Golf picks: Shriners Children's Open Best Bets, Odds and Picks from Golf Expert Diane Knox Balas
A five-man playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship added a bit of drama on Sunday night to the golf coverage, and it was Luke List who rose to the challenge, sinking a 44 foot putt to win his second PGA Tour title.
There’s a lot at stake right now on the Tour, with job security, entry to the signature events of 2024 and a big wad of cash up for grabs.
This week, we move to the bright lights of Sin City for the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin.
Headline names teeing it up in Vegas this week include Ludvig Aberg, who, coming off Team Europe’s Ryder Cup victory, made his way to Jackson last week and was part of that playoff. The Swede is trying to lock up his card for next season and is currently sitting at No.113 in the standings. Tom Kim returns as defending champion after getting to -24 last year and beating Matthew NeSmith and Patrick Cantlay by 3 strokes.
This tournament holds a special place in my heart as it won me my largest payout to date! In 2020, my fellow Scot Martin Laird romped to victory at 250/1. Let me tell you, this isn’t the last time you’ll read his name in my preview this week.
Lexi Thompson is also in the field this week after receiving a sponsor exemption. She’ll become the 7th female golfer to compete in a PGA TOUR event.
TPC Summerlin: What you need to know
The course this week is a par 71 measuring 7,255 yards. It’s a staple on the schedule and has some great characteristics – lots of water features, lush bentgrass greens and canyons.
The fairways are wide and generous, and the greens are big too. Since 2015, TPC Summerlin ranks in the top-10 of easiest courses on the PGA Tour, therefore expect low scoring again this week. In fact, 9 of the par 4s are 450 yards or less, and the three par 5s are pretty gettable for majority of the field. The Vegas wind can pick up in the afternoon, and the greens will firm up. Plus, with the elevation, the ball will travel a bit further.
Greens in regulation is an important stat to look at this week and is generally pretty high, along with overall strong play tee-to-green; Sungjae Im ranked top in both of those categories en route to his convincing win in 2021, and Tom Kim was 5th in approach and 3rd tee-to-green last year. If guys miss the large greens, it’s tricky to get up and down, and TPC Summerlin ranks high in difficulty in around-the-green stats.
Knox’s Knockout Shriners Children’s Open picks
Tom Hoge (+3500 at DraftKings)
Tom Hoge has some erratic results under his belt as of late, but he finished just outside the top 10 last week in Jackson for back-to-back top-15 finishes; he played the BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour last month. Uncharacteristically, his approach stat has been the temperamental one, losing almost 2.5 strokes to the field at the Irish Open last month, and then bounced back to gain almost two at the BMW at Wentworth. However, he sits strongly at 9th in approach for the season on the PGA Tour and 11th in total birdies, which he will need in spades this week. Hoge loves this tournament, having finished 4th last year, 7th in 2018 and T14 in 2021. I think 40/1 is such a good price for him.
Adam Svensson (+6000 at Caesars Sportsbook)
Coming off a T16 last week at the Sanderson Farms, Adam Svensson should feel good about where his game’s at. At 37th in the FedExCup standings, he’s all set for next year but is playing now for another win to add to his resume. He won the RSM Classic last November, and will be looking to back it up on a course that should really suit his strengths. The Canadian has gained strokes in approach in every tournament since July, and his odds seem to be slightly inflated this week due to the fact he doesn’t have great course history here.
Matthew NeSmith (+7000 at PointsBet)
I’m banking on that old phrase “horses for courses” with this pick. Matt NeSmith has made a lot of money at the Shriners, teeing it up four times and finishing no worse than T18. In fact, he’s gone 18th-8th-14th-2nd and in those four appearances has gained almost 9 strokes on the field. At 72nd in the FedExCup standings, NeSmith is looking to get inside the top-60 to earn his place in the first two signature events of 2024. He’s coming off a T25 last week, is going to feel confident at TPC Summerlin and I like these odds a lot.
Ryan Moore (+20000 at BetMGM)
I need a 200/1 long shot for the Shriners after my 250/1 pick won three years ago, and Ryan Moore is the man. Another past champion who loves this event, Ryan boasts that 2012 victory plus an additional five top-20 finishes. His back is against the wall right now sitting at 149th in the standings, as the top 150 obtain conditional status. In short, he has a lot of work to do and needs to capitalize on a course he knows well and has had success on. Plus, that all-important approach stat is Moore’s strength, and he’s top-20 on Tour for the season.
Shriners Children’s Open Prop Bets
Justin Suh top-10 finish (+500 at Bet365)
I’ve bet on Suh a lot and he’s never really won me much. However, it’s hard to overlook him on home turf in Vegas when he’s fighting for a spot in the FedExFall top-10 and sits 8th in putting on the Tour for the season. He’s gained in approach in his last two events, and has an 8th place finish here in 2021.
Martin Laird top-10 finish (+850) and top-20 finish (+350 at Bet365)
After my 250/1 hit with the Scotsman in 2021, I will forever bet on Martin Laird at the Shriners. Another guy who loves this tournament, and his career resume at TPC Summerlin is impressive – two wins, a runner-up and two additional top-20s. Not only that, but he’s coming off three top-20 finishes in his last five starts. Important time of year to find some form.