This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
SHRINERS CHILDREN'S OPEN
Winner's Share: $1.44M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Las Vegas
Course: TPC Summerlin
2021 champion: Sungjae Im
Last year, the Shriners was field was loaded -- not just loaded for a fall-season event, it was flat-out loaded. This year's field is not nearly as strong, but the Las Vegas tour stop continues to show that it is one of the jewels among the nine fall tournaments.
Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, defending champion Sungjae Im and burgeoning star Tom Kim lead nine Presidents Cuppers into the 144-man field, along with Cam Davis, Mito Pereira (yes, he's still here -- for now!), Si Woo Kim, K.H. Lee and Christiaan Bezuidenhout. There's also Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Davis Riley, Aaron Wise, Brian Harman and Keith Mitchell. So you see it's a pretty stout group the week before the PGA Tour heads to Asia for the annual ZoZo Championship, which could draw an even more star-laden field.
The Las Vegas Tour stop, around since 1983, used to be a very big deal, with the first $1 million purse in golf. In the 1980s and 1990s, the list of champions was impressive: Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Paul Azinger, Fuzzy Zoeller, Davis Love III, Curtis Strange and three-time champion Jim Furyk. Even NBC's Gary Koch won it, beating TV colleague Peter Jacobsen in a playoff in 1988. Then the tournament got as dry as the desert: Champions included Rod Pampling, Smylie Kaufman, Ben Martin, Marc Turnesa and George McNeill. But it has found its way back, with Cantlay winning in 2017, Bryson DeChambeau in 2018, Kevin Na in 2019 and Im last year. (Martin Laird won in 2020 for his second Shriners title.).
This annually has been one of the biggest birdie-fests on Tour – maybe the biggest when you consider that the winning score usually is well north of 20-under but with only three par-5s. Last year, Im won at 24-under with rounds of 65, 63 and a closing 62. Two years ago, three guys shot 23-under before Laird won in a playoff. In 2019, Na's putter was unconscious, winning with a 23-under score that featured not only a second-round 9-under 62 but a third-round 61. The track is at altitude (2,000 feet) and plays shorter than the 7,255 yards listed on the scorecard. Really, everybody can hit it far this week. Summerlin annually totals among the most birdies on Tour -- but does so with only those three par-5s and without the max 156-man field, making that feat even harder. Last season, the 1,905 birdies ranked third on Tour, behind only Keene Trace for the Barbasol and TPC Craig Ranch for the Byron Nelson. Summerlin was ranked ninth easiest among the 50 courses on Tour last year.
All this adds up to: Giddyap! And find aggressive, birdie-making players for your lineups.
The only recent scoring aberration was five years ago when Cantlay won it at ... 9-under. What? What the heck happened? Well, the wind happened. It was howling most of the week. After the second round, Aaron Baddeley said it was "like a two- or three-club wind." Things returned to normal the next year when DeChambeau won at 21-under, besting Cantlay, who also was runner-up yet again to Na the following year.
There's plenty of opportunity for drama and wild swings late on Sunday. No. 15 is a drivable 341 yards that plays among the easiest holes on the course. No. 16 is a 560-yarder that's reachable by most of the field. The 17th is a dicey par-3 of nearly 200 yards guarded by water, and the par-4 18th is 444 uphill and with more water. The last two holes both tend to play over par -- the only holes on the back-nine that did so last year -- so the course does stiffen when it counts most. Water comes into play on four holes. The bentgrass greens are large, averaging about 7,400 square feet with the Stimpmeter running at 11.5. There are 92 bunkers.
Weather-wise, it should be a scorcher all week with high temperatures into the 90s. There's zero chance of rain and winds are forecast to be light.
Fun Shriners Fact I: Tiger Woods earned his first PGA Tour victory in this event in 1996, then called the Las Vegas International. He shot 27-under-par over 90 holes and still needed a playoff to defeat a still-young-at-the-time Davis Love III. Woods won a second tournament two weeks later and, legend has it, went on to a successful career.
Fun Shriners Fact II: The only PGA Tour playoff to end with a hole-in-one took place at Summerlin in 2010, when Jonathan Byrd aced the fourth extra hole to stun Laird and Cameron Percy. Of course, playoffs have been won with eagles from the fairway, famously Robert Gamez at Bay Hill in 1990 and Craig Parry at Doral in 2004, but never via an ace until 2010.
Key Stats to Winning at TPC Summerlin
The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.
• Strokes Gained: Approach/Greens in Regulation/Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee/Driving Distance
• Birdie Average/Birdie or Better Percentage
It is bombs away at TPC Summerlin. You don't necessarily have to be a long hitter to win this week -- well, let's rephrase that: Just about everyone is long in the Vegas desert. Medium-length Im averaged 316 last year. That wasn't even inside the top-25 in driving distance. Im's precision game was on full display. He led the field in greens in regulation and SG: Tee-to-Green, while sixth in Approach and ninth in Putting. He won handily by four strokes thanks to a final-round 62. Five of the top-6 guys on the leaderboard ranked in the top-10 in putting. The year before, Laird, who averaged 295 yards off the tee during the 2020-21 season to rank 104th on Tour, averaged 323 here en route to his playoff win over Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook. More than 60 guys averaged at least 300 on their drives, and DeChambeau came in at a surreal 363. It's not especially important to keep your drives in the fairway, because there's little penalty for missing. So as we now see in this birdie-fest, the tournament will be won from the fairway on in. We already noted Im's laser-like accuracy. Laird ranked fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach, while Wolff was sixth and Cook eighth, and all three were top-5 in SG: Tee-to-Green. They putted decently -- you have to to hit 23-under -- but many others did better. There are always some super-low scores. Sung Kang shot 61 last year while Im and Aaron Wise carded 62s. Two years ago, Wolff had a 61 and DeChambeau, Adam Hadwin and Peter Malnati shot 62s. Three years ago, Na followed a 62 with a 61 while Pat Perez and Tony Finau also shot 62s. J.J. Henry shot a 60 in 2013, and that was matched by Pampling three years later. So you're gonna have to make a boat-load of putts to win this track meet. The over/under on the winning score on golfodds.com is 261.5 -- 22.5 under par.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Patrick Cantlay - $11,100 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: +600)
There are aren't many guys in Tier 1 this week, so apologies for not whittling it down more than we did. Cantlay likely will be highly owned, but then again most of the top guys will be since there are so few of them. He won this tournament in 2017, was runner-up the next two years, then eighth in 2020. He skipped it last year. Cantlay was fifth on Tour in birdie average last year, so this all makes perfect sense. We wouldn't touch him at the very short 6-1 odds in the betting market, but he's more of an option in DFS.
Sungjae Im - $10,400 (+900)
Im is the defending champion coming off a fantastic tournament a year ago in which he shot a 65, a 63 and then a closing 62 to win in a landslide. He played this tournament two other times with top-15s both years. He ranked 35th last season in birdie average. While we would've expected that number to be lower, it won't dissuade us from this pick.
Aaron Wise - $9,900 (+1800)
This will be Wise's 2022-23 debut, so he is well rested for sure. He's a birdie machine well-suited for this course -- especially since his putting is improving. He ranked 81st on Tour last season in Strokes Gained: Putting. Combined with the rest of his game -- 21st in both greens in regulation and birdie average last season -- this is a strong buy, especially at under $10,000. Wise has two top-10s at the Shriners, including eighth last year, when he carded a 62.
Tom Kim - $9,700 (+2200)
There is so much we still have to learn about Kim. But one thing we do know is he can go super low. He shot 20-under in winning the Wyndham with a final-round 61. He didn't play enough rounds last season for his stats to qualify for the rankings, but he would've been top-15 in birdie average.
Tier 2 Values
Taylor Montgomery - $9,500 (+3500)
Yes, more and more people are jumping on the Montgomery caravan after top-10s in both tournaments so far this season. We were one of the first ones on board, and we're not ready to give up our seat. https://www.rotowire.com/golf/article/2022-23-golf-draft-kit-sleepers-busts-65635. Montgomery's putting has been lights-out in the early going this season, surely an aid in getting north of 20-under this week. We will caution, though: He will likely be highly owned, he can't keep getting top-10s every week (can he?) and he's a Las Vegas guy through and through. He's a native who went to UNLV. Sometimes, that puts pressure on a guy to perform. We shall see.
