Finally, the main PGA Tour returns to US soil after a sojourn to the Far East, and if the old saying ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ is true then let’s hope we can spot a winner in Nevada for this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
These West Coast events tend to be a favourite for local natives – Kevin Na, Ryan Moore and Martin Laird are all ‘Westies’ that have won here – and so we have a very nice angle in for this TPC Summerlin test.
Smylie Kaufman burst onto the scene here with victory in 2015, and even in that limited field he proved what the confidence of winning can do when he led the field heading into the final 18 at The Masters before crumbling under the spotlight.
There will be 144 players looking to emulate Kaufman this week, so who are the picks of this week’s betting tips?
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Betting Tips
Ryan Moore (20/1)
It’s not often we get a favourite priced at 20/1 for a PGA Tour event, and it’s not often that the position of favouritism is so justified. But we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest Ryan Moore is the most likely victor of this Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Since winning the John Deere Classic in August he simply hasn’t lost his form, with a subsequent string of 7-8-64 then followed by an agonising play-off defeat in the Tour Championship. A decent showing in the Ryder Cup continued Moore’s forward motion, and so far this season he has recorded a 17th in Malaysia and 23rd in China.
But the key here is that this event is something of a homecoming for Moore; he was born in Washington but studied at the University of Nevada, and so spent plenty of his formative years playing this Summerlin stretch. The result of that is a tour victory here in 2012 followed by a top-10 return the following year, and as mentioned local knowledge could be crucial this week.
Moore has as much as anybody else, and he’s a proven winner to boot.
Martin Laird (40/1)
Another at home in the desert is, surprisingly, a Scot in the form of Martin Laird. Forget the stereotype of Scottish folk burning to a crisp when the sun pokes through the clouds at 10 in the morning in Inverness, Laird is a long-time PGA Tour pro that has become accustomed to life on the other side of the pond.
He particularly enjoys the hot conditions on the West Coast, where a victory here in 2009 has been followed by an eight lace finish at the Safeway Open in California just three weeks ago.
In events with thin fields like this, it is often smart to side with the proven winners – even with a bunch of super-talented Web.com Tour graduates starting to make their mark. Laird is a three-time winner on tour and has recorded 28 top-10 finishes, so he clearly knows how to get into the frame.
In his last six starts Laird has a second, eighth and eighteenth to his credit, and those are nice numbers heading to a course he knows well.
Trey Mullinax (175/1)
Our last pick is a gamble, in all senses of the word, but having witnessed Cody Gribble bag the honours at last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship we expect that the rest of the Web.com graduates will be looking to follow suit.
One of the most talented of these is Trey Mullinax, who took very nicely to the track at Silverado three weeks ago to record a 22nd. With this Summerlin stretch being slightly more forgiving in terms of fairway width, Mullinax’s slightly wayward bombs should come into their own.
The good sports at Betting Bias (@bettingbias) posted this handy image on their twitter feed comparing Mullinax with last year’s Shriners champion Kaufman. It makes for very interesting reading: