Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Shriners Children’s Open Tips 2021

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Congratulations if you were on-board Sam Burns last week at 16/1. I was too ‘price proud’ with Sam, so despite him being my favourite selection pre-event, I decided I could not back him at the odds offered on Monday. On a more positive note, Si Woo Kim at 30/1 delivered a slither of each-way return for me in T8. We move on!

This week we move to Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open. The PGA Tour has visited Vegas since 1983 and the tournament has had some high-class winners over the years including Tiger Woods (his first Tour victory), Jim Furyk (twice), Ryan Moore, Kevin Na (twice), Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau. This year’s field quality is slightly down, on the basis that the top players have the opportunity to play in the no-cut CJ Cup event at The Summit Club in Las Vegas next week and at the ZOZO in Japan the week after.

Saying that the field still contains Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns, Paul Casey, Harris English, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Brooks Koepka, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Matthew Wolff and Will Zalatoris.

Before we go into the detail surrounding the Shriners Children’s Open we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System, Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,000 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: TPC Summerlin, based in the suburbs of Las Vegas, has been the sole host of this tournament for well over 10 years.

The 7,255 yard, Par 71 has a 35-36 set-up and the course is designed to produce low scores. Played at altitude, all 3 of the par-5s are reachable for the whole field and the pure Bentgrass green complexes are large, flat and usually receptive.

2016 saw an opening round -11/60 from eventual champion Rod Pampling, plus -10/61 from both Francesco Molinari and Chez Reavie, highlighting that this course can be smashed by those with a sensible approach and a hot putter. Across the past 3 renewals we have also seen Lucas Glover, Kevin Na and Matthew Wolff shoot -10/61s, highlighting that ball-strikers and short game experts alike can torch this course.

TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada: Designer: Weed & Zoeller, 1991, redesign, 2007; Course Type: Resort, Desert; Par: 71; Length: 7,255 yards; Holes with Water Hazards In-Play: 4; Fairways: 419 Bermudagrass; Rough: 419 Bermudagrass 2.25″; Greens: 7,400 sq.ft average featuring A1/A4 Bentgrass; Stimpmeter: 11.5ft; Scoring Average: 2012: 69.71 (-1.29), Difficulty Rank 40 of 49 courses; 2013: 69.55 (-1.45), Difficulty Rank 43 of 43 courses; 2014: 69.66 (-1.34), Difficulty Rank 42 of 52 courses. 2015: 70.08 (-0.92), Difficulty Rank 34 of 50 courses. 2016: 69.62 (-1.38) Difficulty Rank 40 of 50 courses. 2017: 71.54 (+0.54), Difficulty Rank 10 of 51 courses. 2018: 69.37 (-1.63), Difficulty 38 of 49 courses. 2019: 68.86 (-2.14), Difficulty Rank 39 of 41 courses. 2020: 68.34 (-2.66), Difficulty Rank 48 of 51 courses.

TPC Summerlin Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for TPC Summerlin and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • TPC Summerlin: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:37; 300:33; 325:30; 350:31.
  • CC of Jackson: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:29; 325:28; 350:25.
  • Silverado: 250 yards from the tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:24; 325:25; 350:24.
  • East Lake: 250 yards from the tee: 28 yards wide; 275:26; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Caves Valley: 40- 60 yards.
  • Liberty National: 250 yards from tee: 37 yards wide; 275:33; 300:30 325:31; 350:27.
  • Sedgefield: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:26 325:23; 350:22.
  • TPC Southwind: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:29; 300:28; 325:31; 350:25.

Course Overview: Part of the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Network of golf courses operated by the PGA Tour, Summerlin is a Private Club that’s played regularly by Vegas-based professionals. Maverick McNealy, Ryan Moore, Collin Morikawa, Kevin Na, Scott Piercy and Nick Watney all have residences in the area. Claude and the now retired (allegedly!) Butch Harmon, also have a Las Vegas training centre, hence the entry for Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.

The course itself features Bermudagrass fairways and rough with pure Bentgrass green complexes. That characteristic is shared with few courses on Tour apart from Colonial and previously TPC Four Seasons which used to host the Byron Nelson pre-2018. The 2013 renewal saw the introduction of new bunkering on 7, 12, 13 (Par 5) and 18, but despite that Webb Simpson equalled the tournament total score record at -24/260.

