The Shriners Children’s Open has enjoyed many tournament titles, and had many host clubs, since it was first a part of the PGA our schedule back in 1983. A year after inauguration it became the first event to have a $1million prize fund, which seems quite cute four decades on. There was once a time when it involved five rounds, but that has long since gone and it has also settled at TPC Summer linever since 1992, although only since 2008 has it been sole host (before then multiple venues shared the load).
The track is a par 71 that can be stretched to 7,255 yards although it plays shorter than that owing to Las Vegas’s altitude of 820m. There’s another slight subtlety in the shape of the Bermuda grass fairways and rough, and then bent grass greens.
We’ll address the past winners in due course, but they represent a wide selection of canny operators, short game wizards and also fellows whose strength is gaining length from the tee box. A tricky puzzle, in some ways.
Webb Simpson says of the course: “I like it because you have to think your way around. Other courses that we play, you don’t think. You hit driver and you hit it as far as you can. This golf course has doglegs, run-outs, bunkers. You really do have to think. I typically enjoy playing courses where you can hit driver, 3-wood, 5-wood on a lot of these holes.” Kevin Na argues that anyone can win, but they need to putt well and avoid the rough. Patton Kizzire has echoed those exact thoughts.
Jordan Spieth has a slightly different take and he’s generally smart at dissecting a test. “It’s a second-shot golf course,” he argues. “It’s not too difficult off the tee. Wider, but you can’t really hit a foul ball. You’ve got to to keep it in the barriers. And then the defense is really the pin locations (related to the) difficulty around the greens. I feel very comfortable on this grainy bermuda grass around the greens and I like the way the bent grass greens putt.”
Patrick Cantlay throws in an interesting thought, that the course favors those who shape the ball right-to-left.
The weather in Las Vegas, Nevada is slightly intriguing. Thursday and Friday are set to be gusty, with steady winds of around 12mph, but blustery breezes stronger than that entirely possible. Thursday will be cloudy and warm (high 70s), but from Friday the forecast expects those temperatures to dip into the high 60s and stay there. The weekend rounds will be sunny throughout.
Past Champions at TPC Summerlin
Since the event was held at TPC Summerlin for all 72 holes there have been two distinct trends in the names of the players who have lifted the trophy. The first is that Marc Turnesa (2008), Jonathan Byrd (2010), Ben Martin (2015), Smylie Kaufman (2016) and Rod Pampling (2016) were unlikely champions with no course form who also did little at the course after victory either.
But the rest? Quite a collection of course experts. Scotsman Martin Laird won in 2009, he’s this year’s defending champion, and he has also finished second. Kevin Na has a similar record: wins in 2011 and 2019, second in 2015. Ryan Moore, the 2012 champion, is 12-for-14 at making the cut on the course and Webb Simpson, who triumphed in 2013, was fourth either side of his success.
In 2017 Patrick Cantlay won on his course debut and he’s continued to enjoy the challenge, finishing second twice and T–8 last year. Bryson DeChambeau followed Cantlay on to the honors board and after an average debut (T–36), he went T–7 ahead of his win and T–4, T–8 after it.
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|C. Howell III
Webb Simpson ($10,200) We’ve already established that the North Carolina man is a past winner of the title who finished top five the year before and after his win. But since missing his cut on debut in this event in 2009 he has always played four roundfs of golf in nine visits and has been top 20 seven times. Since his injury worries mid-season he has also ticked off four top 20s in six starts, always playing at the weekend (albeit that was bound to happen at the TOUR Championship).
Si-Woo Kim ($9,000) The Korean is in a really neat run of form at the present, playing the weekend in nine of his last 11 starts. That run started with a top 10 at Muirfield Village (he’s also 6-for-6 there) and he’s opened the new season with two consecutive top 20s. His course record is strong, too. He’s made four visits, always played four rounds of golf, has three top 25s and a best of T–8 last year.
Kevin Streelman ($7,800) Lots to like about neat and tidy Streelman who did us a favor playing all four rounds last week, his fifth in succession and that makes it 10 in 12. Two top 20s at Muirfield Village and Colonial are part of that spell. He’s not missed a cut in eight starts at the former and has done so in four of his last five at the latter. Missed his last two cuts at Summerlin, but before that played nine in a row and is in good shape to get back on the horse.
