Best bets for PGA's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

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Sergio Garcia, at 66-1, birdied the last hole Sunday to win the Sanderson Farms Championship and earn his first PGA Tour win since the 2017 Masters. Garcia (40-1 this week) extended his winning streak to 10 years, winning at least one worldwide event from 2011-20. Garcia led the field in strokes gained tee to green (+ 3.01 per round) and strokes gained off the tee (+ 1.37) and was third for strokes gained: approach (+ 1.75). He has won six times in eight tries with a 54-hole lead or co-lead worldwide since 2017.
 
This week the PGA Tour heads west for back-to-back weeks in Las Vegas, beginning with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. Bryson DeChambeau (7-1), the 2018 champion, makes his first appearance since winning the U.S. Open three weeks ago. Webb Simpson (12-1) is another former event champion (2013) in the field. Patrick Cantlay (16-1) won here in 2017 and had back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2018-19. In fact, he has never finished worse than second in this event. Three players follow at 20-1: Las Vegas resident and PGA champion Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau. Matthew Wolff (25-1) also makes his first appearance since finishing second at the U.S. Open. Scottie Scheffler was the short favorite at the Sanderson Farms in his first appearance since withdrawing from the U.S. Open due to testing positive for COVID-19 but finished a disappointing 37th. Now he’s triple the price at 30-1, along with Jason Day and Harris English, who posted his best finish in a major with a fourth at the U.S. Open. Defending and two-time Shriners champion Kevin Na is a Las Vegas local and is priced at 50-1. 
 
The Event
The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was founded as the Las Vegas Pro Celebrity Classic in 1983. At the time, the event had the highest purse on the PGA Tour at $750,000. This week’s field will be playing for a slightly larger sum of $7 million. The tournament was originally a 90-hole event before going to 72 in 2004. Many fans will know this event as the Las Vegas Invitational, its name from 1984-99. It was also the site of Tiger Woods’ first PGA Tour win in 1996. The tournament boasts an extensive list of major winners, including Woods, Jim Furyk, Fuzzy Zoeller, Curtis Strange, Greg Norman, Paul Azinger, Davis Love III, Simpson and DeChambeau. Before TPC Summerlin took over as sole host in 2008, a variety of Las Vegas courses were used, including TPC Las Vegas, Bear’s Best, Southern Highlands, Desert Inn (now Wynn), Las Vegas CC, Las Vegas National, Spanish Trail, Showboat (now Wildhorse) and Sunrise (now Stallion Mountain). This week’s field will feature seven of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and 17 of the top 40. 
 
 
The Course
TPC Summerlin is in the community of Summerlin, about a 15-minute drive west from the Las Vegas Strip. The track was designed by Bobby Weed and Fuzzy Zoeller in 1991. It plays as a par-71 of 7,255 yards. It has 92 bunkers and four water hazards, which are in play on four holes. TPC Summerlin is an exposed desert track with very few trees. The Bermuda fairways are of average width but undulating. The Bermuda rough is only about 2 inches high, so it’s not hard to gouge out of it, but it will take away the ability to spin approach shots closer to the pins. The course is a rare combination of Bermuda fairways and rough to go along with Bentgrass greens. The only other course on tour with that combination is Colonial Country Club, home of the Charles Schwab Challenge. The greens are fairly large, averaging 7,400 square feet, and of modest speed at 11.5 on the Stimpmeter. The track is at an elevation of about 2,700 feet, so the ball flies about 3% farther than at sea level. Temperatures in the high 90s have stretched into October in Las Vegas, but a cooldown is expected over the weekend to the high 70s on Sunday. The winds also might make this course play more difficult than usual with 15-mph breezes in the forecast. 
 
Shriners Hospitals for Children Recent History 
 
2019: Kevin Na (-23/261), 70-1* 
2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-21/263), 14-1 
2017: Patrick Cantlay (-9/275), 20-1** 
2016: Rod Pampling (-20/264), 300-1 
2015: Smylie Kaufman (-16/268), 250-1 
2014: Ben Martin (-20/264), 225-1 
2013: Webb Simpson (-24/260), 20-1 
2012: Ryan Moore (-24/260), 14-1 
2011: Kevin Na (-23/261), 60-1 
2010: Jonathan Byrd (-23/261), 50-1*** 
 
* - playoff win over Patrick Cantlay
** - playoff win over Alex Cejka and Whee Kim (high winds and no player with all four rounds in the 60s)
* - playoff win over Martin Laird and Cameron Percy (hole-in-one on third playoff hole)
 