The course plays as a 7,255 yard, Par 71 which at above 2,000 feet above sea level can be attacked, however the greens have certain nuances where experience tends to pay dividends. 2018 saw 102 new bunkers in play – it’s the same number as before, but many were relocated with fairway bunkers moved into modern day landing areas. Again this work has been put in place to try and force players to be strategic and discourage ‘bomb and gouge’. It hasn’t lowered winning totals though with DeChambeau shooting -21/263, and Na & Laird -23/261 over the past 3 years. In summary, you can plot a great score around here.

Half of the challenge with TPC Summerlin is finding the fairway. In a PGA Tour arena where Driving Accuracy means very little most weeks, it’s interesting to note that hitting fairways on this course is of paramount importance when analysing previous winners’ statistics. Undoubtedly missing fairways adds up here as working approach shots so as to get close to pins around Summerlin is not as easy as you would think, plus on a course where birdies are essential, the penalty for missing fairways are par-saving putts rather than birdie opportunities.

Miss greens and both Sand Save and Scrambling difficulty here tends to be in the top-10 most difficult on Tour each season, and that difficulty around the green really poses a problem if the wind does blow here. Take 2017 when Patrick Cantlay won his first PGA Tour title at a very un-TPC Summerlin -9/275 winning score.

TPC Summerlin in effect is a positional golf course, where outright brute force is negated to a neutral type setting. As Kevin Na said last year, “Yes, this is a great golf course for me. I think you have to really drive the ball well and keep it in the fairway so you can control the spin. I know the roughs are not deep, but because of these greens and some of the hole locations, you have to hit the fairway to be able to spin the ball. You don’t have to bomb it out here. Anybody can win out here.”

shriners open tips

Winners: 2020: Martin Laird (-23), 2019: Kevin Na (-23); 2019: Bryson DeChambeau (-21); 2017: Patrick Cantlay (-9); 2016: Rod Pampling (-20); 2015: Smylie Kaufman (-16); 2014: Ben Martin (-20); 2013: Webb Simpson (-24); 2012: Ryan Moore (-24); 2011: Kevin Na (-23); 2010: Jonathan Byrd (-24).

Cut Line: 2020: -7; 2019: -5; 2018: -3; 2017: +1; 2016: -3; 2015: -2; 2014: -2; 2013: -3; 2012: -4; 2011: -4; 2010: -4.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2020: Round 1 -9; Round 2 -14; Round 3 -20; Round 4 -23.
  • 2019: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -12; Round 3 -22; Round 4 -23.
  • 2018: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -16; Round 4 -21.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Abraham Ancer, Martin Laird, Kevin Na, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Pat Perez, Chez Reavie, Ryan Moore, Brooks Koepka and Brian Stuard.

Tournament Winners & Prices: 2020: Laird 225/1; 2019: Na 70/1; 2018: DeChambeau 14/1; 2017: Cantlay 20/1; 2016: Pampling 300/1; 2015: Kaufman 250/1; 2014: Martin 225/1; 2013: Simpson 20/1; 2012: Moore 14/1; 2011: Na 60/1; 2010: Byrd 50/1. Past 8 Renewals Average: 141/1; Overall Average: 113/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2020: Thursday: Mostly sunny. High of 95. Wind SE 5-10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 92. Wind SE 5-10 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High of 91. Wind SSW 10-20 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 90. Wind NNE 6-12 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Sunny. High of 85. Wind SSW 6-12 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 85. Wind SSE 6-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 84. Wind ESE 4-8 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 85. Wind NE 6-12 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Sunny. High of 77. Wind NNE 10-15 mph. Friday: High of 80. Wind ESE 6-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 77. Wind N 10-15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 78. Wind E 5-10 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 78. Wind S 7-12 mph. Friday: Sunny and cooler, with a high of 71. Wind SSW 15 to 25 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 71. Wind SSW 15-25, with gusts to 30 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 69. Wind SW 10-20, gusting to 25.
  • 2016: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 76. Wind NE at 6-12 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high of 78. Wind NNE at 5-10 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 78. Wind light and variable. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 75. Wind ESE at 4-8 mph.
  • 2015: Thursday: Sunny. High of 78. Wind NE at 4-8 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 78. Wind NE at 5-10 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 79. NE wind at 4-8 mph. Sunday: Mostly cloudy. High of 78. Wind E at 4-8 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Las Vegas, Nevada is here.

