Christiaan Bezuidenhout outright pick at +5000 with Caesars Sportsbook
Tom Hoge top 10 at +450 and win at +5000 with DraftKings
Emiliano Grillo to beat Taylor Montgomery at +110 with BetMGM
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It’s the third event of the new season and the sponsors can boast what is comfortably the best field so far.
World No. 4 Patrick Cantlay heads the entries and he is joined by his Presidents Cup team-mate Max Homa plus eight of the defeated International team.
In all, 12 of the world’s top 50 tee it up in Las Vegas at an event which has a history stretching back to 1983 and which featured, 26 years ago, Tiger Woods’ first professional win.
TPC Summerlin has something of an unusual set-up in having Bermuda grass from tee to green with bent grass to put on.
Perhaps that explains the thoughts of Jordan Spieth who says: “It’s more of a second shot golf course. Statistically, it is one of the most difficult, maybe top five most difficult, places around the greens to chip from.”
It’s a par-71 set at around 7,255 yards originally designed by Bobby Weed.
The last four winners there had superb course records. Patrick Cantlay won on debut but has proved himself a specialist since.
Before that a trio of rank outsiders (Ben Martin, Smylie Kaufman and Rod Pampling) lifted the trophy.
There’s absolutely no mystery behind the favouritism of Patrick Cantlay.
His course record is sensational taking in victory on debut in 2017, second on defence in 2018, play-off defeat in 2019 and he was the 54-hole leader ahead of finishing eighth in 2020.
His form is strong, too, with 10 finishes of 16th or better in his last 12 starts including two victories, the most recent of them in August at the BMW Championship. He’s the man to beat.
The defending champion Sungjae Im had finished 15th and 13th in the tournament ahead of his blistering success 12 months ago when a Sunday 62 turned a three-shot deficit into a four-shot triumph.
The win was built on a superb all-round game that saw him rank first for Strokes Gained Tee to Green and ninth for SG Putting.
He was the second low-scorer last time out in the Tour Championship, a third-second place finish in his last five starts.
The next pair in the odds make for something of a contrast.
Californian Max Homa has terrible course form (four missed cuts in five starts and a best of only 30th) but he was a winner last time out and superb in the Presidents Cup.
Meanwhile Aaron Wise has three top 15s in his last four starts this year and also three top 15s in six starts at the tournament.
Remember the words of Jordan Spieth and the importance this week of a fine short game.
Because few in the game are as good on and around the greens as the South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
Last year he ranked fourth for saving par when he missed a green in regulation and he was sixth for Strokes Gained Putting.
He’s making his debut on the course this week but he’s been in decent form missing just two cuts in 21 starts for the year.
His best finish was when landing second in the John Deere Classic, he also finished a very fine 12th in the BMW Championship, and he opened the new season with 39th last week at Jackson (when third after 18 holes).
Take him each way in the outright at +5000 with Caesars Sportsbook, a good price and paying out eight places.
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Last season saw Tom Hoge breakthrough into the winner’s circle and it would be no surprise if he backed that up with further success in 2022/23.
He’s got a solid record at TPC Summerlin, making the weekend five times in six visits and in recent times his returns have been promising.
He contended all weekend when seventh in 2017, recovered from a very slow start to record 24th in 2020, and was 14th last year when opening and closing with 66s.
He rebounded from six missed cuts on the bounce in high summer to finish fourth at the 3M Open, backed that up by being the fifth low-scorer in the Tour Championship, and he started the new campaign with 12th last week.
Taylor Montgomery is the new Will Zalatoris.
Which is to say that the 27-year-old was a top 10 machine on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour in the summer and has transferred that ability into his rookie campaign on the main tour, with a pair of them to kick things off – a similar tale to Zalatoris two years ago.
I am, however, going to suggest taking him on this week with another consistent sort.
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo has finished 31st or better in six of his last seven starts and in that run, he has a pair of seconds, 19th in the high-grade BMW Championship and fifth last week.
That’s a high-quality form and a repeat will require Montgomery to maintain his very high standards.
Take Grillo because he’s been priced the outsider at +110 with BetMGM.
|Tournament||The Shriners Children’s Open|
|Location||TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Time||Thursday, October 6 – Sunday, October 9|
|How to watch||Golf Channel: Thursday-Sunday, 5-8 p.m. ET. Saturday, Sunday, 4-7 p.m. ET. And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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