PGA Tour players are in the desert this week. They will travel to TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas to compete in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. This is one of those tournaments that is being held as one of the FIRST events of the season, instead of one of the last, because of the new scheduling on the PGA Tour. And there are FedEx Cup points available in this tournament for the very first time. Therefore, it is going to be a place for a lot of players to get a jump on others as they seek placement as the season progresses.
Who are some of those players?
Well, certainly Hideki Matsuyama can be one of them. The Japanese youngster finished tied for third in the Frys.com Open last week. This followed his debut in the Presidents Cup, where he didn’t necessarily do well but got his feet wet. Let’s not forget; he is only 21 years old. Last week he was the best driver in the field, and that will help him immeasurably on this course. He is one of the listed favorites at +2500 in golf betting odds.
Here is the list of players who are priced at +4000 or lower, along with some very familiar names who are further down the list, as they are posted at Bovada:
Zach Johnson +1200
Nick Watney +1600
Webb Simpson +1600
Graham Delaet +2200
Brendon De Jonge +2500
Hideki Matsuyama +2500
Ryan Moore +2500
Jimmy Walker +2800
Kevin Na +2800
Martin Laird +3300
Robert Garrigus +3300
Scott Piercy +3300
Charley Hoffman +4000
Vijay Singh +5000
John Peterson +5000
Angel Cabrera +8000
David Toms +10000
Geoff Ogilvy +10000
Trevor Immelman +10000
Davis Love III +20000
Lucas Glover +20000
Zach Johnson, the former Masters champion, is one of those players who is attracted to the event because of the points that are available. Johnson has been playing some very good golf; of course if you followed the FedEx Cup, you know that he won at Conway Farms, but he has also had some extended success, with seven top ten finishes in his last eight starts. He has not played in Las Vegas since 2008, but he is the +1200 favorite for this week.
Webb Simpson (+1600) is on board this year for the first time since 2010. The former U.S. Open champion showed great form late, finishing tied for fourth place at the TOUR Championship, then went on to win two matches in the Presidents Cup.
Brendon De Jonge (+2500) is yet another player who is coming off playing in the Presidents Cup. But unlike Matsuyama, he took a week-long break after that. He has every reason to expect that he will be a candidate for heavy FedEx Cup points here, since he was all alone in second place last year at TPC Summerlin.
You have to figure Ryan Moore has this course dialed in to a certain extent. He would have to, since he is the defending champion (having beaten out the aforementioned De Jonge) and set a tournament record last year by firing a 260 over four rounds, at 24 under par. This included an opening round of 61, which had the field chasing him from the start. He lives nearby, so it is one place where he will be greatly disappointed if he doesn’t do well.
Another player who lives locally and likes the course is Scott Piercy, who has hit the top ten the last two years in this event. Can he improve upon his tie for sixth place last year? This is a good chance for him to establish himself; he had great outings at the PGA Championship, where he finished tried for fifth, and the Phoenix Open, where he was third all by himself. At +3300 in PGA Tour betting, maybe he brings some value.
And if you’re talking about Las Vegas residents, Nick Watney deserves very strong consideration. Watney came on strong during the FedEx Cup playoffs, tying for ninth at The Barclays, finishing as the runner-up at the BMW Championship and tying for 14th in the TOUR Championship. And he really likes the TPC Summerlin, going T6, second and T10 the last three times he has played the tournament. He is rightfully one of Bovada’s favorites at +1600.
John Peterson (+5000), who was the leader on the Web.com Tour, may have been a bit of disappointment last week as a T21 in a relatively thin Frys.com Open field, but he’s got a chance to recover here. Kevin Na (+2800) has won just once on the PGA Tour, and it was right here at Summerlin, two years ago. He has had to endure some injury problems, and a lot of people are familiar with the bulging discs he tired to play through but couldn’t. After treatment he came back and soared to a third-place tie at the Frys.com Open, rebounding from an opening round of 75 to post back-to-back 64’s on Saturday and Sunday.
And then there is the player who won last week. Jimmy Walker was “Dy-no-mite!” at the Frys.com Open, working his way out of a lot of jams and finishing with 62-66 to take home first prize and $900,000. Because that tournament was also awarding FedEx Cup points for the first time, he is off to an early lead in the standings. And last year he posted his first top ten finish in four tries at TPC Summerlin. Maybe form will hold up? He’s +2800 at Bovada.
Players can score here; in fact, this was determined, by way of scoring average, to be the second easiest Par-71 course to solve during the 2012 PGA season.
One of the things that most of the players usually don’t have to worry about is that adverse conditions will affect play. We’re not talking about the heat; everybody expects that in Las Vegas. But there won’t be wind or rain to worry about, according to the weather forecasts.
Tee off on all the golf odds you can imagine by opening an account at www.Bovada.lv!