Preview – PGA Tour – Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – TPC Summerlin – Las Vegas, Nevada –
The PGA Tour hosts the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas this week.
The field at TPC Summerlin includes last year’s champion and U.S. Ryder Cup participant Webb Simpson along with FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel making his wrap-around season debut. Horschel was not selected to the Ryder Cup squad (his hot streak began after the qualifying process and following the selection of captain’s picks), so he’s well rested and ready to go.
Last week’s champion Sang-Moon Bae, who captured the Frys.com Open, is also competing with a host of international-born players including Graham DeLaet, two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, major champion Padraig Harrington and Hideki Matsuyama.
Horschel headlines the field at the top-ranked player competing at No. 13 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The tournament celebrates its 32nd edition in Las Vegas. This year features public swimming pools as part of the gallery festivities — perhaps a PGA Tour first.
The par-71 Bobby Weed/Fuzzy Zoeller-designed course reaches 7,233 yards from the back tees and requires low scores to capture a big piece of the purse. Holes 16 through 18 (a par 5-3-4 finish) set the stage for Sunday finale in the Las Vegas desert, where temperatures are expected in the mid-to-high 80s. Going low is required to win in Sin City. Expect the champion to reach the low-20s under par for the 72-hole event.
Several past champions are playing this week including Ryan Moore, a former UNLV player, in 2012, Martin Laird in 2009, Jonathan Byrd in 2010 and Kevin Na in 2011.
- Simpson posted opening rounds of 64-63 to set the pace en route to shooting 24-under and winning by six shots. Webb was never really challenge in Vegas. Jason Bohn was T-2 alongside Ryo Ishikawa. Local favorite and former UNLV player Charley Hoffman was fourth alone with a host of players finished T-5 and eight back including Charles Howell III and Chesson Hadley (who went on to win the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honor).
The Golf Channel has the television coverage all week from 5 to 8 p.m. EST.
FANTASY: Consider players finishing up late 2014 in great form like Horschel. He should be well rested heading into Vegas, but let’s see how he handles begin the spotlight headliner. Take Laird who has a victory here in 2009 and then was a runner-up in 2010. CH3 plays well in the desert. He tied for first last year with 48 total rounds in the 60s. He needs four low ones here to contend and was T-5 in 2014. For a Web.com Tour grad selection, let’s go with Derek Fathauer.
BETTING: Horschel is the overall betting favorite at skybet.com at 12-to-1 odds to win in Las Vegas. Take Laird (28-1), who is a great fit here and was T-4 last week in Napa. Matsuyama (16-1) isn’t a great value in this spot, but he just three back last week and appears to be finding his putting stroke after playing his way into the TOUR Championship last season. Consider a guy with a Vegas connection (both Moore and Na have won here with Vegas ties), so take Hoffman at 45-1. At 50-1, Bae sits at a nice number for a back-to-back W. Take Aaron Baddeley, who is long overdue to win, at 80-1 for a nice payout.
Other Golf News:
- The LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship tees off Friday in a 54-hole event. Amy Yang won the title in a playoff last year. Golf Channel has the television coverage of the no-cut event in Korea.
- The Champions Tour returns to action with the Greater Hickory Kia Classic. Only a few events remain in the Charles Schwab Cup with Bernhard Langer leading the standings.
- The Volvo World Match Play pits 16 players separated into four pods for round-robin match play competition. Henrik Stenson, 5th in the world rankings, is the top-ranked player in the field. Graeme McDowell is the defending champion. Patrick Reed is the lone American in the field coming his 3-0-1 record in the Ryder Cup.
- Marc O’Meara (17 PGA Tour wins and a multiple major champion) and Laura Davies (45 victories on the Ladies European Tour) are among four who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.