This week’s PGA action sees the players head to Las Vegas for a regular feature on the PGA schedule, the Shriners Children’s Open.
And a pretty good-looking field has been assembled in the gambling capital of USA, if not the world, with several recent Ryder Cup players featuring near the head of the market.
Their presence, added to the potentially low-scoring this week, should make for a cracking tournament. Here’s a preview of the action in the “Silver State”…
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open started out in 1983 but has undergone a number of name changes over the years (Las Vegas Invitational, Michelin Championship, Frys.com Open and now, to give the tournament its full title, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open). It also started out as a five-round, 90-hole event before this was reduced to the conventional four rounds in 2004. What has been constant is the location in and around Vegas, and since 1990 its place in the schedule – late October to early November. It’s not a flagship event of the PGA by any means, but early in the 2021/22 season it’s bound to produce plenty of competition for ranking points and prize-money.
TPC Summerlin is a par-71 course laid out over 7,235 yards. Built to the West of Las Vegas in the upmarket community of Summerlin, the course was designed by Bobby Weed and first opened in 1991. Slightly elevated (at 2,700 feet) but not enough to make a real difference in terms of altitude. On what is a resort course, with generous fairways and far from penal rough, scoring should be good this week with previous winning scores regularly better than 20-under-par.
260: Webb Simpson (2014) & Ryan Moore (2013).
60: JJ Henry (2013)
2020: Martin Laird
2019: Kevin Na
2018: Bryson DeChambeau
2017: Patrick Cantlay
2016: Rod Pampling
2015: Smylie Kaufman
A standard field of 156 players line up this week. Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland are the $21 market leaders with TopSport.
You’ll struggle to see much rain in the desert with a daily precipitation forecast of 0%-20%-0%-0% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the low 20’s, with some light cloud cover on all four days. Wind speeds will be well within the comfort zone, reaching a maximum of 20kph during the event.
Value outright picks
These are two each-way outright bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.
Si Woo Kim (currently $38 with TopSport)
There is no doubt that Kim is one of the most infuriating players on tour to back, because he can either be excellent, or completely useless, when all the signs point to a positive week. Therefore when backing him you have to be ready to accept this potential outcome. That being said, all the signs point to a positive week for the South Korean here in Vegas.
Kim’s form is trending nicely having finished 29th, 11th and 8th on his last three starts with his tee-to-green numbers also improving week-on-week, 20/8/7. His approach play and putting were excellent last week, and Kim arrives at a venue where he has three Top 25 finishes from four starts, and where he finished 8th last year. With his form trending nicely, and his underlying numbers looking good, Kim looks good value to improve on last year’s 8th place finish. Around $38 looks good value and he easily makes the staking plan.
Matthew Wolff (currently $41 with TopSport)
Wolff clearly likes it here in Las Vegas, finishing 18th on debut in 2019, and 2nd last year (when losing a play-off to our bet, Martin Laird). And a guy hitting it 320+ yards of the tee, if he can control his irons, should set himself up with a lot of birdie opportunities. And Wolff is ok with the flatstick, no Loren Roberts but steady enough.
Aged just 22, Wolff has recorded a maiden PGA Tour win (3M Open 2019) and has three further runner-up finishes in what is so far a brief career – this will be his 51st career start. Recent form has been a little patchy, but Wolff finished off last week in Jackson with a 65-68 weekend for a Top 20, and returning to a course he likes, the Californian should go well. I think odds around $41 are reasonable here in Nevada.
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