Statistics and Angles
 
No particular formula for success exists at TPC Summerlin. Judging by recent results, almost any type of player can win. DeChambeau, the pre-eminent bomber and gouger in today’s game, won here two years ago. But shorter, more accurate hitters like Na and Simpson used solid ball striking to their advantage and then putted the lights out for their victories. Accuracy will be more important, but power is never a disadvantage. With windier conditions in the forecast, accuracy and hitting greens become even more paramount. Here are a few categories that could indicate which players will fare well this week (2019-20 season rankings):
 
Driving Accuracy 
1. Ryan Armour (2) 73.86% 
2. Brian Stuard (3) 71.84% 
3. Kyle Stanley (5) 71.29% 
4. Tyler Duncan (6) 69.87% 
5. Chez Reavie (7) 69.73% 
6. Henrik Norlander (8) 69.57% 
7. Doc Redman (T13) 68.27% 
8. Vaughn Taylor (16) 67.84% 
9. Scott Brown (17) 67.37% 
10. Webb Simpson (18) 67.31% 
Three of the last five Shriners winners have rated seventh or better those weeks for driving accuracy. 
 
Greens In Regulation 
1. Kyle Stanley (2) 72.54% 
2. Aaron Wise (3) 72.10% 
3. Will Gordon (4) 71.70% 
4. Russell Henley (5) 71.69% 
5. Emiliano Grillo (T7) 71.54% 
6. Harris English (9) 70.91% 
7. Webb Simpson (11) 70.83% 
8. Doc Redman (12) 70.80% 
9. Henrik Norlander (13) 70.65% 
10. Paul Casey (14) 70.63% 
Four of the last eight Shriners winners have rated fourth or better those weeks for greens in regulation. 
 
Strokes Gained Off the Tee 
1. Bryson DeChambeau (1) 1.039 
2. Cameron Champ (2) 0.999 
3. Sergio Garcia (3) 0.848 
4. Jason Kokrak (9) 0.633 
5. Scottie Scheffler (10) 0.618 
6. Matthew Wolff (12) 0.607 
7. Will Gordon (14) 0.564 
8. Paul Casey (15) 0.546 
9. Sam Burns (16) 0.493 
10. Harold Varner III (17) 0.458 
Three of the last five Shriners winners have rated sixth or better those weeks for strokes gained off the tee. 
 
Birdie Average 
1. Webb Simpson (1) 4.67 
2. Bryson DeChambeau (4) 4.42 
3. Scottie Scheffler (T7) 4.35 
4. Chesson Hadley (9) 4.31 
5. Kristoffer Ventura (T11) 4.23 
6. Charley Hoffman (T13) 4.22 
7. Denny McCarthy (T13) 4.22 
8. Tony Finau (T18) 4.19 
9. Sungjae Im (T20) 4.15 
10. Patrick Cantlay (T20) 4.15 
Selections
 
Collin Morikawa 22-1
 
It has been a busy four months for Morikawa. In his first start in golf’s restart in June, he missed a short putt on the first playoff hole and lost to Daniel Berger at the Colonial. In July he won in a playoff against Justin Thomas at the Workday Charity Open, his first real PGA Tour win against a field with top-quality players. Less than a month later, he won his first major in the PGA Championship at Harding Park. The grind kept on as he played in the FedEx Cup and then the U.S. Open, where he missed the cut by one. Morikawa was paired with Thomas, who was the first-round leader, and Tiger Woods, who remains a towering presence for a player to be grouped with in a major for the first time as just a 23-year-old. 
Now Morikawa has had an opportunity to refresh and reset with a couple of weeks off. He gets to return to play with an ex-officio home game as he is now a Las Vegas resident, having moved there last year. While a 42nd-place finish last year in his only appearance does not jump off the page, he is obviously fully capable of winning here. Morikawa rated second on the PGA Tour last season in strokes gained: approach and fifth for strokes gained tee to green.
Colonial and TPC Summerlin have similar makeups, and Morikawa was runner-up at Colonial, where he was second for strokes gained tee to green. There also may be something to this Colonial correlation, as Na won there and here at Summerlin in 2019. All three of Morikawa’s PGA Tour wins (Barracuda, Workday, PGA) have come on Bentgrass greens. 
 
Scottie Scheffler 30-1
 
Scheffler made his first start last week after having to withdraw from the U.S. Open with COVID-19. He did so last week as the odds-on favorite in the 9-1 or 10-1 range. The reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year is going to win soon, but last week was a tough spot to do it as the tournament favorite, even in a weaker field.
Now we get Scheffler more appropriately priced at triple the price so we can buy on the odds drift. He has just one appearance here, finishing 74th. But he had just secured his PGA Tour card with his stellar play on the Korn Ferry Tour, and those players have to immediately play events in the PGA Tour Fall Series and get zero time off in transitioning to the big tour, so that performance can be excused. 
 
