The Shriners Hospital for Children Open preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
Vegas hosts the Shriners Open at TPC Summerline where Smylie Kaufman shot 61 on Sunday last year to overturn a seven stroke deficit. TPC Summerline is a par 71 running to around 7,250 yards and will be accompanied by typical conditions this time of year – perfect.
These early season fall (autumn) events lack star quality but that only serves to flatten the market somewhat. Ryan Moore, as steady as he is, is not my idea of a favourite to win any PGA Tour event and at 20/1 illustrates my point. Francesco Mollinari is 5th favourite!
So not the strongest field on Tour but a winner will emerge.
An interesting point from last year’s event. Five of the top ten were also ranked inside the top ten for driving accuracy. Five also finished inside the top ten in Greens In Regulation. Given Webb Simpson’s record and his greens in reg stats he looks a shoo in. Except of course he can’t putt these days. Despite what I’ve said about Moore he’s in fine form. Koepka looks the player, along with Rahm, at the top of the market with most potential but both are too skinny for me.
Patrick Rodgers 1pt e/w @ $81
Patton Kizzire 1pt e/w @ $51
We have nailed our colours to Patrick’s mast a few times and at the price on this course I see no reason not to ride this one again. Rodgers posted three top tens from 28 starts last season with two of those coming early. He posted a nice 11 under total here last year with two sub 70 scores so likes the place. More, he hits a lot of fairways – nearly 80% this abbreviated season so far and 69.22% throughout the 2016 season – and when he does he tends to score. Crucially for a player who has slight negative strokes gained putting figure he likes bent grass greens and TPC Summerline was the scene of one of his best putting displays in 2016.
Felt the heat coming down the stretch at the Safeway and finished second. That experience will stand him in good stead and while he missed the cut at The Sanderson Farms Championship we’ll put that down to disappointment and assume a return to TPC Summerline where he announced himself on the PGA Tour in 2015 will see a return to form. Like Rodgers we have plumped for Kizzire more than once and with a second and five top ten finishes in his first year on tour this big man has what it takes to win. Last year he posted -15 with close to 80% of the greens hit and was only beaten by Kaufman’s freak 61 on Sunday. He hit 75% of the greens at The Safeway and posted a +2.427 stokes gained putting figure. Anything near these figures will see him contend.