Weekly Preview: Shriners Children's Open

Weekly Preview: Shriners Children's Open

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

Shriners Children's Open

TPC Summerlin
Las Vegas, NV

The PGA Tour heads to Vegas and we get our first glimpse of some high-end talent this season.

I should take that back – after all, Sam Burns played this past week and picked up his second PGA Tour win, and he might be in the "high-end" category already. His rise up the ranks has been swift and maybe a little unexpected, but any questions about where he was headed have been answered. He appears to be the real deal and will be in action again this week. Wouldn't it be something to see him pull off another win?

Burns won't have things as easy as he did in Mississippi, as this week's tournament features a much stronger field than anything we've seen previously this fall. Stars like Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler are in the mix. We aren't getting the bulk of the elite players just yet, but that will come soon. In fact, while we've been taking baby steps in the field department, we will likely see a big jump next week, with just about everyone likely to take part in the CJ Cup. It might be difficult to peg the form of some golfers at this point, as it will be the first appearance this season for many. However, we do have plenty of course history in play, so there won't be any issues in that regard.

LAST YEAR

Martin Laird shot a final-round 69 on

Shriners Children's Open

TPC Summerlin
Las Vegas, NV

The PGA Tour heads to Vegas and we get our first glimpse of some high-end talent this season.

I should take that back – after all, Sam Burns played this past week and picked up his second PGA Tour win, and he might be in the "high-end" category already. His rise up the ranks has been swift and maybe a little unexpected, but any questions about where he was headed have been answered. He appears to be the real deal and will be in action again this week. Wouldn't it be something to see him pull off another win?

Burns won't have things as easy as he did in Mississippi, as this week's tournament features a much stronger field than anything we've seen previously this fall. Stars like Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler are in the mix. We aren't getting the bulk of the elite players just yet, but that will come soon. In fact, while we've been taking baby steps in the field department, we will likely see a big jump next week, with just about everyone likely to take part in the CJ Cup. It might be difficult to peg the form of some golfers at this point, as it will be the first appearance this season for many. However, we do have plenty of course history in play, so there won't be any issues in that regard.

LAST YEAR

Martin Laird shot a final-round 69 on his way to a playoff victory over Matthew Wolff.

FAVORITES

Brooks Koepka (20-1)

It's pretty rare that the favorite checks in as high as 20-1, as there are usually at least a couple golfers lower than that. However, this is a strange week in that the biggest name, Koepka, is not known for playing well outside of majors, and though there are other big names in the field, there aren't any truly "elite" players, which kind of makes Koepka the favorite by default. Koepka's track record here is all over the place, with three missed cuts and two top-5s in five starts. I wouldn't consider him a strong favorite at the top.

Viktor Hovland (20-1)

In just a couple years Hovland has gone from amateur champ to one of two anchors on the European Ryder Cup team. There's no question that Hovland has the skills to become elite, it's just a matter of winning tournaments now. He's never had an issue playing well and gobbling up big checks but turning those strong efforts into win is the task now and he should be up to it. This will be Hovland's first start here, but that hasn't been a deterrent for him over the past couple years as most of the courses he's played in the past 24 months have been new to him at some point.

Sam Burns (25-1)

There is a big group of players at this number, but for obvious reasons, I'm going to list the guy who won this past week. Just 12 months ago, Burns was one of a group of young players ready to break through. 12 months later and he has two wins, two runner-ups and over $5 million in earnings. Not a bad year. It's all come rather quickly however, so to ask Burns to take the next step of winning a major might be too much, but winning another regular tour stop? That's not out of the question.                                                                  

THE NEXT TIER

Harris English (30-1)

English has had quite a run over the past couple seasons. That run came after a long slump that had many wondering if what we saw early in his career was a real or a mirage. English has put those questions to rest however as he's firmly entrenched as one of the better players on the PGA Tour, which makes me wonder why his odds are so high this week. His track record here isn't great, but it's not terrible either, he posted a T4 here in 2016. Perhaps it's just the lack of cache that his name currently holds?

