Shriners Hospital Open | Thursday 17 October - Sunday 20 October | TPC Summerlin
The new PGA season officially started last week and the second event on the calendar is the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. The tournament will be hosted at TPC Summerlin, a 7,243 yard par 71 course that ranks as one of the easiest on Tour, and which has in the past played host to some exciting golf. That trend looks likely to continue this week as the tournament now offers FedEx Cup points. This incentive has resulted in more big names than usual making an appearance, so expect a hotly contested tournament. In the last three years, the winning totals have been -21, -23 and -24 and with that in mind it’s clear that the real contest is going to be on the greens and the winner will be the player who can capitalise on the easy layout and convert good iron play into birdies. So who will win this one? Let’s have a look.
To Win Outright
Webb Simpson 16/1
Nick Watney 16/1
Graham Delaet 25/1
Hideki Matsuyama 25/1
Chris Kirk (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
Chris Kirk has yet to win this year and his only previous victory came in 2011, but he won that one with an impressive score of -22 and showed that on easy courses he is a birdie machine. He is known to be a great putter and ranked inside the top 25 in both Strokes Gained Putting and Average Distance of Putts last season, so should enjoy this tournament and perhaps most crucially, he always seems to play his best golf at the beginning of the season. Hopefully this year is no different. 11/1 a place looks a great bet to me.
Hideki Matsuyama (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
Matsuyama had a stellar season last year and although he won three times in Japan, it was his performances in the British and US Open that really caught everyone’s attention. Having managed top 10’s in both, he soon became a name everyone remembered and is going to be one of the young stars punters keep a close eye on this season. A T3 last week proved he’s going to come out swinging this season and on a course like this, his calm and collected style could easily be rewarded with birdies. Each way here is the way to go for me.
Scott Piercy (30/1 a win, 66/10 a place)
In the last few years Las Vegas residents have done well here and seeing as though Piercy calls Sin City home, it’s only logical that we back the resident. Whilst that may seem a poor reason to tip a player, he does justify my confidence in his form at home considering that he won his maiden PGA Tour title here and managed a sixth place finish last year. A T5 at the PGA Championship was one of the few highlights of an average 2013 season, but hopefully he’ll come into this one looking to turn that form around.
TOP BET: Ryan Moore (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
It’s impossible to ignore Ryan Moore this week because, like Piercy, he too is a Las Vegas resident. More importantly though, he is defending champion and has in the past played some of his best golf in December. Whilst that used to mean he finished strong, this time around a good month will go a long way in earning him valuable FedEx Cup points and he will definitely be aware of that. Expect big things from the worst dressed player on Tour this weekend.