Horses for Courses: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

I’m been gambling here abouts

For 10 good solid years

If I told you about all that went down

It would burn off both your ears

The first half of the Las Vegas double feature tees it up this week at TPC Summerlin. Exclusive host since 2008, TPC Summerlin will provide a very familiar ball park this week to the field of 144. The jackpot this week contains a 2021 Masters invitation, the winner’s share of a $7 million dollar purse ($1.26 million) and 500 FedExCup points. This is event No. 4 of 50 in the 2020-21 season.

Bobby Weed, with help from Fuzzy Zoeller, laid out his second PGATOUR design/redesign (TPC River Highlands, 1989) here in 1982. The Par-71 stretches to 7,255 yards and will play 2,700 feet above sea level. Enormous A1/A4 bentgrass greens average over 7,400 square feet will provide ample targets for recovery if tee balls find the two-inch Bermuda rough. Protected by four water hazards and 92 bunkers, errant shots won’t be rewarded.

As we saw and heard last week at the Country Club of Jackson, balls in the Bermuda rough aren’t as easy to control into the greens. With the last two winning totals in the 20-something department, scrambling for pars is a must. Scores in the 70s need not apply. The perfect greens will run 11.5 feet on the Stimpmeter so I would expect most to get to the hole, knowing there’s not much danger in them running out. This is the first event on bentgrass since Safeway for most.

Breezy conditions might leave a few behind but with light rough and large, receptive greens, I’d expect a few slumps to be busted this week knowing that birdies or better are required. As shown below, there are many ways to attack and conquer here, which makes our jobs this week even more difficult. Good luck!

Past Winners

2020: Kevin Na (-23, 262)
2011 champ becomes only second multiple winner (Furyk). … Defeated Patrick Cantlay on second playoff hole. … TOUR record 558 feet of putts holed (ShotLink era). … Gained 14.263 strokes on the greens, another TOUR record. …  54-hole event record (22-under). … Posted the low round of the week 61 and one of the three rounds of 62. … Second in Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage. … Circled 26 birdies and two eagles. … Won with a triple on the back nine on Sunday (Hole No. 10). … Second win in 19 weeks.

Notables: Cantlay posted 64-63 to play in the final group. … Pat Perez (3rd) posted one of the three rounds of 62. … 2019 champ Bryson DeChambeau stormed home in 63 for 20-under and T4 to match Canadian Adam Hadwin. … Co-36-hole leader Brian Stuard (T4) was the final pro on 20-under. … Brian Gay returns after T7 last year and so does 2014 champ Webb Simpson. … Tony Finau posted 62 on Saturday and cashed T9 along with Denny McCarthy and Joel Dahmen. … First round leader Nick Taylor (63) cashed T29. Needed 5-under to play the weekend. … Top 60 players of 76 who made the cut were 10-under or better. … Second playoff in three years.

2019: Bryson DeChambeau (-21, 263)
Made eagle in the final round on No. 16 to defeat Patrick Cantlay by a shot. … Played in final group and shot 66. … Led the field in Strokes-Gained: Tee to Green, Bogey Avoidance (3) and Par-4 scoring. … Top five fairways (4th) and GIR (T4). …  Only winner in last five to be in the top 10 in Proximity (10th). … T7 2018. … Won two FedExCup Playoff events just weeks before.

Notables: Played first weekend of November. … Cantlay (2nd) closed 63-65 to come up one short in his defense. … Sam Ryder (3rd) posted 62 (Round 4) and was only bettered by 61 from Lucas Glover (not entered). … Rickie Fowler shared T4 with Abraham Ancer four shots adrift. … Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer rounded out the top 10 on T7. … Top 40 were 10-under or better. … Needed 4-under to play the weekend. … Gusty winds Friday and Saturday.