You need plenty of wind here to affect the scoring and, if the forecasts are to be believed, it’s not going to happen. 20 mph over the course of Friday lunchtime could undoubtedly impact scoring, but in the main TPC Summerlin will be more than attackable, with temperatures of 23-26 degrees Celsius throughout.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Wyndham Championship / Cazoo Classic (England) which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Players rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Sam Burns; 2) Brooks Koepka; 3) Corey Conners; 4) Viktor Hovland; 5) Cameron Young; 6) Paul Casey / Sungjae Im; 8) K.H. Lee / Maverick McNealy; 10) Joaquin Niemann / Scottie Scheffler / Will Zalatoris; 13) Patrick Reed; 14) Keith Mitchell / Sahith Theegala / Matthias Schwab; 17) Hayden Buckley / Emiliano Grillo; 19) Hideki Matsuyama / Seth Reeves; 21) Russell Henley; 23) Abraham Ancer / Rasmus Hojgaard / Louis Oosthuizen.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Jimmy Walker; 2) Louis Oosthuizen; 3) Corey Conners; 4) Scottie Scheffler; 5) Paul Casey / Adam Scott; 7) Chad Ramey; 8) Marc Leishman; 9) Joseph Bramlett; 10) Joaquin Niemann / Patrick Reed / Sam Ryder; 13) Abraham Ancer / Sam Burns / Erik van Rooyen; 16) Talor Gooch / Henrik Norlander; 18) Hudson Swafford; 19) Lucas Glover / Kevin Streelman / Cameron Tringale; 22) Will Zalatoris; 23) Rasmus Hojgaard / Sungjae Im / Si Woo Kim / Graeme McDowell / Webb Simpson.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Patrick Reed; 2) Harry Higgs / Scott Piercy; 4) Bill Haas / Brooks Koepka / Aaron Wise; 7) Louis Oosthuizen; 8) Harris English / Brian Harman; 10) Kevin Na; 11) Stephan Jaeger / Matt Kuchar / William McGirt; 14) Matt Jones / Cameron Tringale; 16) Sahith Theegala; 17) Si Woo Kim / Henrik Norlander; 19) Ian Poulter; 20) Joaquin Niemann; 21) Scottie Scheffler; 22) Sungjae Im; 23) Erik van Rooyen; 24) Brian Gay; 25) Denny McCarthy.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Sahith Theegala; 2) Corey Conners; 3) Sungjae Im; 4) Scottie Scheffler; 5) Sam Burns / Brooks Koepka; 7) Si Woo Kim; 8) Joaquin Niemann / Louis Oosthuizen; 10) Will Zalatoris; 11) Erik van Rooyen; 12) Viktor Hovland; 13) Paul Casey / Russell Henley / Patrick Reed; 16) Hayden Buckley; 17) Hideki Matsuyama; 18) Aaron Wise; 19) Webb Simpson; 20) K.H. Lee; 21) Kevin Na / Scott Piercy; 23) Charley Hoffman / Henrik Norlander / Adam Scott.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Patrick Reed; 2) Mark Hubbard; 3) Matthias Schwab; 4) Harris English; 5) Stewart Cink / Jimmy Walker; 7) Stephan Jaeger; 8) Abraham Ancer; 9) Erik van Rooyen; 10) Curtis Thompson / Cameron Tringale; 12) Harry Higgs / Maverick McNealy; 14) Nick Taylor; 15) Charles Howell III / Louis Oosthuizen; 17) Nate Lashley; 18) Joel Dahmen; 19) Adam Long; 20) Sam Burns / Adam Scott; 22) Lanto Griffin; 23) Cameron Young; 24) Brooks Koepka / Matt Kuchar / Trey Mullinax.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Sam Burns; 2) Corey Conners; 3) Erik van Rooyen; 4) Patrick Reed / Will Zalatoris; 6) Sungjae Im; 7) Brooks Koepka; 8) Si Woo Kim / Webb Simpson; 10) Harris English; 11) Louis Oosthuizen / Cameron Tringale; 13) Abraham Ancer / Viktor Hovland / Trey Mullinax / Scottie Scheffler / Adam Scott / Sahith Theegala / Aaron Wise; 20) Stewart Cink / Kevin Na; 22) Charley Hoffman; 23) Maverick McNealy; 24) Matthias Schwab; 25) Mark Hubbard / Marc Leishman.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at Summerlin since 2015 click here

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends: Analysing the Strokes Gained stats of TPC Summerlin winners since 2015 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2020, Martin Laird (-23). SG Off the Tee: 27th, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 15th, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 20th.
  • 2019, Kevin Na (-23). SG Off the Tee: 54th, SG Approach: 35th, SG Around the Green: 54th, SG Tee to Green: 55th, SG Putting: 1st.
  • 2018, Bryson DeChambeau (-21). SG Off the Tee: 6th, SG Approach: 3rd, SG Around the Green: 7th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 45th.
  • 2017, Patrick Cantlay (-9). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 22nd, SG Around the Green: 39th, SG Tee to Green: 7th, SG Putting: 32nd.
  • 2016, Rod Pampling (-20). SG Off the Tee: 32nd, SG Approach: 2nd, SG Around the Green: 1st, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 39th.
  • 2015, Smylie Kaufman (-16). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 21st, SG Around the Green: 71st, SG Tee to Green: 11th, SG Putting: 8th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 20th, SG Approach: 15th, SG Around the Green: 31st, SG Tee to Green: 13th, SG Putting: 24th.

