PGA Tour players who regularly build their early-season schedules around the West Coast swing received an unexpected benefit from the coronavirus pandemic.
This week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin will be followed by the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek, a Las Vegas doubleheader created when the CJ Cup was moved from South Korea. The ZOZO Championship the following week will be held in California rather than Japan.
The back-to-back Las Vegas events were a welcome advent for the Tour’s numerous area residents.
That includes PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, who said he lives “eight minutes, maybe” from TPC Summerlin. He’s the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 5, but Morikawa is not the pre-tournament betting favorite.
That honor goes to Bryson DeChambeau.
Teeing it up for the first time since his first major triumph at last month’s U.S. Open, DeChambeau is one of the biggest pre-tournament favorites of the year. Offered at +750 by PointsBet, DeChambeau’s next closest competitor is Webb Simpson at +1100.
One of Simpson’s seven career PGA Tour titles came at TPC Summerlin in 2013. He also has victories at the 2012 U.S. Open in California and the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year, so the sixth-ranked Simpson is certainly fond of West Coast golf.
Patrick Cantlay has joined the plethora of Tour pros who have migrated to Florida, but the California native and UCLA alumnus has enjoyed incredible success at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. In three previous starts, Cantlay won in 2017 and has finished runner-up each of the past two years.
Cantlay, the third betting favorite at +1500 by PointsBet, acknowledged that he feels very comfortable at TPC Summerlin, where he looks at every hole as a birdie hole.
How Low Can the Scores Go This Weekend in Ponte Vedra Beach?
Scores will be low this week, which could play into the hands of streaky players enjoying pristine conditions.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama continues to rack up quality finishes despite lacking a win since 2017. He’s +1800 and has been in good form with three consecutive top-20 finishes, highlighted by a T3 at the BMW Championship in the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Matthew Wolff has also shown how low he can go, twice holding the 54-hole lead over the summer only to be overtaken — or overwhelmed — by DeChambeau in the final round. That included the U.S. Open. Wolff (+2200) will be paired with DeChambeau for the first two rounds as the PGA Tour builds a bit of a rivalry between the 20-something rising stars.
Harris English (+2500) and Scottie Scheffler (+2800) also enjoyed strong summers following the Tour’s mid-June re-start.
English has quietly posted a pair of top-10s and a solo 13th in his past four events.
He has made nine consecutive cuts and finished inside the top 25 in all but one of those events. That includes The Northern Trust, where English posted four rounds in the 60s but simply couldn’t keep up with Dustin Johnson’s record-setting 30-under performance.
While English has been extremely consistent in 2020 overall, he hasn’t posted a victory on Tour since 2013.
Scheffler graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour last year and has steadily risen to No. 30 in the world. That came courtesy of three top-five finishes in four events leading up to the U.S. Open. However, that momentum came to a screeching halt with a positive COVID-19 test that kept him out of Winged Foot, and Scheffler stumbled to a T37 against a modest field at last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship following the layoff.
PGA Odds Longshots to Keep an Eye Out at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open
Worth keeping an eye on are longshots with a familiarity and history at TPC Summerlin.
Defending champion Kevin Na has won the event twice, yet he is being offered at +6000 by PointsBet as the tournament boasts a bit of a strong field this week.
Fellow Las Vegas resident Maverick McNealy offers event longer odds at +10000 as the world’s 173rd-ranked player seeks his first Tour victory.
They will all have to overcome DeChambeau.
Cantlay said TPC Summerlin rewards driving the ball accurately, but the bulked-up DeChambeau will again throw caution to the wind in an effort to overpower the 7,255-yard, par 71 track.
DeChambeau is being offered at +105 in a 3-ball prob bet with Wolff (+175) and Cameron Champ (+311). In a quirky stat, this is Champ’s second start of the 2020-21 season and he has won in his second start each of the past two years, albeit in different events. Champ has a T28 and a missed cut in the past two Shriners.
BetAmerica is offering DeChambeau at -135 in a tournament prop bet vs. Simpson (+105), and a Round 1 prop bet for DeChambeau (-140) against Simpson (+105).
DeChambeau is the +1600 outright winner favorite at the book, followed by Simpson (+2200), Cantlay (+2500) and Matsuyama and Morikawa at +3000.
It is a top-heavy field this week with three top-10 players, and FanDuel is offering a tournament winner prop bet without DeChambeau, Simpson, Cantlay or Morikawa.
Matsuyama has the shortest odds at +1600, followed by Wolff (+2100) and Louis Oosthuizen (+2200), who was in the Sunday mix in his last start at the U.S. Open.
–Field Level Media