The PGA TOUR shifts itself back west this week for a two-event run around the Las Vegas area. The first stop will be the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Open, an event that’s existed on the PGA TOUR since the early 80’s. While it’s sometimes gone by different names, the event’s been a mainstay on the Fall calendar for the PGA TOUR, being held in either November or October every season since 1990. The field for this year’s event is one of its best, as several big-named players are in town for the events and to get some proper warm-ups in prior to the Masters in November.
The winners of the first two majors of 2020 are here in Bryson DeChambeau ($11,800) and Collin Morikawa ($9,800), as well as former champion and two-time runner-up of this event, Patrick Cantlay ($10,400). The goodness doesn’t stop there though as we also have U.S. Open runner-up Matthew Wolff ($9,600), PGA Championship runner-up Paul Casey ($9,200) and a few other top players like Hideki Matsuyama ($9,900) and Tony Finau ($10,200) sprinkled in for good measure. With the field here consisting of 150+ players, the normal cut rules apply with the top 65 and ties all making the weekend.
TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Par 71, 7200-7300 yards
This course is historically one of the easiest the players will encounter all year, although obviously weather can still play a factor in how it plays and in 2017 the wind really made for poor scoring the entire week. However, last season the weather was perfect, and the venue played as the 10th easiest on the PGA TOUR, playing 1.631 strokes under par.
One of the reasons that lower scoring usually predominates here is that the venue is at altitude which means pretty much everyone can drive it relatively far, and recent winners here have included shorter hitters like Ryan Moore, Kevin Na and Ben Martin.
The second thing helping the players here is that nothing about the setup of this course is overly difficult. The rough generally isn’t a big issue at TPC Summerlin and the Bentgrass greens are average to above average in size. There’s three par 5’s on the course and even the longest can be reached in two due to altitude, meaning most players will have an eagle opportunity or two every round if their ball-striking is on track. While there’s a couple longer par 4’s, only one or two are challenging in the sense that they require players to hit a well-struck tee ball just to make par. Of the 11 par 4’s on the course, only three measure in at over 450 yards. The par 3’s rate as some of the toughest holes on the course, although only the 17th features water around the green.
The obvious caveat to all this is that with the open nature of the course, if cold weather and windy conditions predominate it can make conditions challenging. However, this course is all about capitalizing on opportunities (of which there will be a lot) and the player who is aggressive this week and can bury the most chances with the putter when they arise will succeed here. For more detailed info look below under winners stats and course notes.
2020 Outlook: The wind this week doesn’t look like it will play a huge factor in 2020, although gusts are expected to get up past 10 mph in spots. The week starts off nicely with highs of 92 degrees fahrenheit on Thursday, but the temperature is expected to drop as the event goes on. Winds on Friday will be slightly heavier in the evening, reaching over 10 mph. The weather gets slightly worse on the weekend with Sunday seeing a high of just 78. Wind is also expected to pick up on the weekend, with Saturday afternoon set to be the gustiest portion of the event where wind in the 12-15 mph range is expected. It’s worth keeping an eye on Friday afternoon in case the poorer weather comes in earlier than expected, other than that the weekend forecast is only significant for showdown rosters this week.
Last Five winners
2019—Kevin Na -23 (over Patrick Cantlay playoff)
2018—Bryson DeChambeau -21 (over Patrick Cantlay -20)
2017—Patrick Cantlay -9 (over Whee Kim playoff)
2016—Rod Pampling -20 (over Brooks Koepka -18)
2015—Smylie Kaufman -16 (over six players at -15)
– Six of the last Nine winners of the Shriners Hospitals Open had finishes of T16 or better at this event a year before their win.
– Six of the last 10 winners had a finish of T11 or better in one of their previous five tournaments leading up to their win here.
