Hello friends! I am yet again violently hungover to preview this tournament, this time in Bloomington, Indiana for a quick wedding weekend. The Fall Swing has not been kind to my liver, but never the less, we persist to TPC Summerlin for the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open in the hangover capital of the world, Las Vegas! Counting the World Long Drive Championship in Mesquite, Nevada, The Shriners will mark leg #2 of the Vegas swing before heading over to The Summit Club the following week for the CJ Cup.
As more and more PGA Tour players have started to call Las Vegas home, we have seen a home field advantage of sorts for players with Vegas ties to find success at TPC Summerlin. Kevin Na is the obvious example as a Las Vegas lifer with 2 victories at The Shriners to his name coming in 2011 and 2019 to go along with another Runner Up finish here in 2015. UNLV alum and Vegas resident Ryan Moore has also found repeated success at this event, winning in 2012 with three other Top 15 finishes and just one MC over the past decade. Scott Piercy is another UNLV product with 6 T25 finishes here over his last 9 appearances, and Alex Cejka, who lives in Las Vegas, randomly has two T2 finishes here in his last four appearances. Maverick McNealy, Charley Hoffman, Garrick Higgo, and Adam Scott are also in the field this week and are worth ~a roll of the dice~ for those looking to hammer the Vegas narrative.
All in all, TPC Summerlin is arguably the easiest course on the PGA Tour, yielding a winning score in the 20s in 9 of the last 11 years. That means we should once again expect a similar formula as Fortinet and Sanderson Farms, where the winner will ultimately be determined by who can make the most birdies and sink the most putts. With that in mind, I’ll be looking most closely at SG: TOT in Easy Scoring conditions, Birdie or Better Gained, SG: P (Bent), and SG: APP primarily to narrow in on this week’s player pool. Here’s a look at everything else you can expect ahead of this week’s festivities at the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open.
TPC Summerlin Course Specs
- Yards: 7,255
- Par: 71 (4x 3’s / 11x 4’s / 3x 5’s)
- Grass: Bent Greens, Bermuda Rough & Fairways
- Architect: Bobby Weed
- Historical Cutline: -3
- Comp Courses: Caves Valley, CC of Jackson, Silverado Resort, TPC Craig Ranch, TPC Southwind, TPC San Antonio
- Past Winners: Martin Laird (21, 09), Kevin Na (20, 11), Bryson DeChambeau (19), Patrick Cantlay (18), Rod Pampling (17)
- Other Past Winners in the Field: Webb Simpson (14), Ryan Moore (12)
It’s not easy to draw consistent trends from the past list of winners at The Shriners, or even the path they’ve taken to win. Patrick Cantlay, who is not in the field this week, has been the most dominant on these grounds with a win, two runner ups, and a T8 in four career appearances here. The win came in an anomaly of extremely windy conditions in 2018 which converted the course from a birdie fest into a grinder event that yielded a final winning score of -9. Even in the normal easy scoring conditions however, Cantlay has leaned on his usual well-rounded game to gain in all 4 major categories and hang around. When interviewed about his consistent success at TPC Summerlin, Cantlay cited that it’s a course you step into trying to make birdie on every hole, and as long as you’re playing out of the fairway, there’s little resistance offered on most holes to prevent you from generating birdie opportunities.
There are 3 multi-winners of The Shriners in Jim Furyk, Kevin Na, and Martin Laird, and what they each share in common is their ability to to hit a high percentage of fairways despite their lack of distance. Beyond the multi-winners, Webb Simpson and Ryan Moore also fit the mold of recent Shriners champions who profile as shorter hitting fairway finders, so I’ll be looking for players who can hit a higher than average amount of fairways this week to create those scoring opportunities. The Top 10 players in Fairways Gained entering this week are: Chez Reavie, Brendon Todd, Brian Stuard, Doug Ghim, Ryan Moore, Corey Conners, Jim Herman, Kramer Hickok, Kyle Stanley, and Kevin Streelman.