Traditional Skill Set Trends: Analysing the final stats of TPC Summerlin winners since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2020, Martin Laird (-23). 323 yards (15th), 78.6% fairways (5th), 80.6% greens in regulation (15th), 33″9″ proximity to hole (20th), 64.3 % scrambling (28th), 1.66 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2019, Kevin Na (-23). 316 yards (28th), 71.4% fairways (25th), 75.0% greens in regulation (46th), 38″5″ proximity to hole (59th), 72.2 % scrambling (11th), 1.50 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2018, Bryson DeChambeau (-21). 313 yards (30th), 78.6% fairways (4th), 83.3% greens in regulation (4th), 32″2″ proximity to hole (9th), 75.0 % scrambling (3rd), 1.67 putts per GIR (13th).
  • 2017, Patrick Cantlay (-9). 324 yards (13th), 64.3% fairways (5th), 72.2% greens in regulation (17th), 43″7″ proximity to hole (56th), 55.0 % scrambling (39th), 1.71 putts per GIR (9th).
  • 2016, Rod Pampling (-20). 308 yards (38th), 60.7% fairways (15th), 77.8% greens in regulation (11th), 36″3″ proximity to hole (34th), 68.8 % scrambling (13th), 1.68 putts per GIR (17th).
  • 2015, Smylie Kaufman (-16). 328 yards (5th), 64.3% fairways (7th), 76.4% greens in regulation (13th), 36″11″ proximity to hole (51st), 52.9 % scrambling (49th), 1.60 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 2014, Ben Martin (-20). 296 yards (64th), 64.3% fairways (18th), 81.9% greens in regulation (4th), 34″3″ proximity to hole (21st), 30.8 % scrambling (71st), 1.58 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2013, Webb Simpson (-24). 300 yards (55th), 64.3% fairways (13th), 86.1% greens in regulation (4th), 31″1″ proximity to hole (4th), 62.5% scrambling (10th), 1.65 putts per GIR (5th).
  • 2012, Ryan Moore (-24). 313 yards (22nd), 66.1% fairways (10th), 83.3% greens in regulation (3rd), 33″1″ proximity to hole (14th), 66.7% scrambling (5th), 1.57 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2011, Kevin Na (-23). 314 yards (17th), 66.1% fairways (12th), 75.0% greens in regulation (40th), 40″7″ proximity to hole (67th), 77.8% scrambling (5th), 1.61 putts per GIR (5th).
  • 2010, Jonathan Byrd(-24). 307 yards (12th), 78.6% fairways (3rd), 84.7% greens in regulation (12th), 31″11″ proximity to hole (18th), 63.6% scrambling (15th), 1.69 putts per GIR (10th).

Traditional Skill Set Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 27th, Driving Accuracy: 11th, Greens in Regulation: 15th, Proximity to Hole: 24th, Scrambling: 23rd, Putting Average 7th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how TPC Summerlin sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Martin Laird (2020):”Yeah, I feel like it’s definitely a course that some local knowledge, you know the greens are tricky sometimes with the way they break. I kind of know where to hit it around here and know the holes you judge just play a little more conservative and the holes you can play aggressive. I needed an exemption to get into this week. I wasn’t in this week after having surgery last year, so I was appreciative that he gave me a spot. I came here wanting to show my appreciation, and obviously the way I’ve played first two rounds I’m very happy.

Really happy, hit the ball nicely; got the ball in the fairway a lot, which is what you got to do around here. If you get it if the fairway you can be aggressive. All around solid round all aspects. I have had good rounds every day, so I’m not going to change anything. More of the same. Pick my spots, be aggressive when you’ve got a wedge in your hand to the fairway, and some other holes just the middle of the green is never a bad place.”