Winner’s Statistics and Course Notes
Kevin Na (2019 at -23)
· Winners here have generally balled out in one of two different categories, SG: PUTT or SG: APP (Na set a single event record for SG: PUTT here last season)
· 2018 and 2016 winners (DeChambeau and Pampling) both gained over +6.5 strokes on APP and gained less than +2.0 strokes Putting
· Course is set at altitude (2,700 feet) so drives here go longer than average PGA TOUR stop—venue plays fairly short as a result
· Driving Accuracy numbers are slightly lower than the PGA TOUR average, but Greens are very easy to hit as rough isn’t very penal and there are lots of shorter approaches into greens—GIR % generally 5-7% higher here than PGA TOUR average
· Very much a second shot course where your irons or putter have to be red hot to challenge
DraftKings Sportsbook odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
Zach Johnson +4500 and $8,500
· Abraham Ancer +5500 and $8,700
· Louis Oosthuizen +4500 and $8,800
· Kevin Na +7000 and $8,600
Sam Burns +7000 and $7,400
· Matt Kuchar +8500 and $7,600
· Denny McCarthy +9000 and $7,700
· Cameron Champ +9500 and $7,600
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Patrick Cantlay ($10,400; best finish: win-2017, 2nd-2019, 2018): Cantlay has amassed a surreal record at TPC Summerlin in just three career starts. The American has dominated this venue, recording two runner-up finishes and a win here since making his debut in the poor conditions that plagued the event in 2017. He’s the lead horse here.
2. Bryson DeChambeau ($11,800; best finish: win-2018): Right behind Cantlay in terms of course history upside is the 2020 U.S. Open Champion. DeChambeau has played this week’s event four times now and finished inside the top-8 here in each of his last three appearances. He outdueled Cantlay for the win here in 2018 and should like the way his drives travel in the thin air this week.
3. Kevin Na ($8,600; best finish: win-2012, 2019): Na has an impressive history at this event. Over his last ten appearances he has a WD and three missed cuts to his name but he also won back in 2012, finished second place here in 2015 and won last year’s event too, gaining an insane +14.2 strokes putting in the process. His course history is a bit boom or bust but his upside is elite here.
4. Webb Simpson ($11,000; best finish: win-2013): Simpson also deserves to be on the list with the top horses this week. He’s made the cut at this event in seven straight starts now, a streak that includes three top-five finishes and a win here from back in 2013. He’s coming in off a couple weeks of rest after a top 10 at the U.S. Open.
Lucas Glover (best finish: T3-2016): Glover isn’t the most consistent player on the PGA TOUR, but his upside here has been solid over the past few seasons. The 2009 U.S. Open Champion has finished inside the top-10 at TPC Summerlin in three of the past four years. He gained +9.6 strokes TTG in a T9 finish here last season.
Editor’s note: Lucas Glover has withdrawn from the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
1. Bryson DeChambeau ($11,800, Recent finishes: win-T22): DeChambeau is coming off a dominant U.S. Open win where he gained +17.9 strokes Tee to Green and won the event by six strokes. He won this event in 2018 and finished T7 or better here in each of the last three seasons.
2. Harris English ($9,700, Recent finishes: T4-T12): English is coming off a monster 2019-20 season. The American actually leads the field in stroked gained total over the last five events and had his best finish ever at a major at the recent U.S. Open, where he tied for fourth.
3. Webb Simpson ($11,000, Recent finishes: T8-T12): Simpson has been his usual consistent self of late, racking up a finish of T8 at the U.S. Open, along with T6 and T3 finishes in his last two full field events. He’s gained over +1.5 strokes putting in four of his last five starts now.
4. Louis Oosthuizen ($8,800, Recent finishes: T3-T25): Oosthuizen really came on strong towards the latter half of the summer, recording a 3rd place finish at the U.S. Open three weeks ago. He’s now made the cut in eight straight starts and has gained strokes on APP in six straight.
5. Zach Johnson ($8,500, Recent finishes: T23-T8): Johnson has looked like a different player of late. The veteran had a great run at the U.S. Open where he led the field in SG: Putting and finished T8. He also picked up a T7 at the Wyndham three starts ago where he was second in SG: APP for the week.
