The PGA Tour rolls into Nevada for the 2021 Shriners Hospital for Children Open. A regular on the PGA Tour since 1983, there have been some famous winners of the event which include Greg Norman, Paul Azinger, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, and Kevin Na. The tournament has been held at multiple venues but this week all the action will take place at TPC Summerlin which has hosted the tournament since 1993.
TPC Summerlin registers as a par 71, 7,255-yard course that contains all of the features you would expect from a course located in the middle of the Nevada desert. It combines raw landscape features with lush bentgrass greens, numerous water features, and as the course opens up it winds through canyons and arroyos, making it one of the most picturesque spots on all of the PGA Tour.
Like most stops on the PGA Tour scoring for the Shriners has been traditionally low, with the last two winners shooting -23. Therefore to be successful this week you will need a golfer who will put himself in a position to shoot low, and who has the ability to find lots of fairways and greens. A hot putter is an absolute must.
Following the completion of the 2020 Ryder Cup, many of America’s and Europe’s finest are returning to action. Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Harris English, and Scottie Scheffler will all be teeing it up this week.
Koepka headlines the betting and the field. Following his Ryder Cup exploits, he looks sure to give a good account of himself. Dispelling any worries over his troublesome wrist, Koepka looked to be swinging the club without any pain and could be a tough man to beat.
Other players looking to take their chance include Las Vegas native Kevin Na (who has won twice around Summerlin), Louis Oosthuizen, Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama, Danny Willet who returned to the winners’ circle last week on the beautiful links of Scotland, and Sam Burns who was successful in last weeks Sanderson Farm Championship.
Speaking of the Sanderson Farm Championship it was a real roller coaster ride for our three picks. Sebastian Munoz never got out of the starting blocks and missed the cut, long shot Peter Malnati also looked in danger of missing the cut before finishing T51. Cameron Tringale also started slowly before shooting a combined -17 over rounds 2 and 3 to fire himself right into the title mix heading into the final round. Playing a different level of golf to his rivals a top ten finish at least looked assured but a disappointing -1 in the final round saw Tringale finish just outside the top ten in eleventh and left us out of the money.
Perhaps there is no better tournament to recapture that winning feeling than a tournament held near Sin City itself. With some of the world’s finest players starting to return it feels that the new season is finally starting to swing into action.
Beneath are our selections ahead of what is bound to be another exciting four days of action.
MAIN BET: ABRAHAM ANCER +1800
Picking a winner in such an open field especially when players are still finding their feet in the early knockings of the season is never easy, but in Abraham Ancer we are backing one of the most consistent players on Tour.
Ancer has been playing consistent golf for a while but last season saw Ancer finally break into the winner’s circle as he took down the St Jude Invitational. Ancer recorded nine further top-ten finishes and moved to a career-high rank of 12 in the world.
His all-around game is just solid. Last year he finished 24th for strokes gained off the tee, 23rd in strokes gained through approach to the green, 29th in putting and 28th in strokes gained tee to green.
Ancer is certainly no slouch off the tee but driving distance isn’t his forte, however he ranked 5th overall last year for driving accuracy. TPC Summerlin has seen the likes of Kevin Na, Webb Simpson, and Jim Furyk all win at the location. Length shouldn’t be a decisive factor this week but accuracy could be. Hoping that Ancer can play himself into the majority of holes through his unerring accuracy, I think the Mexican has a great chance of adding a second PGA Tour title this week.
DARK HORSE: BRIAN HARMAN +5500
As per most weeks on the PGA Tour, this week will see many tournament rookies compete against some course veterans. One man who will be returning to TPC Summerlin is world number 48, Brian Harman.
Harman, who has played in this event six times previously has posted three successive top 20 finishes in his last three visits, so it’s a course and layout that the diminutive leftie clearly likes.
Harman’s greatest strengths lie in and around the green. Last season Harman was one of the hottest putters around where he finished 5th on Tour for overall putting and 6th for overall putting average. Harman’s skill on the greens more than makes up for his lack of power off the tee. Despite being middle of the pack when it comes to driving length, his accuracy off the tee keeps him competitive as Harman finished 30th for overall driving accuracy.
If Harman can give himself the opportunities to make birdies he has a good outside chance of winning this week. Odds of +900 for a top 5 and +400 for a top 10 finish could be good ways to play.
LONG SHOT: SCOTT PIERCY +13000
In looking to go with experience and still trying to find some value, we may have stumbled across the perfect player in Scott Piercy. Piercy has played the Shriners on twelve different occasions finishing with six top twenty finishes which includes four top tens.
Piercy is no stranger to the winner’s circle having won four times on Tour. He is a name you often see milling in or around the top of leaderboards, but he had a poor season last year, failing to finish inside the top ten in any tournament.
However, he is consistent and qualified for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He had a good end to last season finishing 3rd in the Barracuda Championship and T15th in the Wyndham.
Piercy clearly has the game to do well this week but will need to string all phases together. Priced at +13000 for the win, +2500 for a top 5, and +1100 for a top 10 finish, Piercy’s experience around TPC Summerlin could provide some pretty good value and could provide us with a big winner.l