2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open: Our Experts’ 16 Best Bets at TPC Summerlin
Sam Greenwood, Getty Images. Pictured: Maverick McNealy
- Bryson DeChambeau headlines the field for the 2020 Shriners Open and is the clear tournament favorite at +750, but is our staff picking him to win?
- Our experts share their favorite outright, prop and matchup bets for this weekend at TPC Summerlin.
The PGA TOUR will embark on its first-ever “Vegas Swing” with the 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
Bryson DeChambeau headlines this field and, unsurprisingly, is the clear tournament favorite at +750 ($10 bet wins $75). This is DeChambeau’s first start since he captured his first major at the U.S. Open on Sept. 20. DeChambeau, who won this event in 2018, is the only golfer in single-digit odds at the moment, just ahead of 2013 champion Webb Simpson at +1000.
There are plenty of other big names in the field including Patrick Cantlay (+2000), Hideki Matsuyama (+2200) and Rickie Fowler (+3500). Golf’s next generation is also well represented with Collin Morikawa (+2000), Scottie Scheffler (+2800) and Matthew Wolff (+2800) all inside the top-7 on the oddsboard.
Here are our favorite outright bets, sleeper picks, props and matchups for the 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open:
Joaquin Niemann (+5500)
There have been way too many times over the past couple of years when I’ve played Niemann, watching his Shot Tracker tell me something like “Shot 2 177 yds to green, 6 ft 3 in. to hole” only to then see a par pop up on his scorecard. But there’s some newfound hope.
Two seasons ago, Niemann ranked 144th in strokes gained putting. Last season, 146th. Granted, he’s only played four rounds this season, but Niemann is already sixth, which could portend big things moving forward. I do know that at 55/1, he’s mispriced this week.
He was 30/1 here pre-tourney last year against a comparable (or maybe even better) field and he’s a better player now than he was then.
Matthew Wolff (+2800)
When Wolff is on, he can contend in the deepest fields. We saw that just a few weeks ago when he held the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open prior to DeChambeau stepping on the gas to pull away on Sunday. But if Bryson is just a little off this week following his first major victory, Wolff should have the game to grab a win here.
Wolff’s driver vaulted him to an 18th-place finish here last year. He gained five strokes off the tee but was unable to supplement that with his approach. He’s been hitting his irons much better in 2020 compared to last year, so if he can keep improving from the fairway, he’ll have a good shot to contend this week.
Collin Morikawa (+2000)
As some of the stars return for their first event since the U.S. Open, I am ready to jump in on Collin Morikawa coming away with his first win of the new PGA TOUR season. He fits the mold of everything you want at TPC Summerlin with elite ball-striking and tee-to-green play, with the added bonus of his preferred Bentgrass putting surface.
He also has the type of game that will hold up well if the winds pick up as forecasted this weekend. Morikawa is simply underpriced in this field, largely due to the extreme price of DeChambeau, and this is a course that should be right in his wheelhouse.
Rickie Fowler (+3500)
I am taking a chance on Rickie this week. Although he wasn’t great when we last saw him, there are some signs that his game is rounding into form.
Fowler finished 49th at Winged Foot, which doesn’t seem great until you dig a little deeper. Rickie is one of the best putters on tour uncharacteristically lost 6.7 strokes putting while gaining 6.1 strokes tee to green, 3.5 strokes on approach, and 2.2 strokes off the tee.
I don’t expect his poor putting to continue, especially on his preferred surface of Bentgrass. Rickie also had the best putting performance of his career at TPC Summerlin when he gained 5.5 strokes on the field. There is no better place for Fowler to get into a rhythm with the flat stick.
I also find his course history encouraging; as he has finished 7th, 22nd, 25th, and 4th (2018) in his four appearances at the course.
Maverick McNealy (+14000)
I listed him as my favorite outright in my preview this week, but I’ll downgrade McNealy to simply favorite sleeper for the sake of this conversation.
It’s been a minute since I last picked a player with triple-digit odds to win a tourney, but that’s how well McNealy rolled his rock last week, leading the Sanderson Farms field in putting – and how much of a factor that could be this week.
If anything, we can at least conclude that he’s underpriced for his potential upside. Even if you don’t want to hop aboard this outright play, McNealy should work for props and in DFS lineups, as well.
MJ Daffue (+25000)
Daffue is used to playing his way into PGA TOUR events via Monday qualifiers, but a sponsor’s exemption takes that pressure off this week.