DraftKings DFS Strategy
Cash Games: There’s a lot of talent in this field and with the price drops we’re getting on a lot of big names, I like going with a balanced approach here. Matthew Wolff ($9,600-see below) and Scottie Scheffler ($9,400) both feel like great anchor plays to me and both have proven to be more than capable in score-fests like the one we’re likely to get this week. Scheffler wasn’t great last week, but only lost strokes on APP in his T37 finish and should be sharper here in his second 2020-21 start. After them, the likes of Russell Henley ($8,400), Doc Redman ($7,900), Denny McCarthy ($7,700) and Brendan Steele ($7,200) all look like solid value targets—with good course history and recent form—that will let you stack some studs this week.
Tournaments: Given the difference in price between him and Patrick Cantlay ($10,400), you have to figure that Webb Simpson ($11,000) could go slightly under-owned here. The 2013 winner of this event has nearly as a good a course history and has outplayed Cantlay for most of 2020. Zach Johnson ($8,500) feels like he’s in a similar spot in the 8k-range this week. The 44-year-old has turned back the clock a bit in 2020 and has gained over +5-strokes on his approaches in two of his last four starts now. The depth of field should keep his ownership down even after seeing his price drop $1,100 over the last week. Other GPP targets to consider here include the likes of Sebastian Munoz ($7,900), Luke List ($7,000), Martin Laird ($6,400), Will Gordon ($6,300) and Wyndham Clark ($6,100).
MY PICK: Matthew Wolff ($9,600)
Wolff won’t be catching anyone by surprise this week. The 22-year-old came close to stealing the show at the year’s first two majors, landing a final round 63 at the PGA Championship (to get himself into a T4 position at the end of the week) and shot a third round 65 to get himself into the final pairing at the U.S. Open—where he eventually finished in solo 2nd. The finishes are great building blocks for what will certainly be a fantastic career, but what has eluded Wolff so far in 2020 is a win. That really does feel like it could change this week though.
The Oklahoma State product has produced across the board of late, gaining strokes around the greens now in three straight events, and ranks third and sixth in this field over the last 24 rounds in SG: Tee to Green and Approach stats. While TPC Summerlin isn’t what one would consider as a “U.S. Open-style venue”, it’s still seen some of the best young players in the game dominate here over the past few seasons. Both Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau—two men who have also featured heavily in majors over the last two years—have both found wins here and often dominated with great off the tee play. Wolff finished T18 at this track last year, despite losing strokes on his approaches, and enters this week event with far, far better confidence and form. He was second in SG:OTT here last season and has continued to dominate in that stat throughout 2020. With the increases he’s made this season, it’s hard not to see him putting up a massive week here, and at under $10k, he carries as much upside for me as anyone in the field for DFS.
MY SLEEPER: Wyndham Clark ($6,100)
Clark finally made a cut last week but had a disastrous weekend, shooting 74-78 over the last two rounds to finish in dead last among the cut-makers. While the overall finish was terrible, the former Oregon product was showing some positive signs with his ball-striking in the first two rounds, gaining over +1.4 strokes on approaches in round one and two. Clark has been a great putter over his time on the PGA TOUR, ranking 23rd in SG: Putting over the last 50 rounds in this field, so a quick bounce-back with that club should almost be expected this week.
The 26-year-old has been inconsistent in his time on the PGA TOUR, but when the entire game is flowing, the upside has been solid. We’ve seen multiple big hitters have success at TPC Summerlin over the last few years and Clark ranked as high as 5th in Driving Distance in 2019. He’s shown signs of breaking out with the driver of late too, gaining over +3.1 strokes OTT at the Safeway Open. There’s a lot of bust potential here, but at $6,100 on DraftKings, even just a return to normalcy with the putter could get him through to the weekend where anything can happen on an easier course. With how his ball-striking has progressed of late, I like targeting him at just over the minimum for GPPs as his potential for a breakout seems close.
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