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Three guys with a lot to play for at the Valero Texas Open

Billy Horschel Billy Horschel - The Canadian Press

The PGA Tour heads to TPC San Antonio this week for the final stop on the calendar before the 2024 Masters. 

Some call this event the Valero Texas Open. I like to call it the Corey Conners Invitational. 

The Canadian is in the field this week to defend his 2023 title, something he had to wait two years to do after winning the event in 2019 due to COVID-19. 

Conners has played in this tournament five times, making the cut in all five and finishing inside the top 15 three times. 

Conners is back in the field for the first time since his tie for 13th at the Players Championship a few weeks ago as he looks to knock some rust off before the Masters next week. 

Speaking of the Masters, last week’s Houston Open was the final chance for players to get inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to secure an invite to the event. 

While most of the big names in this field have already secured their invites, there’s still one final seat available at the table. 

This week, just like every other week on the PGA Tour, the winner will get an invite to the Masters. It’s the final chance for a few notable names to sneak in at the last second. 

In 2022, J.J. Spaun was the 242nd-ranked player on OWGR and won this event to secure an invite to golf’s most prestigious event. 

Here are a few guys looking to do the same this week.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout +5500 Outright / 58 OWGR 

Coming at No. 58 on the OWGR, Bezuidenhout will need a win this week to get back to the Masters after missing the tournament last year for the first time since 2019. 

Bezuidenhout is having a good season on the PGA Tour. He opened 2024 with a solo second at the American Express and has added four other finishes inside of the top 25 since. 

In 2024, Bezuidenhout leads this field in Strokes Gained: Total, averaging 1.19 SG per round.

The South African has made one previous start at the Valero Texas Open, tying for 28th in this tournament last year. 

Since turning pro in 2015, Bezuidenhout has yet to win a PGA Tour event. 

Alex Noren +3500 Outright / 66 OWGR

Alex Noren has played 170 PGA Tour events. This week, he’ll be looking for his first win. 

Noren started 2024 55th on the OWGR and has seen his ranking fall 11 spots this season. 

The 41-year-old from Sweden has quietly put together a good run recently, and is coming off his third-straight top-20 finish with a T11 at the Houston Open. 

Noren sits right behind Bezuidenhout in strokes gained this season, averaging 1.18 SG per round. He is second in the field in 2024 strokes gained: total. 

Last year, Noren made his Valero Texas Open debut, finishing tied for 15th. 

He is trying to make the Masters for just the fifth time since turning pro in 2005. 

Billy Horschel +3300 Outright / 80 OWGR 

There are only four players in the field this week, gaining at least one stroke to the field on average in 2024 on the PGA Tour. 

Bezuidenhout     1.19

Noren                 1.18

Ludvig Aberg     1.11

Billy Horschel     1.04

Aberg has already punched his ticket to the Masters, and we’ve touched on the first two. 

Meanwhile, Horschel appears to be back after losing his way in 2023 and missing the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 

In 2023, Horschel had just three top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour, with one coming at the Match Play. He has surpassed that number with four top 20s in eight events in 2024  

Horschel attributes some of his success to off-season adjustments he made to his irons in the winter. 

Horschel noticed while training in the winter that his irons were “two to three degrees too upright,” which was causing him to miss a lot of shots to the left. 

In a video for the PGA Tour’s website, Horschel addressed the fix.

“By bending the lie angles back to what I've used the majority of my life or my career, I automatically saw I can start the ball left, and the ball started cutting, which was a nice thing to see when you want to play a fade - the ball will start left and cut,” Horschel said. “I'm about one or two degrees flat now with all my irons. It's been a much-needed improvement, and nice to feel like I'm back in my comfort zone.”

He is indeed back in his comfort zone. Horschel has finished inside the top 12 in three of his past four starts. 

In nine starts at the Valero Texas Open he has three finishes inside the top five, this week he’ll need to find a way to be a few shots better. 


Brendon Todd +11000 Outright / 68 OWGR

It’s been a slow 2024 for Todd, who has just one top 10 in his nine starts. Todd has not teed it up at the Masters since a tie for 46th in 2021. 

He has three wins in 289 events on the PGA Tour. 

Andrew Putnam +9000 Outright  / 70 OWGR 

It’s been nearly seven years since Putnam's first win on the PGA Tour. He’ll need his second this week if he wants to play in the Masters for the first time since missing the cut in 2020.


Five Canadians will tee it up this week at the Texas Open. Conners is the only one of the bunch with an invite to the Masters, the other four will need to win just like he did in 2019 when he won this event as World No. 196. 

Taylor Pendrith +12000 / 100 OWGR 

Pendrith remains a very volatile golfer in 2024. This season, he has made just three cuts in eight events, two of which were good for top-10 finishes. He’ll need a complete game this week to win on the PGA Tour for the first time.  

Adam Svensson +17000 / 77 OWGR 

A winner in 2022, Svensson is looking to get back to the Masters this year for the second straight year. But time is running out. The Canadian has just one top-10 finish this season when he tied for 10th amongst some of the game’s best at the Genesis Invitational. With this week sporting a weaker field than we saw a few months ago at Riviera, maybe this is the week Svensson will break through again. 

Ben Silverman +25000 / 127 OWGR

The 36-year-old is having a nice 2024. This season he’s made six cuts, has three top 25s and is 96th on the FedEx Cup standings. If he can find a way to score on the par 5s this week he might have a chance to shock the field. This season, he is 31st on par 3 scoring, 29th on par 4s, but he ranks 126th in par 5 scoring. Silverman has never won a PGA Tour event. 

Roger Sloan +50000 / 308 OWGR 

Another 36-year-old Canadian in the field this week looking to shock the field is Sloan. He enters this event on the heels of three straight made cuts but is seeking his first top 10 on Tour since 2021. Sloan has never won a PGA Tour event but entered the winner’s circle last summer, winning the Utah Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.