Kevin Na (2019): “Yes, this is a great golf course for me. I think you have to really drive the ball well and keep it in the fairway so you can control the spin. I know the roughs are not deep, but because of these greens and some of the hole locations, you have to hit the fairway to be able to spin the ball. You don’t have to bomb it out here. Anybody can win out here. You definitely have to make some putts. You know, the scores are going to be low. The greens are getting firmer, and that’s the only protection they’ve got. The winds are supposed to be light again. I know the course can play difficult if it’s windy, but it’s not going to be windy, so I think I’ve just got to keep making birdies.

Yeah, I mean, I feel like I’m a pretty good putter. I’m a player that I feel like I get better as I get closer to the greens. That’s a strength of my game, a part of my game that gets stronger.”

Bryson DeChambeau (2018): “Yeah, I like the golf course. Suits my eye really well. When I do mis-hit it I can mishit it in the right spots and I’m able to get up and down. When I can attack flags and make some putts it’s good combo out here for me. I feel good out here. You know, honestly, they told me I hit 14 fairways after today and I was surprised. Really? I had 14? It was kind of like a smooth, easy day and executed it really well off the tee and was able to keep it in the fairway on every hole; that allowed me the opportunity to hit it pretty close on almost every hole. Unfortunately a couple mishaps on my wedges. Other than that, it was a pretty solid day. When I hit it close I was able to make it.

I love the golf course. It’s dry air. It’s kind of what I grew up. Fresno, California is not really humid. Kind of the same vibe and feel and conditions. There is a little elevation; that’s just a change. But I love this time of environment. Heat is always good for me.”

Patrick Cantlay (2017): “Well, it was really two different days out there. It was really like the first 14 holes, and then the last four holes. The first 14 holes was a shootout. For me, it felt like every time I wasn’t making a birdie I was losing ground. Then the last four, with the wind kicking up, I mean, that wind in and off the left on 18 makes that hole particularly difficult, and I was just trying to hit quality shots all the way to the end. The finish did not happen how I thought it would, but it was just enough.

Rod Pampling (2016): “No, this is a good golf course for the shorter hitters. Would it be nice to hit it long? Absolutely. But you don’t need to. You know, it’s just a good course for that. You don’t have to be the bomber to do it all. Playing with Brooks today, he hits it a long way, but he was hitting a lot of irons off the tee, so it’s still a positional golf course, and that’s what you need to do is position yourself properly and give yourself the chances.

Kevin Na (2015): “Yeah, I think this is the toughest condition I’ve ever seen out here. The greens are drying out. They’re getting firm. You see a little bit of purple in it. I thought it would be playing easy. I was surprised that it was playing difficult. This is the most difficult I’ve seen it. Wednesday playing the pro-am in the morning the greens were really soft, and overnight it just firmed up. I think a little bit of breeze helped. I think they cut the water off, and they’ve done a good job.

Webb Simpson (2013): “I love this golf course because it reminds me of the course I grew up playing. You have a lot of options off the tee and greens are undulating and fast. So I’m just comfortable here, comfortable playing this kind of golf. The main thing is I made a lot of putts and you’ve got to do that this week. There’s three par 5s, all reachable, and a reachable par 4. So you have to take advantage of the short holes and make putts.

Ryan Moore (2012): “On a golf course like this and playing in these conditions it is right now: no wind and perfect temperature, greens are reasonably soft and rolling nice on top of that. So it’s one of those days that you just keep putting it in play. You know you’re going to have a bunch of pitching wedges, 9-irons, 8-irons into these greens, and a few shorter irons, too. I know I’m going to hit the wedge and 9-iron. I’m going to have enough pretty darn good birdie chances if I’m just in the fairway. I’m not spectacular out of the rough. It’s one of those courses. It’s certainly not impossible if you haven’t played it, but there are little quirks and subtleties to the greens. The more and more you play you get the sense of it.

Kevin Na (2011): “First of all, you know the golf course very well because guys come out here and practice and you know the greens. I think the big key is distance control here because the ball goes further out here. Some of the guys have trouble adjusting to that. But if you live out here you know how far your ball is flying, so it’s easier to club yourself with the irons. That’s a big edge on everybody else in the field. If I was honest put my money on the guys, if you gave me a handful of guys to pick, I would pick all the local guys.

