The PGA TOUR moves to Vegas for a two-week stint that starts at its traditional stop at TPC Summerlin. The Shriners Children’s Open is an event that dates back to 1983. The event has been hosted by TPC Summerlin for quite some time now and remains a popular spot for many top players to get in a fall event given its proximity to Las Vegas. The event features a full 150-plus field and will be headlined this year by top-20 players like Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland and last week’s winner, Sam Burns. There’s plenty of other big names in attendance, as Matthew Wolff (who lost in a playoff here last year) is back in the field after a solid start to his season last week. As is Rickie Fowler, who missed the cut here last season.
The event generally sees lower scoring (assuming the weather stays nice) and features a regular Friday cutline of top 65 and ties. Expect lots of fantasy points from the winning teams this week and a Friday cut line that may even approach five-under par or better.
TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Par 71, 7200-7300 yards
TPC Summerlin is historically one of the easiest the players will encounter all year, although weather can still play a factor in how it plays. For example, in 2017 the wind made for poor scoring the entire week, and the event was won at a paltry nine-under par. However, last season the weather was perfect, and the venue played as the third-easiest on TOUR — playing -2.141 strokes under par — and the winner hit 23-under par.
One of the reasons this is a typically low-scoring event is the venue is at a high altitude, which means pretty much everyone can drive it relatively far, and the fact that recent winners here have included shorter hitters like Ryan Moore, Kevin Na and Ben Martin should tell us right off the bat that lack of driving distance is not a huge deal. Last year’s playoff featured a bomber in Matthew Wolff, but also a really short hitter off the tee in Austin Cook. The second thing helping the players here is nothing about the setup of this course is overly difficult.
The rough generally isn’t very long, and the bentgrass greens are average to above average in size and don’t play too fast. There are three par 5s on the course, and even the longest can be reached in two due to altitude, meaning most players will have an eagle opportunity or two every round if their ball-striking is on track. While there are a couple longer par 4s, only one or two are challenging in the sense that they require players to hit a driver off the tee. Of the 11 par 4s on the course, only three measure in at over 450 yards. The par 3s rate as some of the toughest holes on the course, although only the 17th hole features water around the green.
The obvious caveat to all this is cold weather and wind can make conditions challenging. However, this course is all about capitalizing on opportunities (of which there will be a lot), and the player who is aggressive this week and can bury the most chances with the putter when they arise will succeed. For more detailed info, look below under winners stats and course notes.
2021 Outlook: This event is notorious for seeing pristine weather forecasts as the early fall in the Nevada desert tends to be without any major weather events. This year doesn’t seem to be much different as the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with highs in the mid-to-high 70s. The day that could be worth keeping an eye, though, is Friday, as a bit of a cool front is expected to fall in (high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and the wind is expected to pick up to 10 mph in the afternoon. Keep an eye on that day as a Friday p.m. fade could be something to consider if the wind for that wave picks up even a little as the week goes on.
Last 5 winners
2020—Martin Laird -23 (over Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook playoff)
2019—Kevin Na -23 (over Patrick Cantlay playoff)
2018—Bryson DeChambeau -21 (over Patrick Cantlay -20)
2017—Patrick Cantlay -9 (over Whee Kim playoff)
2016—Rod Pampling -20 (over Brooks Koepka -18)
– Seven of the last 10 winners of the Shriners Hospitals Open had finishes of T16 or better at this event in a year before their win.
– Seven of the last 11 winners had a T11 or better in their previous five tournaments leading up to their win.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2020 Winner: Martin Laird ($7,100 - 23-under par)
(2020 lead-in: T28-T65-MC-T65-T6)
· Winners here have generally balled out in one of two different categories: SG: PUTT or SG: APP (Na set a record for Putts gained in a single event in 2019).
· 2020, 2018 and 2016 winners (Laird, DeChambeau and Pampling) all gained over +6.5 strokes on APP.
· The course is set at a high altitude (2700ft), so drives here go longer than average TOUR stops — the course plays fairly short as a result, and several of the last 10 winners have averaged well under 300 yards off the tee for the season.
· Driving Accuracy numbers are slightly lower than the TOUR average, but greens are very easy to hit as the rough isn’t very penalizing, and there are lots of shorter approaches into greens — GIR % generally five to seven percent higher here than normal.
· Very much a second-shot course where your irons or putter have to be red hot to challenge.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Kevin Na ($9,100; best finish: win-2012, 2019): Na has an impressive history at this event. Over his last 11 appearances, he has a WD and three missed cuts to his name, but he also won back in 2012, finished second place in 2015 and won in 2019 — gaining an insane +14.2 strokes putting in the process. His course history is a bit boom or bust, but considering how well he ended last season, his upside is elite here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kevin Na (rib) has withdrawn from the Shriners Children’s Open.
2. Webb Simpson ($10,200; best finish: win-2013): Simpson also deserves to be on the list with the top horses this week. He’s made the cut at this event in eight straight starts, a streak that includes three top-five finishes and a win back in 2013. He’s coming in off a couple weeks of rest and should be ready to get his season started after going winless in 2021.
3. Lucas Glover ($7,000; best finish: T3-2016): Glover isn’t the most consistent player on TOUR, but his upside here has been solid over the past few seasons. The 2009 U.S. Open Champion and winner of the John Deere Classic last year has finished inside the top 10 here in three of the past five years (he also didn’t play last year). He gained +9.6 strokes TTG in a T9 finish here in 2019 and has recorded top-10 finishes at this event in each of his last three appearances at TPC Summerlin.