Rickie Fowler 33-1
 
While he’s no longer a Vegas resident, Fowler was a local for a spell as longtime instructor Butch Harmon is based here. Harmon decided to cut his traveling last year, and Fowler switched coaches to John Tillery. The progress has been slow. Fowler now is ranked just outside the OWGR top 40 at No. 41 and has only two top-10s in 2020, but some signs of progress exist. 
 
Last time out, Fowler tied for 49th at the U.S. Open but struck the ball very well and was top 20 in the field both off the tee and on approach. He really lost on the greens at Winged Foot, and the putter has long been the strength of Fowler’s game. So he should appreciate the return to Bentgrass in Vegas, where he was fourth two years ago. 
 
Joaquin Niemann 66-1
 
Niemann finished top 10 on debut here in 2018. The recent form has been good, with a T3 at the BMW Championship and his best finish at a major (23rd) at the U.S. Open. 
The 21-year-old from Chile also seems to fancy Bentgrass putting surfaces, with top-10 finishes at Colonial, Memorial, the Travelers and Detroit. Furthermore, with the wind expected to blow a little harder this week, a player with a low ball flight like Niemann should benefit. 
Doc Redman 80-1
Redman has a pair of top-3s in his last four starts, in the Wyndham and Safeway. He disappointed a bit with a T28 at the Sanderson Farms, where he was his usual solid self off the tee and tee to green. 
Nevertheless, he drifts up this week to nearly triple the price. He led the field at the Safeway just a few weeks ago for strokes gained: approach. 
 
Denny McCarthy 80-1
 
Back to the well with McCarthy, who was in contention in Sunday’s final round but never got much going and tied for sixth. 
McCarthy is an elite putter and is even better on Bentgrass surfaces. He finished top 10 here last year.
 
Kristoffer Ventura 80-1
 
Another returner from last week’s card. Ventura tied for sixth at the Sanderson Farms. Only last week’s winner, Sergio Garcia, gained more off the tee than did Ventura in the entire field.
Ventura was fourth on the PGA Tour for strokes gained putting last season and wasn’t poor last week but was still below his standards. 
 
James Hahn 165-1
 
Hahn has never done all that well in six appearances at TPC Summerlin, with his best finish a 15th in 2016. However, he comes in on hot short-term form with back-to-back top-10s at the Safeway and Corales Puntacana.
Hahn has several starts left on his major medical extension to secure his full playing privileges and could be motivated by seeing Hudson Swafford win two weeks ago with just two starts left on his own major medical. 
 
 
 
 
BMW PGA Championship
 
After finishing as runner-up the previous week at the Irish Open, Aaron Rai, who started Sunday five strokes back of the lead, shot a final-round 64 to force a playoff with Tommy Fleetwood and win it on the first playoff hole at a price of 45-1. Fleetwood posted his best finish in 2020 by leading the field in strokes gained tee to green but was 50th of 66th in strokes gained putting. Rai returns to this week’s field at the BMW PGA Championship at 40-1. Fleetwood will share the co-favorite role at 10-1 with Patrick Reed, who was a late entry and finished fourth here on debut last year. Reed will try to become just the second American to win this event since Arnold Palmer in 1975. Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose and Matthew Fitzpatrick follow at 16-1. Shane Lowry has four top-6 finishes here over the last 10 years and shares a 25-1 tag with Erik van Rooyen (sixth last week in Scotland) and Thomas Pieters. Ian Poulter slots in at 30-1 along with Matt Wallace, Bernd Wiesberger and Lee Westwood. Defending champion Danny Willett was 66-1 last year and is right around that price again at 60-1. 
 
The Event
 
The BMW PGA Championship was established in 1955 as the British PGA Championship. It is usually played near the end of May but was moved to September in 2019 to avoid conflicting with the PGA Championship. It is considered the European Tour’s flagship event. The winner is given an exemption into the U.S. Open and the next three British Opens. A who’s who of European players have won this event, including Nick Faldo (1978, ’80, ’81, ’89), Bernhard Langer (’87, ’93, ’95), Colin Montgomerie (’98, ’99, 2000), Seve Ballesteros (’83, ’91), Ian Woosnam (’88, ’97), Francesco Molinari (2018), Rory McIlroy (2014) and Tony Jacklin (’72, ’82). 
 