Looking beyond the past winners of this event, there are a handful of players in this week’s field who have consistently performed well in recent years at TPC Summerlin. The list of players with multiple T15 finishes over the last 5 years includes Webb Simpson, Lucas Glover, Chesson Hadley, Pat Perez, Brian Harman, Ryan Moore, Abraham Ancer, Luke List, Si Woo Kim, Aaron Wise, Joaquin Niemann, Denny McCarthy, JJ Spaun, Peter Malnati, and James Hahn. Overall, the Top 10 players in terms of SG: TOT at TPC Summerlin are Webb Simpson, Scott Piercy, Sungjae Im, Russell Henley, Martin Laird, Matthew Wolff, Brooks Koepka, Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Streelman, and Francesco Molinari.
Looking at the course itself, it does not play very long at all as a 7,255 yard Par 71, and when we factor in the thin Las Vegas desert air, it plays even shorter with players averaging nearly 15 yards of extra distance on their drives here. Because of that, it’s less advantageous than usual for the longer hitters to come out and bomb & gouge this course, even with the short, playable rough. Similar to last week at CC of Jackson, a majority of the holes will funnel into the 400-450 yard Par 4 range, creating plenty of birdie opportunities on the Par 4s with wedges in from the fairway.
In terms of comp courses, Caves Valley is the first that comes to mind as another second shot, putting contest birdie fest on Bent greens where Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay were able to find success. While neither are in the field this week, we did also see strong T15 showings at this year’s BMW Championship from Sungjae Im, Erik Van Rooyen, Sam Burns, Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson, KH Lee, and Jason Kokrak who will be teeing it up at TPC Summerlin this week. Beyond Caves Valley, I also like the correlation with the first two Fall Swing events of the year in Silverado Resort and CC of Jackson as comps as they’ve also shown to be easy, pure birdie fests that are translatable to leaderboards we’ve seen on the Korn Ferry Tour. TPC Craig Ranch, TPC San Antonio, and TPC Southwind are each TPC layouts with easy scoring that reward a similar emphasis on Approach and Short Game, and are worth a look at recent 2021 performance trends as well. Over the last 2 years, the Top 10 players in terms of SG: TOT across these Comp Courses are Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns, Webb Simpson, Will Zalatoris, Harris English, Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama, Corey Conners, Matt Kuchar, and Doc Redman.
- SG: APP
- Fairways Gained / Good Drives Gained
- SG: TOT – Easy Scoring Conditions
- Birdie or Better Gained
- SG: SG / SG: P (Bent)
- P4: 400-450
- Course + Comp Course History
At the Sanderson Farms last week, we rolled the dice on elite T2G players who are normally poor putters but are capable of a spike week, as Cameron Champ and Sergio Garcia showed us in recent years before. This week, with winning scores regularly pushing to the mid-20s under par, we’ve seen much more consistent results from elite putters like Kevin Na, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson, Peter Malnati, and Denny McCarthy, as this truly is a putting contest that will come down to who can make the most birdies, limiting the advantage the elite ball strikers typically bring to a given tournament. The Top 10 Bent Grass putters entering this week are Jason Kokrak, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Ian Poulter, Troy Merritt, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Cameron Tringale, Cam Davis, and Adam Schenk. The Top 10 Players in terms of Birdies or Better gained are Scottie Scheffler, Aaron Wise, Ian Poulter, Jason Kokrak, Sam Burns, Seamus Power, Patton Kizzire, Charley Hoffman, Harris English, and Hank Lebioda.
The categories I’m looking most closely at to refine down my player pool for this week are SG: APP, SG: SG, SG: P (Bent), Fairways Gained, Birdies or Better Gained, and SG: TOT (Easy Scoring). There are just 8 players in the field who rate out above field average in each of those categories: Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer, Harris English, Ian Poulter, Kevin Na, Maverick McNealy, and Pat Perez.
Looking at the correlation charts this week, there is a notable jump in the importance of SG: SG at TPC Summerlin, which is skewed in part by the 14.2 (!) strokes putting Kevin Na needed to gain in order to win in 2020, however the notion of needing to putt well and get up and down for par saves on any missed greens in regulation does make sense on the easiest track we’ll see all year. Conversely, SG: OTT is far less indicative of success at this event, with lack of distance not being a detriment to this field and the rough not being especially penal in instances where players do miss the fairway.
