Tricky week to predict at the Shriners Children’s Open. With so many different avenues we’ve seen to win here, there really is not an exact profile fit you can lean on at this event. We’ve seen older fairway finders like Martin Laird and Rod Pampling (who I’m betting to win Furyk & Friends this week) win in recent years just as much as we’ve seen well rounded stars like Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau win here as well. And then you have short game specialists like Webb Simpson and Kevin Na who have also won repeatedly here. Even bombers like Luke List and Matthew Wolff have shown they can contend, so in the end, it really comes down to who can get to at least -20, make a ton of birdies and close out in crunch time. The ability to go low and get a hot putter with solid recent form is about as deep as I went to narrow in on my betting card, and I’m hoping Week #3 of the 2022 season will hand us our first outright of the new season. Here’s a look back at my final bets and thoughts for the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open!
- Louis Oosthuizen +3000
- Webb Simpson +3000
- Abraham Ancer +3000
- Mito Pereira +5500
- Ian Poulter +13000
This week, I had a hard time deciding who I liked most at the top between Louis, Webb, and Abe, so I just decided to tighten up the card and play all of them. Louis Oosthuizen is a super interesting case this week, as he has a reputation as more of a grinder in difficult Major conditions and has only posted one final score in the -20s since 2013. With that said, Louis has not been an elite putter until this past season, so it makes sense that we typically have not seen him string together as many birdies over the course of his career. He also intentionally picks and chooses his spots each season to gear himself up for the Majors and WGCs, so he just hasn’t had the same volume of birdie fest opportunities as most other golfers. Looking at Louis’ game, a course that discounts driving distance/SG: OTT to put an emphasis on approaches and putting should play perfectly into his strengths. And obviously his reputation as someone who can’t win a tournament is a concern for a 30/1 outright, but compared to the moments in Majors where we’ve seen Louis wilt under pressure, the stakes of The Shriners should pale in comparison.
Webb Simpson and Abraham Ancer were both tops in my model this week and are obvious fits for what this course demands in terms of approach and short game, and their course history backs that up. I’ve seen all three of these players sub-20/1 on some books, so shout out to FanDuel for giftwrapping these odds.
Moving on to Mito, I’ve done a complete 180 over the course of this week. In the tournament preview, I noted that I’d be actively avoiding Mito as this is a putting contest, and he can’t really putt. I do believe Mito’s game is best suited for longer, grinder courses, but that doesn’t mean he can’t win a birdie fest too, especially considering he’s won 3 times in the last year on the KFT where he shot -20 or better in each. With Mito, it will simply come down to whether he can get off to a hot start, as he’s been one of the worst putters on Tour in R1, and an above average putter with the ability to spike round by round for the rest of the tournament.
And finally with Ian Poulter, I just really think he has the ability to go the Kevin Na route and win this tournament with his putter. It’s not a long course which should level the playing field for him and allow him to instead lean on his driving accuracy and improved iron play over the last couple months.
First Round Leader (0.5u)
- Sebastian Munoz +9000
- Chesson Hadley +10000
- James Hahn +15000
Munoz is of course an auto bet but on a Bent Grass birdie fest I feel a little more optimistic than usual. Hadley is the guy who chopped my last Munoz FRL at the John Deere Classic, and I like the idea of getting exposure to him on a course he likes before the pressure sets in over the weekend.
Pretty simple thought process for James Hahn FRL this week. He has great course history at TPC Summerlin and shot a 60 at the Barbasol a handful of starts ago the last time he was in a pure birdie fest. Aside from the Barbasol, Hahn only has two T10 finishes in the last calendar year, and they’ve both come in the desert at the WMPO and 2021 Shriners. I don’t trust that he can put 4 rounds together, but I love the ability to get hot for just one round.
- Louis Oosthuizen ($9,900)
- Ian Poulter ($7,000)
- Mark Hubbard ($6,100)
I think Ian Poulter and Mark Hubbard are the two most under-valued players on Draft Kings this week, and their ownership isn’t especially inflated to the point where I would consider fading. Both possess the ability to hit fairways, and get hot with the irons and putter, which is all you need to rack up DK points this week. With Louis, we have a player who opened as the favorite or co-favorite to win this tournament on several books, priced in the $9Ks at lower ownership than players like Ancer and Simpson who come at a higher price premium.