The Course
 
The West Course at Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, is about 25 miles southwest of London and has hosted the BMW PGA since 1984. The headquarters of the European Tour are on the grounds of the club. The course was designed in 1926 by Harry Colt, with Ernie Els and European Tour Design doing renovations in 2009 and ’16. Wentworth West is a par-72 of 7,284 yards. It is a tree-lined track with tight fairways and some long rough. Bentgrass greens replaced Bent/Poa Annua in the 2016 renovation. The greens also have many shaved runoffs. The most recent renovations were made with the intent of getting back to the original Colt design by encouraging more shotmaking and allowing more shots to roll onto the greens. 
 
BMW PGA Championship Recent History
 
2019: Danny Willett (-20/268), 66-1
2018: Francesco Molinari (-17/271), 22-1
2017: Alex Noren (-11/277), 20-1
2016: Chris Wood (-9/279), 66-1
2015: Byeong-Hun An (-21/267), 100-1
2014: Rory McIlroy (-14/274), 14-1
2013: Matteo Manassero (-10/278), 66-1*
2012: Luke Donald (-15/273), 8-1
2011: Luke Donald (-6/278), 15-2**
2010: Simon Khan (-6/278), 200-1
 
* - playoff win over Simon Khan and Marc Warren
** - playoff win over Lee Westwood
 
 
Statistics and Angles
Six of the last eight winners have finished fourth or better in the field for greens in regulation, and eight of the last 10 were top-10 or better in the category.
Nine of the previous 10 winners have had at least one top-10 in previous visits to Wentworth. 
Greens In Regulation
1. Jordan Smith (1) 73.61%
2. Aaron Rai (4) 72.46%
3. Ross Fisher (5) 72.22%
4. Thomas Pieters (6) 72.22%
5. Brandon Stone (8) 71.90%
6. Gavin Green (9) 71.81%
7. Martin Kaymer (10) 71.43%
8. Ashley Chesters (11) 71.16%
9. Mikko Korhonen (12) 71.07%
10. Thomas Detry (14) 71.00%
Driving Accuracy
1. Ashley Chesters (1) 71.38%
2. John Catlin (3) 67.00%
3. Aaron Rai (4) 66.74%
4. Matthew Southgate (9) 63.55%
5. Gavin Green (10) 63.25%
6. Edoardo Molinari (11) 63.17%
7. Mikko Korhonen (12) 63.15%
8. Richard McEvoy (14) 62.82%
9. David Horsey (15) 62.61%
10. Jordan Smith (16) 62.02%
Scrambling
1. John Catlin (1) 65.46%
2. Andy Sullivan (2) 65.18%
3. Richie Ramsay (4) 63.64%
4. Ashun Wu (5) 62.39%
5. Chris Paisley (6) 62.37%
6. Adrian Otaegui (7) 62.33%
7. Maximilian Kieffer (8) 62.14%
8. Wade Ormsby (10) 62.10%
9. Sam Horsfield (11) 61.70%
10. Robert Rock (12) 61.03%
Strokes Gained: Putting
1. Jack Singh Brar (1) 1.69
2. Dean Burmester (2) 1.58
3. Sami Valimaki (3) 1.07
4. Alexander Bjork (7) 0.90
5. Gavin Green (8) 0.85
6. Lucas Herbert (9) 0.73
7. Marcus Kinhult (11) 0.71
8. Scott Jamieson (12) 0.66
9. John Catlin (14) 0.58
10. Scott Hend (17) 0.48
Selections
Matthew Fitzpatrick 16-1
 
Fitzpatrick finally got to go back to the UK last weekend for the first time since the restart and finished 42nd at the Scottish, but he has shown some excellent performances this summer.
He tied for sixth at the BMW and the WGC FedEx and took third at the Memorial. The BMW PGA is a tournament every Englishman wants to win, and Fitzpatrick certainly is no exception. 
Thomas Pieters 25-1
 
Pieters missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open but was on the substantially tougher part of the weather draw. The new daddy still seems like he’s in prime position to get another European Tour win in short order. 
The Belgian ranks first on the European Tour for strokes gained tee to green, second for strokes gained: approach and sixth for strokes gained off the tee.
Ian Poulter 40-1
Poulter was right in the mix Sunday to win the Scottish Open, but an untimely double bogey dropped him to a tie for sixth.
 
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 40-1
The South African missed the cut at the Scottish in his return to the European Tour, but he was third at Wentworth last year on debut. 
Lee Westwood 42-1
 
Westwood has quietly played solid golf of late, with four finishes of 19th or better in his last six weeks, including a respectable T13 at the U.S. Open in difficult conditions. He also has three top-10s in the last 10 years at Wentworth.
Lucas Herbert 44-1
 
Herbert missed the cut in his only appearance at Wentworth last year, but he finished fourth at the Scottish Open and seventh the week before at the Irish Open and was a respectable T31 at the U.S. Open.
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