This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
Shriners Children's Open Betting Preview
This week the PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas for the annual Shriners Children's Open at TPC Summerlin. 2017 champion and two-time runner-up Patrick Cantlay, who is the favorite at 6-1 odds, headlines a field that consists of four top-25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. Last year, Sungjae Im, at 33-1, fired a bogey-free 62 in the final round en route to a four-stroke victory over Matthew Wolff.
TPC Summerlin is the long-time host of this event and plays as a par-71 with four par-3s and three par-5s. It runs approximately 7,250 yards but plays shorter due to the elevation and tends to set up more as a second shot golf course. We've seen an interesting mix of winners here over the years, including long shots Smylie Kaufman (2015) and Rod Pampling (2016). Kevin Na hoisted the trophy in 2019 despite losing strokes from tee-to-green.
Driving play tends to not be a huge factor here with only a pair of par-4s playing over 450 yards. Golfers will see a lot of approach shots in the 100-150 yard range.
Mainly, I'm looking at strong iron players and birdie-makers, with the winning score reaching at least 20-under-par each of the last four years.
The following golfers, with a minimum of eight rounds played, have the lowest scoring average at TPC Summerlin since 2017.
Defending champion Im comes in as the second choice on the board at 9-1, as he comes into the event in excellent form with three runner-up finishes in his last five starts to go along with three top-15 finishes in each of his appearances at the Shriners. He's dominated TPC Summerlin with his ball striking, gaining a whopping 1.97 strokes per round off the tee and on approach combined over 12 career rounds. Another player with success here, albeit much farther down the board is Hadley, who has made four of his last five cuts in this event, including a pair of top-10s during that stretch. At 130-1 he'd be a long-shot winner, but he is certainly someone to consider as a low-cost option in daily fantasy sports.
Dialed in on Approach
These five players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds:
Kim took the Presidents Cup by storm and has been as hot as any golfer on Tour since emerging onto the scene this summer. The 20-year-old won his first PGA Tour event at the Wyndham Championship and is already up to 21st in the world. While this will be his first trip here, it should be a reasonable course fit considering iron play is his strength. Also in good form with his irons is Reavie, who is certainly someone to consider at a place where being long off the tee isn't a requirement for success. While he's not as consistent as he once was, he still managed three top-10s this year, including a win at the alternate-event Barracuda Championship.
Shriners Children's Open Bets: Outright Picks
Cam Davis (40-1)
Davis went through a bit of a lull after winning for the first time last year but has found his form again, posting five top-15 finishes in his last 10 starts. He's made the cut in all three of his starts here and gained 1.46 shots with his ball-striking at the event last year.
Taylor Pendrith (50-1)
One would think it's just a matter of time before Pendrith breaks through with a victory, as he had his first runner-up finish this summer and should have plenty of confidence after making the Presidents Cup. He's quickly becoming one of the better drivers on Tour, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee last season.
Taylor Moore (65-1)
Moore has been in really good form after an inconsistent start to his rookie season, posting a pair of top-10s since the end of July and making 10 cuts in a row. He doesn't have any apparent weakness in his game, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him win at some point during his sophomore campaign.
Shriners Children's Open Bets: Top-10 Wagers
J.T. Poston (6-1)
Poston missed the cut on the number last year but lost 2.7 strokes putting. However, he does have a top-5 finish in the event. I'm surprised his odds are this reasonable considering the field drops off pretty quickly. Poston is coming off his best season, one in which he qualified for the TOUR Championship for the first time.
Troy Merritt (9-1)
Merritt has made five of his last six cuts at the event and is gaining 0.79 strokes on approach over his last 10 rounds here, both promising numbers for someone of his talent level. While he's unlikely to contend for the win, he has also made his last six cuts and a good value at this price.
Hayden Buckley (11-1)
Last week I touched briefly on Buckley, who is coming off a top-20 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and is continuing to improve in his second year on Tour. This is great value for an excellent driver of the ball that finished T8 here last year.
Shriners Children's Open Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Grillo is coming off a strong showing at the Sanderson Farms Championship in which he held the lead at one point in the final round on the back nine. It's part of a stellar stretch of golf in which he's finished top-5 three times since July. Meanwhile, Bezuidenhout is extremely reliant on his short game. I'll continue to ride with Grillo while he's in good form.
It's difficult to pass up on Mitchell at even money against McCarthy, who is also heavily reliant on his putter and hasn't posted a top-15 result since July. Mitchell is coming off his best season on Tour statistically, one in which he ranked 29th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 31st in birdie or better percentage. There should be plenty of birdie opportunities available this week.