Rickie Fowler ($7,300) Twice second at Muirfield Village, five top 25s in his last six starts there too. Had made four top 25s in four course starts ahead of last year, two of them top 10s, before he opened with a solid 67. He then added a 74, comfortably his worst tournament lap, to miss the cut. Can right that wrong after a lay off following a premature end to last season. Ought to be motivated and this is a great spot for him to hit the ground running.
Charles Howell III ($6,900) Always a fellow to follow when he likes a course and he likes this place: He’s 13-for-18 in the tournament and 9-for-10 since it moved solely to TP Summerlin. Given his capacity to thrive when a layout suits him the salary this week is a bargain.
Brooks Koepka ($11,100) There is a risk of missing out because Koepka has finished T–2 and T–4 here. But with a big salary – the top salary indeed – you really ought to be wary of the three missed cuts. It’s also four individual starts since he landed a top 20.
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Here’s Another Alternate of Core Picks For The Shriners Children’s Open
Will Zalatoris ($10,100) Thrashed a second round 61 last week on his way to T–14 and was T–11 in his seasonal opener. Now returns to a course where he was T–5 last year with a pair of 64s in the middle of the tournament. Discovered a couple of months ago that he had a wonky putter and since changing it has been encouraged. Last week he dipped under a Putting Average of 1.70. A repeat would be handy.
Kevin Na ($9,100) No need for too complex a discussion. He’s a two-time winner, has also been second, and is 8-for-11 in the tournament. He’ll also be sore that a 77 in round two at the Fortinet Championship last time out was out of the blue. Before then he’d had six starts, all of them top 25, including two seconds and a joint low-score at the Tour Championship. His first round 69 at the Fortinet was okay, too.
Patrick Reed ($8,600) The first factor is simple: If ever a fellow had a point to prove and was the type to a) want to prove it, and b) was up to the task of achieving that aim, it is surely Reed after he wasn’t picked for Team USA. No matter that they won in style; it will remain a sore point within his team. Ten top 35 finishes in his last 12 starts won’t hurt either and he was T–22 in his only completed performance on the course.
Patton Kizzire ($7,500) Says he likes the course and has backed it up. He was the runner-up on debut, added a top four in 2017, made the cut in his last two visits, and is 4-for-5 in all. He’s also made the cut in six of his last eight starts and was T–3 at Colonial earlier this season.
Lucas Glover ($7,000) After missing three cuts on the bounce here, something clicked. He had the 54-hole lead in 2016 ahead of registering T–3, was T–3 after three rounds in 2018 before landing T–7, and was the joint halfway leader on his way to T–9 on his last visit. Recorded a top 10 at Colonial this summer and also a win on bent grass greens at TPC Deere Run.
Keith Mitchell ($6,600) We’ve twice suggested dodging Mitchell in recent times and both times it has worked out well. He’s not exactly a big salary so it’s not exactly rocket science, but there are once again valid reasons to be wary. Course form? Three missed cuts in three visits. Colonial form? Two starts, no top 60 finish. Muirfield Village form? Four starts, one top 40, that was T–22. Form? T–57, missed cut.
No apologies for thinking of course form this week. Also factoring in performance in recent weeks and then, also, at two other tracks. The first is Muirfield Village where DeChambeau and Cantlay have won, Na and Moore finished second, and Pampling led by three with 18 holes to play. The other is Colonial which, like this week, is Bermuda grass tee to green and Bent on the putting surfaces. Na has won there, DeChambeau, Pampling and Simpson has all been in the top three. Also worthy of consideration: the last six winners ranked top 20 for Putting Average and five of six ranked top 12 for Strokes Gained Tee to Green (Na was the exception with a dazzling week of putting).
Other Player Options For The Shriners Children’s Open
• Abraham Ancer is boom or bust on the course: twice T–4, three times a lost weekend, nothing in-between.
• Chesson Hadley has four top 20s at the course from just seven visits.
• Young Dane Rasmus Hojgaard is a three-time winner on the European Tour since December 2019. He’s also made the cut in seven of his last nine starts.
COVID-19 and Injury Warning:
Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup.
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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