Out of the Rough: Shriners Children's Open (2023)
As the PGA TOUR continues its Fall Swing, it takes a stop in Sin City for the Shriners Children’s Open.
Held annually at TPC Summerlin, this event was first staged in 1983.
It was once a pro-am and played over five rounds at multiple courses. In 2004, it was reverted to a 72-hole tournament and since 2008 has been played every year at TPC Summerlin.
Although a part of the Fall Swing, there is still plenty to play for including full exemption for the 2024 PGA TOUR season, spots in signature events and The Masters.
For just the seventh time in the history of the PGA TOUR, a female golfer will be teeing it up against the men.
Lexi Thompson gets that honor this week and will draw the attention as this is something we hardly see on TOUR.
Thompson is an 11-time LPGA TOUR winner.
Joining Thompson this week is defending champion Tom Kim who used last year’s Shriners Children’s Open to capture his second PGA TOUR title. This put him in elite company as at just 20 years, 3 months and 18 days old, he became the second youngest two time TOUR winner to Ralph Guldahl in 1932.
Kim also became the first player since Tiger Woods (ever heard of him?) to win twice before turning 21.
Also teeing it up this week is Ryder Cup hero and PGA TOUR budding star Ludvig Aberg who continues to seek his maiden PGA TOUR victory.
Aberg placed T2nd at last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship, teeing it up just days after aiding Team Europe to a Ryder Cup victory in Rome, Italy.
Other notable names playing this week include Cam Davis, Si Woo Kim, Eric Cole, J.T. Poston and Nicolai Hojgaard.
Joining Kim as past champions of this event and playing this week are Martin Laird (2009 & 2020,) Ben Martin (2014,) Webb Simpson (2013) and Ryan Moore (2012.)
This week’s Shriners Children’s Open is hosted by TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada. It sits just ten miles off the Las Vegas Strip.
TPC Summerlin is a par-71 that plays at 7,255 yards on the scorecard but due to sitting at elevation, plays much shorter than that number suggests.
This course was established in 1991 and was designed by Bobby Wood who was aided by Fuzzy Zoeller.
After the 2021 playing of this event and prior to last year’s edition, the course saw an overhauling of its turf from tee to green. The layout, yardage and contours on the green were maintained however. The renovations were put into place with the intent to better withstand the desert climate.
Following the 2018 edition of this event, the course saw an overhaul of its 102 bunkers. The sand was replaced and in many cases, the bunkers were moved to fit better with the strategy of today’s game
In all, the recent renovations were strictly cosmetic as the scoring average has not been altered.
The greens this week are Bentgrass and are large, receptive and typically play at around 11.5 on the Stimpmeter.
If there were to be an overall line of defense for TPC Summerlin it would be its around-the-green complexes which have regularly ranked top-ten in Strokes Gained: Around the Green difficulty from both the fairways and bunkers.
The rough and fairways are Bermuda. These fairways and greens alike are well above the TOUR average in size.
TPC Summerlin is also annually one of the easiest courses on the entire PGA TOUR schedule.
There are 14 holes featured this week with an average birdie rate above 15-percent.
TPC Summerlin features six par-fours between 400-450 yards and an overall par-four scoring average that is amongst the lowest on the entire TOUR.
Golfers will have to take advantage of the three par-fives this week to keep pace with the birdie rates we’ll see this week.
The par-threes are this venue’s biggest lines of defense. Three of the four par-threes featured this week measure over 195 yards and feature a scoring average over-par.
Water is in play on just four holes this week. TPC Summerlin also features a heavy dosage of natural hazards surrounding the fairways to penalize free-swingers off the tee.
In all, TPC Summerlin ranks in the bottom-five in difficulty across metrics such as Strokes Gained: Total, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, Par-Four Average Soring, Average Driving Distance Strokes Gained: Putting from 15-plus Feet and Greens in Regulation.
This track consistently plays as the easiest par-71 on the entire PGA TOUR.
The weather this week will be what you expect for Las Vegas. It’ll be dry and warm. As of the time of writing this, there is a zero-percent chance for precipitation across all four days. Temperatures will range from 78-degrees on Thursday before gradually climbing each day to 87-degrees on Sunday. Winds will be at the highest on Thursday at 12 miles-per-hour before falling to just six miles-per-hour on Friday and five miles-per-hour for Saturday and Sunday.
Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)
Hit Fairway Percentage / Good Drives Gained
Birdie or Better Percentage
Proximity to the Hole from 100-150 Yards
Par Three Average Scoring
Strokes Gained: Putting on Bentgrass (SG: PUTT Bentgrass)
Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)
Sand Saves Percentage
With there being just four golfers in this price range I’m rolling with just one suggestion here and two in the other price ranges. With that being said and to no one’s surprise, my overall favorite this week per my model is Tom Kim ($10,900.) Only Aberg comes in this week more expensive than Kim. Kim is currently 12th on TOUR in hit fairway percentage, 14th in SG: APP, 15th in bogey avoidance, 16th in good drives gained, 20th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 22nd in birdie or better percentage, 30th in par three average scoring, 33rd in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 78th in SG: ATG. His lone downfall this week is an 160th placement in sand saves percentage but I’m not concerned one bit. He finished the 2022-2023 PGA TOUR season by going T6th at the Genesis Scottish Open, T2nd at The Open Championship, T24th at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, T10th at the BMW Championship and T20th at the TOUR Championship. On top of everything, he’s the defending champion here at the Shriners Children’s Open. I’m playing two units on Kim this week at +1200.
