Shriners Hospital For Children Open Preview7 min read
The new PGA Tour season moves on to Las Vegas and world number one Brooks Koepka returns to competition at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
TPC Summerlin is a generous course with the 7,255-yard par 71 offering up plenty of birdies. Low-scoring will be required to contend here, in ideal conditions, so hitting plenty of greens in regulation and a warm putter is likely to be necessary to win on Sunday.
Koepka is the 17/2 favourite but the American often appears switched off in regulation PGA Tour events and could also be rusty after his break since the Tour Championship.
Cantlay can hit the jackpot in Vegas
Patrick Cantlay rates the best bet from the top of the market and the world class American can win in Vegas for the second time. Cantlay has only played twice here but has already compiled an extraordinary record. His maiden PGA Tour title came at the tournament, two years ago, as he handled tough conditions to win a play-off. Returning for his title defence, Cantlay shot 20-under-par for second place behind Bryson DeChambeau.
Cantlay, who is rapidly rising up the world rankings to seventh, comes in off the best season in his burgeoning career. The 27-year-old had no fewer than nine top tens which included a victory at the Memorial in June. He was also second at the BMW Championship in August and a return to peak form cannot be far away. With an outstanding course record, Cantlay should feature heavily again and is a confident selection at 12/1.
Collin Morikawa has made a big impact during his short time on the PGA Tour and the Californian can go close to a second win in quick succession this week. Morikawa got off the mark with his first victory at the Barracuda Championship in July. This success is significant because, like this week, it is also played in Nevada at altitude which suggests he will flourish on his first start at TPC Summerlin.
Morikawa’s win was coming after posting top-five finishes at the 3M Open and John Deere Classic on low-scoring tracks. The 22-year-old made an encouraging start to the new season last week with a tie for tenth at the Safeway Open and should take this form into Vegas. Morikawa’s strength is his tee-to-green game and the American can set up enough birdie opportunities to contend at 25/1 each way.
Wolff can mount title challenge
Matthew Wolff announced himself to the world with his breakthrough win last season and the Californian could be celebrating another title this weekend. The precocious 20-year-old started his career with a big reputation and justified this status by winning the 3M Open in just his third PGA Tour start.
Wolff shot 21-under-par for his victory and the power-packed American has all the ammunition to produce more low-scoring in Vegas. He followed up his win in July by making the cut in his final four events but confident Wolff will be intent on competing for more silverware quickly. The Californian is one of the most talented young players on the PGA Tour and can be expected to start the season strongly. Wolff merits support at 50/1 each way to challenge for the title.
Aaron Wise has plenty of local knowledge which could help fire him to victory this week. Wise is now based in Vegas and has had plenty of practice rounds at TPC Summerlin, alongside three tournament appearances. His course debut resulted in a hugely promising tie for tenth as a novice in 2016, before finishing 32nd 12 months later and 15th last year.
Wise burst onto the scene with his win at the AT&T Byron Nelson last year, shooting 23-under-par in a performance which helped him land the rookie of the year award. The 2019 season was a disappointment for the 23-year-old but he still made the cut at all four majors and there is huge scope for improvement. He will be fiercely determined to start contending again and the success of the likes of Morikawa and Wolff will have only increased his hunger for success. This represents a strong chance at a course he knows extremely well and Wise can threaten the places at 66/1 each way.
There have been plenty of surprise winners at the Shriners Open and Patton Kizzire is worth backing to be the latest champion at a huge price. Kizzire has performed impressively at TPC Summerlin and could make a mockery of the odds. He tied for second in 2015 at the start of his PGA Tour career and in his third tournament start in 2017 finished fourth.
Kizzire has won twice on the PGA Tour, with low-scoring wins at the Mayakoba Classic and the Sony Open. The 33-year-old struggled for form this year although he did finish 13th at the Wyndham Championship in August. Three missed cuts at the start of the new season have seen him plummet down the betting but Kizzire has positive memories of TPC Summerlin and is capable of threatening an upset at 200/1 each way.
Patrick Cantlay Each Way
Collin Morikawa Each Way
Matthew Wolff Each Way
Aaron Wise Each Way
Patton Kizzire Each Way