Taking the Top 10 Correlated Stat categories for this week at The Shriners, there are just 9 players who rank above average in the field in each: Louis Oosthuizen, Seamus Power, Abraham Ancer, Harris English, Scottie Scheffler, Webb Simpson, Pat Perez, Talor Gooch, and Adam Scott.
Spotlight: Webb Simpson
I don’t know where Webb Simpson’s odds will open up on Monday, but my guess is they will be longer than they should be, and that’s why I’ve already mentally prepared myself to have him on my card. Simpson has a win at this event back in 2013 and is #1 in total Course History in terms of SG: TOT, and yet this is still not going to be a tournament where everybody is lining up to auto bet Webb Simpson. Maybe it’s because I picked him in our season long fantasy draft and I’m biased now, maybe it’s because he’s only had one Top 10 here since 2015, or maybe because he hasn’t been in serious Sunday contention since the Sony Open last January. In any case, I’ve seen enough signs in his game in recent months to feel encouraged that his first win since the 2020 RBC Heritage is going to come this week, which would make the third consecutive year The Shriners is won by a former winner of the event.
We all know Webb plays short courses well and a birdie fest feeds into the strengths of his short game to get hot and streak for birdies. He enters this week in good form with 4 T20s over his last 6 starts and seems to finally look healthy after recovering from a nagging neck injury that sidelined him for most of May and June. Webb is Top 20 in the field this week in SG: APP, BoB Gained, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring), and SG: P (Bent) to go along with the top Course History at TPC Summerlin. With no Patrick Cantlay or Bryson DeChambeau to worry about in this week’s field, Webb should have a clearer path to get himself back in the winners circle to start the 2022 season.
What To Look Out For at the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open
For me, this is always one of the trickiest tournaments of the year to pin down, which makes it difficult to enter with any real sense of conviction, and probably manifests into a wider player pool, more DFS lineups, and a longer outright card. On paper, the easiest scoring conditions of the year should discount the value of the favorites at the top of the leaderboard, as birdie fests have typically always leveled the playing field for ball strikers and come down to a contest of who can get the hottest putter for four days. However, we’ve seen the big names consistently play well here year over year, with Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, and even Kevin Na usually mainstays at the top of the leaderboard each year. On the other hand, we’ve also seen journeymen and plotters like Ryan Moore, Martin Laird, Scott Piercy, Peter Malnati, and Chesson Hadley continue to consistently perform well here as often as bombers like Matthew Wolff, Will Zalatoris, and Luke List have. The point is, there’s no one exact formula to find success here, so probably best to diversify your exposure across varying skillsets, as long they all have the ability to get a hot putter.
Mito Pereira is in the field this week and I will be taking a break from playing him for the first time in the 2022 season (unless his odds plummet to something crazy). I don’t think Mito’s putter will allow him to get to 23 under par this week, and it’s one of the few tournaments I’ll actively take a pass on the Chilean sensation this season.
With all the course fit profiles in mind this week, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool, broken out by projected pricing/odds tier.
For my model this week, I’m putting a premium on SG: APP, Birdies or Better Gained, and SG: TOT on Easy Courses, followed by a more balanced mix of SG: SG, Fairways Gained, Good Drives Gained, Course History, P4 400-450, and SG: P – Bent. The outputs of the model this week are very reminiscent of the leaderboard we saw at the WGC FedEx St Jude, with Abraham Ancer emerging on top in the #1 spot. Ancer was towards the top of my model that week and I ignored it thinking he wouldn’t get his first win in a WGC, but it will be hard not to follow the numbers and roll with Abe again in this spot, especially after just seeing the run Sam Burns has been on after getting the monkey off his back for his first win. Ancer is no worse than 20th in the field in every category I fed into my model, and is Top 5 in SG: TOT – Easy, Good Drives Gained, and P4: 400-450. After Ancer, the rest of the Top 10 is rounded out by Harris English, Webb Simpson, Sam Burns, Viktor Hovland, Seamus Power, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Na, Kevin Streelman, and Ian Poulter.