The Vegas Swing Begins on the PGA TOUR ⏤ Shriner's Hospital for Children Open

Fantasy Golf


The PGA TOUR's run up to Augusta continues with the opening leg of a two-part swing through Las Vegas, NV for this week's Shriner's Hospital for Children Open. Kevin Na will be returning to TPC Summerlin in defense of the title he won here last year in a playoff over Patrick Cantlay. Birdies will be the order of the day as the course has yielded a winning total of 20-under or lower in eight of the last ten years. This stretch of shootout golf in the desert includes last year's total of 23-under 261 as well as record totals of 260 shot by Ryan Moore (2012) and Webb Simpson (2014). We expect a similarly defenseless golf course this week as the weather is forecasted to be nearly-perfect in Vegas for the balance of the tournament. 

The Field and the Favorites

While recent years have seen a decline in quality player participation at this event, its new placement as the first of two events in Las Vegas has attracted the likes of Webb Simpson, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama. In previous years, the fall series placement of the Shriners coincided with a time of year when most of the top players were unwinding from the previous season. Now, many in the field this week will be looking to get their games sharp with the Masters now just one month away. 

Newly-crowned U.S. Open Champion Bryson Dechambeau will also make his first appearance on the PGA TOUR since his maiden major championship triumph at Winged Foot a few weeks ago. He enters the week as the betting favorite at +750 and comes to TPC Summerlin both on-form and with the confidence on this golf course he derived from his win here in 2018. The only potential reason to fade him this week might be the prospect of the post-major hangover that many experience, but the caliber of the performance he turned in at Winged Foot makes it awfully tough to keep him on the bench.

Patrick Cantlay (+1300) would make a strong case for second favorite, but he's edged out by the 7th-ranked player in the world in Webb Simpson (+1100). Cantlay seems to be a fantasy darling this week as he's finished no worse than second in each of his last three starts here (2nd-2nd-1st), but his performance this season has been short on the top-ten finishes since the return from the COVID pause. He may not be a bad choice for a fade as he's likely to have a high roster percentage given his resume at this venue. 

The Golf Course

Players will have to put the pedal down as pars aren't likely to take anyone anywhere this week. While the course certainly yields to strong play, the players will have to do their best to drive the ball in the fairway as the birdies that everyone needs are a lot harder to come by at TPC Summerlin when you're out of position from the tee. Fairway bunkers and box canyons await those who stray from center and hole locations tucked in the corners will be a lot less accessible from anywhere but the short grass.

The course is a par-71 so there are only three par fives, but the major scoring holes at TPC Summerlin will be the two reachable five-pars at nine and sixteen as well as the driveable fifteenth hole. The closing stretch in particular has a lot of swing potential as the two scoring holes can yield birdies and eagles while the seventeenth is a dangerous three-par heavily fortified in front and on the left by a lurking water hazard. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see someone come to the fifteenth tee three shots behind and leave the seventeeth tied for the lead.

Here are our selections for the week:

Group A (Hideki Matsuyama)

Group B (Matthew Wolff)

Group C (Brandt Snedeker)

Group D (Cameron Smith)

Group E (Zach Johnson)

Group F (Scottie Scheffler)