The PGA TOUR is headed to Vegas, baby, Vegas! With two events in the next two weeks now in the greater Las Vegas area, the PGA TOUR will park its bubble in the Nevada desert for what should be pair of entertaining tournaments. This week, it’s the annual Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which debuted in 1983 and has been held every fall at TPC Summerlin since 1992.
The field has a few big names in the mix including Bryson DeChambeau ($11,800), who will be teeing it up for the first time since winning the U.S. Open Championship. DeChambeau won this event in 2018 and will be joined by other recent winners in Kevin Na ($8,600), Patrick Cantlay ($10,400), Webb Simpson ($11,000), and Martin Laird ($6,400). Last season, Na beat Cantlay in a playoff as both were looking to claim their second title at the event. In fact, each of the past six Shriners Hospitals for Children Opens have been decided by two strokes or fewer, so expect some finishing drama this week.
TPC Summerlin is the design of Bobby Weed, who apprenticed under Pete and Alice Dye and helped design multiple TPC courses, including this one, which he created with player consultant Fuzzy Zoeller. The par-71 course measures a solid 7,255 feet and is carved out of the rugged desert terrain, featuring bentgrass greens and some picturesque desert vistas. The scoring is usually low at the event with the winning score reaching at least -20 in five of the past seven years.
The course features a trio of long par 5s and one long par 3, but the 11 par 4s are fairly short overall. As you build your DraftKings lineup, you’ll need players who can pile up birdies especially on par-4s in the 400-450 yard range and take advantage of the long par 5s as well. Some other courses with similar layouts and setups include TPC Twin Cities, TPC Deere Run and Sedgefield Country Club. TPC River Highlands is also a course that Weed overhauled and is a part of the PGA TOUR’s yearly schedule. Players with success on those courses should do well this week in addition to those with good histories on this specific track.
As we continue through the fall with shallower fields, finding value at the cheap end of the salary structure will continue to be critical along with pinpointing the right superstars. Let’s take a look at who stands out this week from the options available for under $7,500 on DraftKings.
Sam Burns, $7,400
Burns was a popular pick last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but he disappointed by shooting a 71-74 to miss the cut. His ownership will likely be much lower due to recency bias, and Burns is set up for a solid bounce-back week if he can re-find his form from earlier this season. In his 10 measured rounds on the young season, Burns is averaging 5.1 birdies-per-round, good enough for fourth on the PGA TOUR to this point. He is gaining .837 shots tee-to-green and 1.181 shots total per round.
Burns has missed the cut in each of the last two years at this event but has made the cut in back-to-back years at TPC River Highlands, including at top 25 finish earlier this year. He has also done well at TPC Twin Cities, another comparable course, and posted a top 20 finish at Sedgefield Country Club as well. Burns has the tools to be a great play this week, but his results last week and course history tell a different story. If you are a huge fan of previous course results, look at some other options, but if you can look past that and last week’s letdown, you’re getting a great golfer at an affordable price with huge upside.
Brendan Steele, $7,200
Steele has been performing well since the restart and has made the cut in eight straight events. His best finish during that run was a T6 at TPC River Highlands, but he also had strong finishes with a T13 at the Memorial and a T22 at the PGA Championship against elite competition. He ranked in the top 20 on the PGA TOUR in birdie or better on Par 4s last season and was significantly above average at the 400-450 yard range that is key on this track.
Unlike Burns, though, Steele has put together strong results at TPC Summerlin. He has played the event eight times in his career and made the cut in six of those trips with five top 35 finishes. Steele started this season with a good week at the Safeway Open, where he gained 1.568 shots tee-to-green per round, ranking him in top 25 of all players on the PGA TOUR this season. Steele opened that event with a blistering 65 in Round 1 but his putter let him down in the following rounds as he faded to T29. If he can get the flat stick rolling, he could be in contention once again this week and should at least be able to keep his cut streak rolling.
Chesson Hadley, $6,700
In September, Hadley started the season strong with a T14 at the Safeway Open and made the cut to finish T51 at the U.S. Open Championship. Things fell apart for him, though, last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship where he slid to a 75-74 and missed the cut by a significant margin. However, if you are familiar with Hadley, you know he can be boom-or-bust on any given week, and his form (good or bad) doesn’t necessarily carry from week-to-week.
Last season, Hadley ranked in the top 10 in birdie average and has shown the ability to go very low when his game starts clicking on all cylinders. He took a big step forward off the tee last season and gained .341 shots tee-to-green, ranking him 70th on the PGA TOUR. Hadley has a great track record at TPC Summerlin, where he has made the cut in five of his past six trips and has posted three top 10 finishes, so don’t be surprised if he bounces back from a tough week in Jackson with a good showing in Vegas.
Tyler McCumber, $6,500
If you’re looking for a player on a hot streak with a cheap salary to round out your roster, check out McCumber, who earned his way into this week’s field with back-to-back top 10 finishes the past two weeks. McCumber shot a 66 in the Final Round to finish solo second in Punta Cana two weeks ago and lit up the weekend with a 66-69 to surge to a T6 finish last week in Jackson. Those two finishes were the first two top 10s of his PGA TOUR career as he tries to follow his father’s footsteps on the PGA TOUR, where Mark McCumber posted 10 career wins.
The younger McCumber has been dialed in with his irons and is gaining 1.903 shots tee-to-green in his six measured rounds this season. At the Corales, which wasn’t a measured event, he was also locked in and led the field in Par-3 Scoring Average for the week. His putter is what has held him back throughout his time on the PGA TOUR, but he can pile up birdies when he’s not losing too much ground on the greens. He’ll need to go low to make another cut this week, but he’s been in such a groove that he is worth a flier if you have to dive to the bottom of the bargain bin.
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