Jonathan Byrd (2010): “I think guys play well when they hit the ball in the fairway. And I think this year the tournament being a little sooner, I think we’ll have more rough, and I think that’s going to make the course play more difficult. So I don’t think this golf course is easy. I think there’s a lot of opportunities, but I don’t think it’s easy. If you’re not sharp by hitting the ball in the fairway, I think this course can be very difficult. And you’ll see guys making a lot of birdies, and it’s hard to make birdies if you’re not in the fairway. So you have to place them, be strategic and you have to drive the ball well.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 11 Shiners Open winners:

  • 2020 – Martin Laird: Round 1: 13th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2019 – Kevin Na: Round 1: 43rd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Patrick Cantlay: Round 1: 6th, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2016 – Rod Pampling: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2015 – Smylie Kaufman: Round 1: 26th, Round 2: 48th, Round 3: 28th.
  • 2014 – Ben Martin: Round 1: 19th, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2013 – Webb Simpson: Round 1: 6th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Ryan Moore: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2011 – Kevin Na: Round 1: 28th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2010 – Jonathan Byrd: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 11 Shriners Open winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2020 – Martin Laird: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: level.
  • 2019 – Kevin Na: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: 2 ahead.
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 1 3 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2017 – Patrick Cantlay: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2016 – Rod Pampling: Round 1: 2 ahead, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2015 – Smylie Kaufman: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 7 back.
  • 2014 – Ben Martin: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 2 ahead.
  • 2013 – Webb Simpson: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 4 ahead, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2012 – Ryan Moore: Round 1: 1 ahead, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2011 – Kevin Na: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: level.
  • 2010 – Jonathan Byrd: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 1 back.

Incoming form of winners since 2010:

  • Martin Laird: 28th Sanderson/65th Corales/MC Safeway/ MC Lincoln Land.
  • Kevin Na: MC Safeway/14th Greenbrier/77th Northern Trust/ 43rd WGC St Jude.
  • Bryson DeChambeau: 19th Tour/19th BMW/1st Dell Tech/1st Northern Trust.
  • Patrick Cantlay: 15th HSBC/20th Tour/9th BMW/13th Dell Tech.
  • Rod Pampling: 42nd Sanderson/MC Safeway/12th Nationwide Children’s/24th Boise.
  • Smylie Kaufman: 10th Fry’s Open/MC web.com TC/MC Nationwide Children’s/43rd Small Bus.
  • Ben Martin: MC Fry’s Open/MC Deutsche/46th Barclays/MC PGA.
  • Webb Simpson: 4th Tour/24th BMW/53rd Deutsche/15th Barclays.
  • Ryan Moore: 3rd Tour/10th BMW/10th Deutsche/24th Barclays.
  • Kevin Na: MC Deutsche/MC Barclays/10th PGA/25th Reno.
  • Jonathan Byrd: 30th Fry’s Open/66th McGladrey/5th Viking/56th Barclays.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2020 – Bryson DeChambeau – AM Wave -9/62 – 20/1
  • 2019 – Nick Taylor – AM Wave -8/63 – 125/1
  • 2018 – Uihlein – AM Wave -8/63 – 90/1
  • 2017 – Whee Kim – AM Wave -6/65 – 100/1
  • 2016 – Pampling – AM Wave -11/60 – 250/1
  • 2015 – Aldridge, Hearn, Hubbard, Thompson – 3 AM / 1 PM wave split -7 64.
  • 2014 – Cink, Laird – both AM Wave -7/64.
  • 2013 – J.J. Henry – AM Wave -11/60.
  • 2012 – Ryan Moore – AM Wave -10/61
  • 2011 – McGirt, Vegas – both PM Wave – 8/63.
  • 2010 – Garrigus, Mackenzie, Senden, Tringale – equal AM/PM wave split -7/64.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Bentgrass green PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 5 – Zach Johnson.
  • 4 – Kevin Na, Webb Simpson.
  • 3 – Lucas Glover, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Francesco Molinari, Ryan Moore, Adam Scott.
  • 2 – Stewart Cink, Rickie Fowler, Brian Harman, Jason Kokrak, Martin Laird, Marc Leishman, Troy Merritt, Patrick Reed.
  • 1 – Jonas Blixt, Cameron Champ, Dylan Frittelli, Bill Haas, Jim Herman, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Kisner, Russell Knox, K.H. Lee, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Seamus Power, Chez Reavie, Rory Sabbatini, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Scott Stallings, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Brendon Todd,  Camilo Villegas, Nick Watney, Danny Willett, Matthew Wolff.