Corey Conners (35-1)

I'm going back to the well on Conners as I think he's got something in store for us this year. He finished T17 this past week at the Sanderson Farms, which was actually a bit of a letdown, but it shows that his game is close right now. If not for a lackluster final round, he could have a top-5 under his belt already. Conners' track record here is not great, but he hasn't played here since 2018 and he's obviously a much better golfer now than he was three years ago.

Matthew Wolff (50-1)

Wolff is the kind of guy that you put a dollar or two down every week because his odds are generally long, but you never know when he's going to get hot. This week however there are at least some things working in his favor that led me to believe he might be ready to go on a little run. First, he played well this past week at the Sanderson Farms, posting a Saturday 65 on his way to a T17. Not great, but it's something. Second, he finished runner-up here last year and T18 the year prior, so he obviously likes this track.

LONG SHOTS

Erik van Rooyen (50-1)

I know, he has the same odds as Wolff, but he's in a different category. Sometimes the preset boundaries of this column don't jive with the odds for a given event and the lines get a little blurred, so you can consider both guys either middle-tier or long shots, either way, they are both interesting plays this week. This particular play is based on the way van Rooyen finished this past season. Sure, that was over a month ago, but there's no denying van Rooyen has talent. The question has always been if he could put it all together. He started doing that at the end of this past season, let's see if he can continue to progress this year.

Mito Pereira (60-1)

There's one guy each year that is supposed to be "the next big thing" and this year it looks like that burden falls on Pereira's shoulders. Pereira is not a young rookie, he's already 26, but perhaps that will help him as he deals with the expectations that come with a "battlefield promotion" that he earned from winning three times on the Korn Ferry Tour this past season. Pereira wasted no time after joining the PGA Tour either as he posted two top-10s in his first four starts as a PGA Tour member. He already has a solo-3rd this season and it seems inevitable that he's going to have a lot of success on tour. Can he find a win this early in his career?

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Sam Burns - Burns not only won this past week at the Sanderson Farms, but he won as the favorite. Don't underestimate how hard that is for someone that just started winning on the PGA Tour within the past year. Winning in consecutive weeks would propel Burns to yet another level and while I'm not sure he's ready for that, I do think he'll play well this week.

Moderately-owned Pick: Matthew Wolff - I can't imagine there are many OAD players that want to use Koepka in the non-major, let alone during the fall and Hovland has too much value next year to use in this spot, so Wolff might end up being a popular pick this week. It's hard to know when he's going to go on a run, but as mentioned earlier, there are some signs that something is brewing this week.

Lightly-owned Pick: Erik van Rooyen - While I'm expecting OAD players to avoid the high-end picks this week, I'm also expecting them to avoid the big sleepers as well. This means that van Rooyen should sneak under the radar this week, especially with the likes of Pereira picking up steam. van Rooyen was in good form when we last saw him, but that was a while ago, so there's no telling if that will carry over. Hopefully it will.

Buyer Beware: Brooks Koepka - There are a lot of things working against Koepka this week. Let's start with his general lack of enthusiasm to play in any event that's not a major. There's also a lack of star power in the field, so it's hard to imagine there's anyone he's gunning for this week. Finally, he's coming off a pretty exhausting week at the Ryder Cup and I can't imagine he has much in the tank right now.

Last Week: Sebastian Munoz - MC - $0

Season Total: $0

This Week: Mito Pereira - I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'm trying to save my firepower for the 2022 portion of the season, but we're two events in and I have no money to speak of so I'm getting a little antsy. With that said, I'm going to try and stick to the plan. Pereira is not someone I had pegged for 2022, so he's fair game. I've also seen this scenario play out before where the new "it" guy plays well out of the gate and fizzles later in the season. I'm not saying that will be the case with Pereira, but I do know that he's playing well right now, so I might as well use him here.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Harris English $10,900
Middle Range: Matthew Wolff $9,900
Lower Range: Ryan Moore $8,400

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Peter Malnati - T51

Streak: 2

This Week: Ryan Moore - I haven't even made a cut in my OAD leagues thus far, but I'm off to a nice 2-for-2 start in this format. Going for three in a row, I'll go with Moore because he has made the cut 12 times in 14 appearances at this event, and the tournament means something to him because he went to school in Las Vegas and lives there now. Motivation is often a key factor in the fall events, and identifying the guys that want to be there is half the battle.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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