in 52 events is T4 at the 2015 U.S. Open.
TOUR Rookies: 21
Top-10 finishes: 0
Ollie Schniederjans: The 23-year-old was top rookie with T18 on 3-under 285 (72-67-75-71). It’s the third time this season in 15 starts that he’s claimed low-rookie honors (T34, API; T27 Sony).
The Georgia Tech alum arrived off a career-best T3 at the Heritage, second-fiddle among TOUR rookies last week to winner Wesley Bryan. He nudges two places to a career-high 100th in OWGR and five spots to a career-high 33rd in FEC points.
As mentioned, Chappell is the 10th straight winner to have at least one week off prior to the win.
14 of 24 winners were in their 20s
7 were in their 30s (Chappell: age: 30)
3 were in their 40s
18 of the 23 winners (minus Match Play) have emerged out of the FINAL group on Sunday, including Chappell. The five outliers:
Wesley Bryan (Heritage): Third-to-last twosome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 4-under 67; won by 1.
Marc Leishman (API): Penultimate twosome: erased 3-shot deficit w/ 3-under 69; won by 1.
Hideki Matsuyama (WMPO): Penultimate threesome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 5-under 66; won in playoff.
Jon Rahm (Farmers): Fifth-to-last threesome: erased 3-shot deficit w/ 7-under 65; won by 3.
Brendan Steele (Safeway): Third-to-last threesome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 7-under 65; won by 1.
54-hole leaders/co-leaders are now 10-for-23 converting:
Converted: Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC), Mackenzie Hughes (RSM Classic), Justin Thomas x2 (SBS TOC and Sony), Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pro-Am), Dustin Johnson (Genesis), Rickie Fowler (Honda), Adam Hadwin (Valspar), Sergio Garcia (Masters), Kevin Chappell (VTO)
Failed: Patton Kizzire (Safeway), Anirban Lahiri (CIMB), Luke List, Chris Kirk (Sanderson Farms), Lucas Glover (Shriners), Gary Woodland (OHL), Adam Hadwin (CareerBuilder), Patrick Rodgers, Brandt Snedeker (FIO), Byeong Hun An (WMPO), Justin Thomas (WGC-Mexico), Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman (API), Chris Stroud (PRO), Sung Kang (SHO), Justin Rose (co-Masters), Jason Dufner (Heritage)
Consecutive top 10s on TOUR:
Kevin Chappell (1st-T7)
Brian Gay (T6-T6)
Bud Cauley (T10-T9)
Dustin Johnson (1st-1st-1st-3rd)
Paul Casey (6th-T9)
Consecutive top-10 streaks ended:
The TOUR heads to the Louisiana Bayou for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
For the first time since the tournament’s beginning in 1938, the Zurich will be played as a team event featuring 80 2-man teams playing two rounds of foursomes (alternate shot) and two rounds of four-ball (best ball).
Stay tuned to this space for all the latest player news and analysis as the TOUR readies for its 25th tournament of the season (of 47).