2017: Patrick Cantlay (-9, 275)
Won three-man playoff on second extra hole. … First TOUR win. … First time at Shriners. … Four back after 54 holes. … Highest winning score in history by SEVEN shots. … Led the field in Strokes-Gained: Off the Tee plus T1 Par-5 scoring and birdies (20). … Top 20 machine before his first win. … Massive winds all week ranging between 20 and 30 miles per hour.

Notables: The other two members of the playoff (Alex Cejka, Whee Kim) are not entered this week. … Patton Kizzire, Chesson Hadley and JT Poston all shared fourth and missed the playoff by a shot. … DeChambeau (T7) opened and closed with 67. … Tom Hoge (T7) was one of the few to play both weekend rounds in the 60s. … Co-54-hole leader Beau Hossler shot 73 and cashed T7. … William McGirt rounded out the top 10 on 6-under. … Cut was 1-over. … 46 players under-par in tough conditions.

Key stat leaders

(* – top 10 last five years);

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. Players in BOLD below deserve deeper inspection.

Strokes-Gained: Approach the Green
 2  Collin Morikawa
 3  *Russell Henley (10th, 2016)
 5  Hideki Matsuyama (T10, 2015)
 6  *Webb Simpson
 8  *Cameron Tringale (T2, 2016)
 9  Paul Casey
11 Doc Redman
13 Emiliano Grillo
15 *Joaquin Niemann (T10, 2019)
16 Brendan Steele
18 *Patrick Cantlay
21 *Tony Finau
23 Matthew NeSmith
24 Jason Dufner
25 *Harris English (4th, 2017)

Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage
 2  *Webb Simpson
 4  *Bryson DeChambeau
11 Kristoffer Ventura
13 Scottie Scheffler
14 *Denny McCarthy
15 Charley Hoffman (UNLV)
17 Wyndham Clark (resident)
19 *Chesson Hadley
21 Danny Lee
22 *Patrick Cantlay
25 *Rickie Fowler

 4  *Kevin Na
 5  *Russell Henley
 6  *Harris English
 7  Adam Schenk
 9  Brian Harman
10 *Abraham Ancer
12 *Webb Simpson
14 *Cameron Tringale
17 *Bryson DeChambeau
19 Hideki Matsuyama
22 Russell Knox (3rd, 2015)
23 Lanto Griffin
26 Brandt Snedeker (T10, 2015)


Patrick Cantlay: All-time money leader has cashed P2, second and WIN in three starts. Posted 43-under the last two years and didn’t win! 66.67 scoring average.

Kevin Na: Las Vegas resident is the only multiple champion in the field. T2 2016 is his other top 10 from 13 starts.

Webb Simpson: 2014 champ has turned eight weekends into four top 10 paychecks and six top 25s. Of his 34 rounds, 29 have been in the red.

Bryson DeChambeau: 57-under in four trips with three top 10s. 67.44 scoring average.

Old Downtown

Scott Piercy: Residents know where the best action is! In 14 starts he’s returned four top 10s and seven top 25s. Worst finish since 2009 is T32 when making the cut. Missed last year on 3-under.

Pat Perez: Before last year he cashed T7 in 2017. T3 in 2020 gives him four top 25s from seven starts since TPC Summerlin became the exclusive host in 2008.

Charley Hoffman: Only half of his 14 attempts have made the weekend but does have a pair of top 10s at TPC Summerlin. Oh, and he’s on a heater the last two weeks.

Strip Stakes

Chesson Hadley:
 T5 on debut hooked him in 2014 and he’s rattled off T18, T7 and T4 the last three years. He’s 41-under his last 11 rounds.

Adam Hadwin: Four trips have cashed T10 in 2015 and T4 last year. Likes a bit of desert golf as he contends annually in Palm Springs.

Rickie Fowler: Perfect from four visits stretched over a decade. 67.50 scoring average produced all four paychecks T24 or better including two in the top seven.

Tony Finau: Never missed in six tries. T9 last year. 68.29 scoring average.

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