Matsuyama To Shrine Bright In Vegas
The second tournament of the PGA Tour gets underway this week in Las Vegas with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open…
The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was established in 1983 and has a couple of claims to fame. It was the first tournament to offer a $1 million prize fund and was the first professional win of Tiger Woods’ career, in 1996. It has always been held in October, and with the switch to the new Tour schedule last year, it became the second event of the season. The field size has been increased this year to 144 although not all of the top US players are taking part and it might not take much winning.
The tournament has had several homes but is currently staged at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada. The course was carved out of the desert and is striking to look at but doesn’t offer a particularly stiff challenge. Although there is some tricky rough to contend with, the fairways are wide and the greens are straightforward to read. The weather forecast is set fair so we can expect some low scoring this week.
In The Bunker
Webb Simpson heads to Las Vegas as the defending champion and is prominent in the antepost betting but I think he’s opposable at odds of 18/1. He started last season with a bang with victory in this event, but that followed a top five finish at the Tour Championship last September. This time round, his form is less impressive and his Ryder Cup experience will take some time to get over.
Hideki Matsuyama is still chasing his first PGA Tour title, but the signs are positive after he kicked off the new season in style last week, securing his first top ten finish since Memorial, back in June.
He was finding the greens with consistency at Silverado and will be confident ahead of his first visit to TPC Summerlin. Back him at odds of 16/1 to earn a breakthrough tournament win.
Although Ryan Moore didn’t fare too well in the FedEx Cup play-offs he can look back on a reasonably successful season that included a string of top tens and after a month or so off, should be refreshed ahead of his return to Nevada. He won this event in 2012, setting a tournament record in the process, and made the top ten again last year. Back him to kick off his new season with a win at 18/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Brooks Koepka. While a few golfers may be rusty as they get into the new season, he has been busy playing in Europe, where he picked up three consecutive top eleven finishes, including a ninth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships. He carried that form into Silverado last week, finishing inside the top ten and offers plenty of value at 25/1.