4. Matthew Wolff ($8,200; best finish: T2-2020): Wolff has taken a quick liking to TPC Summerlin. The 22-year-old finished runner-up here last season (lost in a playoff) and also finished T18 here on his debut in 2019. On top of gaining over +6.0 strokes on his approaches here in 2020, Wolff has also gained over +1.0 strokes putting at TPC Summerlin in both those starts. He’s already a solid course history target at this event.
5. Scott Piercy ($6,700; best finish: T6-2012, T7-2014): Piercy has been coming to TPC Summerlin for quite some time now. The Vegas resident has played this event nine times since 2012 and recorded six top-25 finishes in those nine appearances. He’s coming off a missed cut but is a player who could easily bounce back with a big week here.
1. Sam Burns ($10,900; win-T18): Burns is coming off his second win of the past year. He gained a mammoth +14.4 strokes ball-striking last week and hasn’t finished worse than T21 now in his last five events. He’s a young player who looks headed for stardom fast.
2. Will Zalatoris ($10,100; T14-T11): Zalatoris flashed with a course record 61 at the Sanderson Farms in round two last week but couldn’t put anything together on the weekend and fell to T14. He’s gained over +4.0 strokes ball-striking in his last two starts, though, and is playing solid golf.
3. Si Woo Kim ($9,000; T8-T10): Kim is a streaky player, and his momentum looks very positive. The South Korean has finished T11 and T8 in the first two fall events and gained +5.0 strokes on approach last week.
4. Cameron Tringale ($8,500; T11-T22): Tringale again put himself in position to grab his first PGA win, but again came up short. His Sunday fizzle shouldn’t discourage you too much, though, as he gained over +3.0 strokes with the putter and on approach last week.
5. Nick Watney ($6,600; T2-T30): Watney has come out of nowhere the last two weeks to post solid results. The former top-10 player in the world (in the 2010’s) gained an insane +11.2 strokes putting at the Sanderson Farms and feels like a huge regression candidate this week in this stronger field.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Stack around Simpson
Webb Simpson ($10,200) isn’t the highest-ranked golfer in this field but he may be the most consistent. In his last eight appearances at the Shriners, he’s yet to miss the cut and has gained over a stroke on approach here his last four visits. At just over $10K in price, he’s the most attractive core play among the big names for cash games. Scottie Scheffler ($9,700) also makes for a decent pay-up target here at just under $10K. He finished last season strong and has had good results in the desert at Phoenix and Palm Springs. From a value perspective, the prices on Talor Gooch ($7,600) and Luke List ($7,200) also look solid given their recent form. Other potential cash game targets here include the likes of Cameron Tringale ($8,500) and Roger Sloan ($6,900).
Tournaments: Get Lucky with Louis
Louis Oosthuizen ($9,900) returns to action after a month-long break. He has performed well in the desert over his career, with a couple of very solid finishes in Phoenix and over in Dubai. He finished T19 at this event last season and shot 64 in the final round of his first visit. Given his lack of play of late, you should get low ownership here on a top-20 player. Matthew Wolff ($8,200 - see below) also makes for a good target, although he may be slightly more popular after his solid finish last week. I’d also advocate sticking with players like Charley Hoffman ($8,100) and Aaron Wise ($7,900). Neither finished great last week but still look like they’re in good form. Both may see lower ownership this week and have posted solid finishes at TPC Summerlin in the past. Other potential GPP punt targets this week include the likes of Russell Knox ($6,400 - see below), Nate Lashley ($6,400) and William McGirt ($6,100).
MY PICK: Matthew Wolff ($8,200)
My pick for this year’s Shriners Open is the exact same one it was last year: Matthew Wolff. He lost in a playoff at last year’s Shriners when he was coming off a near miss at the U.S. Open in September 2020. This year, he enters under very different circumstances, as his 2021 was an abject disaster from a performance perspective. Wolff has already talked about being in a better headspace now, as opposed to this time last year, and he also recently made a change in his irons, which seemed to help his play last week. The 22-year-old finished T17 at the Sanderson Farms and had an eye-opening last couple of rounds at Country Club of Jackson, shooting 65-68 on the weekend — while gaining over a stroke on approach and off the tee there in the effort.
Wolff has had some success playing desert golf already as a pro, as well, landing a runner-up finish at this event last year, but he also put up some decent weeks at TPC Scottsdale. He’s only PGA win came at another TPC course (TPC Twin Lakes), where aggressive iron play is also needed to keep pace with the field. Another step forward with the iron play at a course like TPC Summerlin could mean some really low scores for a player who makes birdies at an exquisite rate when he’s confident. I like jumping back on the Wolff train here, as his DFS price and outright price (+4500 on the DraftKings Sportsbook) is still exceptionally good (cheap) given the upside and talent we’re betting on here.
MY SLEEPER: Russell Knox ($6,400)
Knox has been stuck in proverbial “putter hell” for the last couple of seasons. The two-time TOUR winner has had a rough run since the beginning of 2020, even missing 10 cuts in a row at one point. A lot of Knox’s woes have stemmed from his short game and putter, and the fact he comes in ranked just 108th in this field in SG: Putting over the last 50 rounds should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the PGA. Knox’s ranking was even lower a couple of months ago, and he has shown some spark with that club of late. He’s now gained +1.9 strokes putting (or more) in three of his last four starts on TOUR and had a solid week at the Sanderson Farms last week — finishing T28 while gaining +2.2 strokes on approach and +2.0 strokes putting.
Knox certainly has the right style of game for TPC Summerlin (sharp irons and a putter that can hot when he’s confident), and he’s now made the cut at TPC Summerlin in six of seven career visits — gaining +4.0 strokes or more putting here in two of those seven starts. With a great course history to rely and a game that appears on the uptick, he looks like a solid back at well under $7K in price and a great lower-tier value to target in GPPs.
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