Course experience here is an important factor, but course debutants shouldn’t be overlooked either. George McNeill (2007), Marc Turnesa (2008), Smylie Kaufman (2015) and Patrick Cantlay (2018) all won this tournament on debut across the past 14 renewals. Indeed, since 2011, Tommy Gainey (3rd), Jonas Blixt (3rd), Ryo Ishikawa (2nd), Luke Guthrie (5th), Chesson Hadley (5th), Patton Kizzire (2nd), Brett Stegmaier (2nd), Francesco Molinari (4th), Beau Hossler (7th) and Will Zalatoris (5th) have all finished in the each-way places on course debut. Guthrie, Hadley, Kaufman, Hossler, Kizzire, Stegmaier and Zalatoris were all new Tour graduates.

Other trends are difficult to highlight. Winners across 2011 to 2014 from an Official Golf World Ranking perspective ranked 88th (Martin), 20th (Simpson), 44th (Moore) and 76th (Na) in the OWGR. Remember a place in the top 50 by close of the year is a really huge deal, especially for those players who didn’t qualify for the Tour Championship.

2015/16 saw Smylie Kaufman at 226th and Rod Pampling at 451st in the OWGR came from left-field, but 2017 again saw a motivated and classy sort in Patrick Cantlay win his first PGA Tour event here. He was 69th in the OWGR, up an amazing 1355 spots across the calendar year. 2018 saw Bryson DeChambeau capture his 4th win in 12 tournament appearances following on from The Memorial Tournament, The Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship – as he won this at 14/1 on his first appearance of the new season. He had made 2 appearances at TPC Summerlin with a best finish of 7th.

In 2019 we went back to the OWGR angle with Kevin Na. Kevin was ranked 40th when winning this 24 months ago. He’d already won in 2019 at Colonial, securing passage to The Masters and the Tournament of Champions, but had missed out on the Tour Championship, so remaining in the World’s top 50 was important as it secured all Major and WGC spots for the following year.

2020 saw another big price left-field winner in the form of Martin Laird who was 351st in the OWGR arriving in Las Vegas. A past Shriners Open champion (2009), Martin had also finished 2nd (2010) when defending and had contended in 2014, 2018 and 2019 before falling back over the weekend. A desert golf specialist, he’d finished 28th the week before in Mississippi, his best result since returning from a knee injury 4 tournament appearances earlier.

My selections are as follows:

Hideki Matsuyama 2pts EW 28/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

First up for me in a betting heat which is very open is Hideki Matsuyama.

He impressed me at the Fortinet Championship last time out where he finished 6th. A closing round -5/66 was second only to winner Max Homa and Mac Leishman on Sunday, and his all-round game was strong. From a Strokes Gained perspective, he was 17th Off the Tee, 10th on Approach and 3rd for Tee to Green. The bug bear of course, as is often the case with Hideki, was the putter. But TPC Summerlin apart from when Kevin Na wins, is always a track where Strokes Gained Putting is not a key category. Indeed Pampling (39th), Cantlay (32nd), DeChambeau (45th) and Laird (20th) have won 4 of the past 5 renewals when hardly tearing it up with the flat stick from a Strokes Gained perspective. We can also take the year that Na won (2020). He beat Patrick Cantlay in a play off, with Patrick ranking 2nd for Tee to Green and 41st for Putting.

So I can see Hideki going well on a course where he ranked 24th (2014) and 8th (2019) for Tee to Green when finishing 10th (2014) and 16th (2019). 3 of Matsuyama’s 6 PGA Tour wins have come on pure Bentgrass greens and 2 of the others have come on Bermudagrass overseeded with Bentgrass (TPC Scottsdale), so we know that the Japanese Number 1 is definitely Bentgrass positive. After all he is the current Masters Champion and he’s also a 2-time winner in the desert at the Phoenix Open. He likes these clear air conditions.

Hideki is also a player who tends to go well in the Fall part of the season. 1 win and 11 top-10 PGA Tour finishes in October and November since he hit the Tour in 2013 is pretty amazing, with those finishes coming across China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, California, here in Nevada, and Texas. RESULT: T67

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Matthew Wolff 2pts EW 45/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Matthew Wolff actually arrives at a golf course that he has real experience of this week in the form of TPC Summerlin. 18th here in 2019 where he fired a closing -6/65, Matthew bettered that 12 months ago where he finished 2nd to Martin Laird, after losing in a 3 man play-off which also involved Austin Cook. 40th after the opening 36 holes, Wolff fired a beautiful -10/61 on Saturday to jump into the heat of the battle and followed that up with -6/65 on Sunday. It’s worth remembering that Matthew was a 28/1 chance to win, coming off 2nd place at the U.S. Open a fortnight earlier.

Since then he hasn’t finished in the top 10 on the PGA Tour and that puts him at a point of need, especially as his fellow PGA Tour rookie class of 2019 peers, Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa, just played in the Ryder Cup.