Cam Davis - $9,200 (+4000)
Tier 2 is the tier where we turn to International President Cuppers brimming with confidence. Davis is a very aggressive player who piles up a lot of birdies. He ranked 34th on Tour in birdie average last season despite being pretty inaccurate with his irons and ranking 134th in greens in regulation. He also ranked ninth in eagles per hole. This will be Davis' fourth go-round at the Shriners. He's made every cut, including two near-top-25s. This could be the year for him to take a big jump forward.
Si Woo Kim - $8,600 (+5500)
The last two Shriners tournaments sum up Kim in a nutshell: T8 in 2020, missed cut in 2021. The upside is always significant because the talent is so evident. But he also has a lower floor than many golfers in his general range. Kim is coming off a spectacular week at the Presidents Cup in which he beat Justin Thomas in the Sunday singles. If that isn't a confidence boost, what is?
Dean Burmester - $8,500 (+6500)
Burmester is coming off a great debut as a PGA Tour member, finishing fourth last week at the Sanderson Farms. The South African played his way on to the Tour via the Korn Ferry playoffs, in which he had two top-5s in three events. And before that, he posted results of 10th and 11th at the Scottish Open and Open Championship, respectively. So Burmester clearly is on a roll and is up to a career-best 58th in the world, one of the highest rankings in this field.
Tier 3 Values
Thomas Detry - $7,900 (+6000)
The Belgian played his way onto the PGA tour via the KF playoffs, which included a top-5 at the Boise tournament. Detry then had another top-5 at the BMW PGA Championship -- the DP World Tour's flagship event -- and began his Tour membership with a T12 at the Fortinet and a T9 at the Sanderson Farms. With all that, we were a little surprised to not see him in the $8000s.
Adam Hadwin - $7,700 (+5000)
We saw last week how two golfers snubbed for the Presidents Cup -- Mackenzie Hughes and Ryan Fox -- won tournaments on the PGA and DP World Tours. It's a powerful motivation. Canada's Hadwin has played great at the Shriners without that extra push, finishing sixth last year and fourth three years ago, with another top-10 a number of years back. He carded a 62 here in 2020.
K.H. Lee - $7,700 (+6500)
Continuing our theme of President Cuppers who lost but still gained confidence, we turn to Lee, who is no stranger to going low. He shot 26-under to win the Byron Nelson for the second straight time earlier this year. TPC Craig Ranch is one of only two courses on the PGA Tour that yielded more birdies than TPC Summerlin last season. Lee had a very good playoffs, with a T20 and T5 in the first two events to reach the Tour Championship. He was 14th at last year's Shriners.
Martin Laird - 7,200 (+11000)
We're gonna try to not overthink this one: Laird is a two-time Shriners winner, including two years ago. He finished 11th here last year. He likes the place. He does well here. Enough said.
Beau Hossler - $6,900 (+13000)
Hossler has played this tournament four times and made every cut, with a best of seventh in 2017. When you're a great putter -- and Hossler is, having ranked fifth on Tour last season in Strokes Gained: Putting -- you've got an edge coming into the week. Hossler began his season with a top-25 at the Fortinet.
Chesson Hadley - $6,900 (+13000)
Hadley is a little like Hossler in that he's often a great putter and uses it to his advantage at TPC Summerlin. He's made the cut six of the past eight years with four top-10s and finished 27th last year. Hadley went a long stretch last season where he couldn't so much as sniff the weekend. But he rebounded with top-10s at the Travelers, 3M and Wyndham. He ranked 13th on Tour last season in SG: Putting.
Harry Hall - $6,600 (+20000)
Hall is an Englishman who played his way onto the Tour via the Korn Ferry playoffs. He was one of the best putters on the KF Tour last season. He's also ranked first on the PGA Tour in SG: Putting in the early going this season. He also attended UNLV meaning he's probably played Summerlin many times. He played it at least four times last year, when he tied for eighth in this tournament.
Brandon Matthews - $6,300 (+30000)
It's hard to imagine just how far Matthews can drive the ball this week. He's already leading the Tour at 327 yards off the tee and now gets 2,000 feet of altitude to help his ball fly we don't know how far. For someone with such length, Matthews isn't blatantly inaccurate in finding fairways, and through two tournaments he's ranked 19th in greens in regulation. He was a respectable 68th in GiR on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and also 54th in putting. Matthews finished T39 last week.