Although I love Kim this week, his ownership is going to be high and he comes with a hefty price tag. I would be content with avoiding the $10,000 price range all together and starting my lineups in this price range. Especially with both my suggestions being at the top end here this week. First off, I really like Si Woo Kim ($9,900.) He comes third in my model for those in this field. He’s fresh off an Asian Games’ victory alongside Sungjae Im as they both helped South Korea claim gold for the first time in 13 years. With the victory, he and Im have avoided a mandatory 21 months of military service before the age of 35. On top of that, he finished the last PGA TOUR season by going T33rd at the Wyndham Championship, T16th at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, T31st at the BMW Championship and T20th at the TOUR Championship. He is also currently eighth on TOUR in hit fairway percentage, 19th in sand saves percentage, 30th in par three average scoring, 31st in SG: APP, 35th in good drives gained, 50th in bogey avoidance, 52nd in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 55th in SG: ATG, 81st in birdie or better percentage and 127th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass. I’m playing two units on him this week at +2600. Also consider Eric Cole ($9,800.) I’m a bit worried about Cole due to what his ownership may be. He became a fan favorite last season and continues to be a popular pick each week within the golf betting community. Either way, we can’t ignore how he lines up this week. He’s played in both of the two previous Fall Swing events, placing fourth at the Fortinet Championship and T35th at last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship. He is also currently third on TOUR in par three average scoring, 13th in birdie or better percentage, 21st in bogey avoidance, 22nd in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 23rd in SG: APP, 25th in SG: ATG, 34th in sand saves percentage and 37th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass. His downfall is his accuracy off the tee which will be of a premium this week. He’s 141st in good drives gained and 157th in hit fairway percentage. Hitting the fairways this week is important, but missing them is not a death sentence by any means.
Typically this is a price range I tend to stay away from in most weeks but I really like both of my suggestions here this week. Andrew Putnam ($8,300) actually comes second in my model to just Tom Kim. Putnam is currently fourth on TOUR in bogey avoidance, sixth in par three average scoring, 11th in sand saves percentage, 16th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 25th in hit fairway percentage, 27th in SG: APP, 39th in good drives gained, 67th in SG: ATG, 112th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards and 125th in birdie or better percentage. I guess the main concern here would be his ability to keep pace in a birdie fest but his game lines up perfectly for this week elsewhere. Putnam did play the Fortinet Championship but did miss the cut. Prior to that he placed T10th at the BMW Championship. I’m playing a unit on Putnam at +4200. Also consider J.J. Spaun ($8,900.) Spaun is currently fifth on TOUR in bogey avoidance, 15th in par three average scoring, 26th in sand saves percentage, 32nd in good drives gained, 38th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 40th in hit fairway percentage, 50th in SG: ATG, 58th in SG: APP, 114th in birdie or better percentage and 134th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass. We last saw Spaun at the Fortinet Championship where he placed T11th. Prior to that he finished the last season with a T24th at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Doug Ghim ($7,800) is quickly becoming a mainstay in this series especially during this Fall Swing. He missed the cut last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship and placed T17th at the Fortinet Championship. He is currently seventh on TOUR in good drives gained, 13th in bogey avoidance, 15th in par three average soring, 16th in hit fairway percentage, 50th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 60th in SG: APP, 79th in SG: ATG, 87th in birdie or better percentage, 115th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 116th in sand saves percentage. Not a bad resume by any means. I’m playing a unit on Ghim at +6000. Also consider Kevin Yu ($7,000.) I’m always one to be super high on Yu and he has been nothing but a disappointment to start this Fall Swing. He has missed the cut at both the Fortinet Championship and Sanderson Farms Championship. However, Yu is too good of a golfer to make it a third straight missed cut. Statistically wise he is currently second on TOUR in good drives gained, seventh in birdie or better percentage, 54th in bogey avoidance, 55th in par three average scoring, 56th in hit fairway percentage, 63rd in SG: APP and 89th in SG: ATG. His downfalls are a 144th placement in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 155th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards and 158th in sand saves percentage. I’m not playing Yu on the betting card this week but I have faith he’s going to bounce back with a strong showing this week for DFS.
This is a better field than we’ve seen on the Fall Swing thus far so therefore we have some decent options in this price range. First off I’m going with Nate Lashley ($6,900.) Lashley is currently 29th on TOUR in good drives gained, 30th in par three average scoring, 34th in bogey avoidance, 41st in birdie or better percentage, 44th in SG: APP, 54th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 58th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 64th in hit fairway percentage, 97th in SG: ATG and 145th in sand saves percentage. He did miss the cut last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship but placed T30th at the Fortinet Championship. I’m playing a unit on Lashley at +7500 this week. Also consider Ryan Moore ($6,500.) Moore is a former winner of this event, although that was 2012. Moore is currently fifth on TOUR in hit fairway percentage, ninth in good drives gained, 17th in SG: APP, 25th in proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards, 37th in bogey avoidance, 57th in sand saves percentage, 90th in par three average scoring and 97th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass. Now for his downfalls. He’s 146th in birdie or better percentage and 161st in SG: ATG. Moore isn’t going to win this event this week, but he very well could make the cut and that’s all we need out of this price range this week.
Tom Kim (+1200) - 2u
Si Woo Kim (+2600) - 2u
Andrew Putnam (+4200) - 1u
Doug Ghim (+6000) - 1u
Nate Lashley (+7500) - 1u