At 47th in the OWGR , Wolff needs some strong results to ensure his invite for the 2022 Masters pre-Christmas, and actually his game is trending positively again. 17th at the WGC St Jude Invitational in August featured an opening round -6/64, whilst last week saw Matthew shoot -11/133 across Saturday and Sunday to jump from the cut line to 17th spot. His driving seems much better again and Wolff was 12th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green.

Now I’ve never had Matthew to this point down as a positive Bermudagrass green player and that interests me for TPC Summerlin as we return to A1/A4 Bentgrass putting surfaces. The 22 year-old Californian won his first PGA Tour title on the Bentgrass greens of TPC Twin Cities in 2019. And all of his best results to date, namely 4th at the 2020 PGA Championship, 2nd at the 2020 U.S. Open and 2nd here last year, have come on Bentgrass or Poa Annua / Bentgrass mix greens. Wolff ranks Number 1 in this field for Strokes Gained Total since 2015. RESULT: 2nd

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Talor Gooch 1pt EW 80/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

I was on Talor Gooch last week before he withdrew at 45/1 last week so I’m happy to take a bigger price in a deeper field.

Why he missed out last week doesn’t overly concern me. This week will be his 98th start on the PGA Tour and it’s his 5th season on the Tour. He may be a Tour maiden to this point, but he’s an undoubted talent who has consistently been around the top 60/70 in the OWGR since 5th at the Players Championship back in May, played at TPC Sawgrass. He’s also got previous in the desert and in the Western United States in general. 4th in the Californian desert at PGA West (2019), Talor was also 5th at Shadow Creek (2020) here in Las Vegas. Gooch has also finished 3rd at Torrey Pines (2019) and 4th last time out at Silverado. So California and Nevada seem to be happy hunting grounds.

That top 5 finish at the Fortinet saw Talor positive across all facets of his game and he was 6th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green. 2 from 3 here at TPC Summerlin, Gooch finished 17th here back in 2017 in only his 3rd start in his rookie season. 8th for Strokes Gained on Approach and 21st for Strokes Gained Tee to Green. 8th after 36 holes, his closing -7/64 was tied second best of the tournament, played in tricky conditions. RESULT: T11

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Tom Hoge 1pt EW 150/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Ladbrokes

All prices are in play this week at a tournament where 4 of the last 7 winners have been at triple-digit prices, and a long-shot who caught my eye at a price at the season opening Fortinet Championship was Tom Hoge.

10th after 36 holes and 9th after 54 holes at Silverado, the wheels came off on Sunday and Tom finished 36th. But I prefer Hoge in desert climes. 10th (2015), 4th (2017) and 6th (2019) at Montreux G&CC which used to host the Barracuda Championship. 6th (2020) at PGA West and 7th (2017) here at TPC Summerlin. Tom clearly likes the clean air and low scoring at desert golf courses, and 2nd at the 2020 Greenbrier Classic came on Bentgrass greens and at altitude.

Short courses where scoring is easy is undoubtedly the 32 year old’s specialty, so it was fascinating to see him finish 4th at the FedEx Cup Playoff Northern Trust in late August, contending with the likes of Tony Finau, Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith and Erik van Rooyen. Certainly out of character, but highlights the kind of performances the Fargo, North Dakota resident can produce. RESULT: T14

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Mito Pereira 1pt EW 60/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

A chat with Barry and Paul in this week’s Golf Betting System podcast confirmed that I needed to stick with Chilean Mito Pereira so he is a Tuesday morning addition to the team.

Having been born and raised in the Santiago suburbs he will have no problem with the altitude this week and a Korn Ferry high altitude win in Colombia plus 4th at the Mexico Championship (El Bosque) confirm he’s a super thin air player. I’ve been an admirer of the 26 year-old’s abilities for a while now and his results on the PGA Tour since promotion in July have been excellent. 5th at the Barbasol Championship, 6th at the 3M Open and 3rd across regulation 72-hole play at the Olympics in Japan, have been followed up this season with 3rd at the Fortinet Championship and 31st last week in Jackson, where the putter malfunctioned on Bermudagrass greens.

1st and 4th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green in both his appearances so far this season, I think TPC Summerlin will be a decent stop-off for Pereira who ranks 2nd for Greens in Regulation, 6th for Strokes Gained on Approach and 10th for Scoring Average in the embryonic stages of this new season. RESULT: T40

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 18:35BST 4.10.21 but are naturally subject to fluctuation. Mito Pereira added 09:40BST 5.10.21.