Viva Las Vegas For Fowler At Shriners
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 in 2013, it became the second event of the season. The field size was increased to 144 last year, but once again, not all of the top PGA 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 good and we can expect some low scoring this week.
In The Bunker
Brooks Koepka has enjoyed an excellent season, picking up his first PGA Tour title and hitting form in the summer with a string of top ten finishes, including a fifth at the PGA Championship. But he ran out of steam in the FedEx Cup play-offs, missing two cuts, and didn’t make much impression at the Frys.com Open last week. He finished fourth in this event last year, but in his current form I won’t be backing him at 20/1.
Rickie Fowler is the highest-ranked golfer in the field and it’s no surprise to see him top the antepost betting this week. He finished the season strongly, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and bagging a top five at the BMW Championship, and although he didn’t have the best of times at the Presidents Cup, that was a good warm up after a couple of weeks off.
He made the top ten at this event back in 2009 and looks a solid favourite at 10/1.
Kevin Na finished last season in solid form, making the top ten at the BMW Championship and he kicked off the new term with a superb effort at the Frys.Com Open, leading the way into Sunday before missing out in a play-off to Emiliano Grillo. If he can overcome that disappointment, he should be a live contender this week at a tournament he won in 2011.
He’s a good bet at 25/1.
It’s also worth adding Scott Piercy to your shortlist. He’s had a productive year, picking up a handful of top tens, including his first PGA Tour win in three years and he played well at the BMW Championship to finish third. He has a good record in this event, making the top ten twice in the last three years and is worth a look at 28/1.