The South African finished fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green at last week’s Sanderson Farms but he struggled to finish off holes on the Bermuda greens. The Bentgrass putting surfaces at TPC Summerlin should suit Daffue better as he tries to string together some good results and lock up his TOUR card.
Denny McCarthy (+9000)
McCarthy has a tendency to be streaky with his ball-striking and he is trending in the right direction after his sixth-place finish at the Sanderson Farms. He’s also had good success at TPC Summerlin with a 15th and a 9th the last two years.
This tournament has a tendency to turn into a putting contest, as evidenced by Kevin Na’s win last year where he gained 0 strokes on the field tee-to-green, but gained 14 strokes with his putter. I wouldn’t expect anything that drastic again, but McCarthy was the best putter on TOUR last season and with his ball-striking in form, the stars seem to be aligned for this longshot.
Matt Kuchar (+8500)
When betting guys towards the bottom of the board, I like to target win equity. Outright bets only pay out if the guy wins. It doesn’t matter if he comes in second or 100th. Kuchar has nine wins on the PGA TOUR and has started to play better with his irons. Although he missed the cut at Winged Foot, he did so while gaining 4.6 on approach; which was his best performance in that category in over a calendar year.
Kuch plays well in the desert — he is a staple on the leaderboard at Waste Management (TPC Scottsdale) — and is a great putter on bentgrass.
Kuchar is a good fit for a tournament that may turn out to be a putting contest.
Abraham Ancer Top-20 Finish (+250)
My original pick here was Tony Finau for a top-10, but a positive COVID-19 test announced Tuesday by the PGA TOUR led to his withdrawal from this event.
Instead, I’ll go with Ancer, who has shown a propensity for playing well during the late-summer/early-fall time of year. His results at this one have been all-or-nothing, with three MCs, but a T-4 two years ago that I’m banking on repeating.
So far in 2020, he’s played 15 events and finished top-20 eight times, which suggests there’s some nice value on this number.
Louis Oosthuizen Top-20 Finish(+220)
Normally, I like to have some course history to back up these top-20 plays, but I’ll make an exception here for Louis, who is making his tournament debut this week.
Oosthuizen has finished inside the top-20 in three of his last five starts in stronger fields. He’s also gained both off the tee and with the approach in all five of those events. That’s his longest streak of good ball-striking since 2015.
Harold Varner III Top-10 Finish (+700)
It was a strong close to last season for Varner and he shook off the rust in a 29th-place finish at the Safeway to start the new campaign. I look for him to carry that momentum into this week at a course where he has had some decent results buoyed by some impressive putting numbers, but never quite put it all together.
Varner has gained more than 2 strokes on the greens at TPC Summerlin in each of the last three tournaments he’s played here, and that is typically the club that holds him back.
I love that he clearly has comfort on these greens, and if he can continue that, with his usual good ball-striking, he’ll be in contention this weekend.
Harris English Top-5 Finish (+550)
You can’t find a better fit for TPC Summerlin than Harris English. He finds the fairway and can get scorching hot with the putter, especially on bentgrass. When we last saw him he was gaining strokes on the field in every category on his way to an impressive fourth-place finish in the U.S. Open.
English has two top 5’s in his past four starts and I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue on a track that should be a perfect match for his skill set.
Cam Smith (-112) over Harold Varner III
I’m taking one of the game’s better wedge players, who’s trending in the right direction, on a course which suits his game over one of the game’s most charismatic players, who’s shown inconsistent results recently, on a course which has never really suited his game.
Smith has finished top-40 in each of his last four starts and he’s gone 13th-10th in his last two appearances in Vegas. Varner meanwhile, owns some solid finishes lately, but three top-30s in his last six have been offset by three MCs and while he’s played each of the last five years in Vegas, only once has he finished better than 48th place.
Sebastian Munoz (-112) over Kevin Na
It’s a bit of a risk fading Na given that he’s won this event twice and finished second once, but he doesn’t have a top-20 finish in his six other starts at TPC Summerlin over the last decade. It’s been a boom or bust course for him, making him a great outright selection, but someone we may also find an edge on in matchups.
Na hasn’t been in great form over the past few months, and while Munoz doesn’t have much of a track record here, he’s finished ahead of Na in four straight events.
Brian Harman (-112) over Charley Hoffman
I was notably opposed to what I saw from Charley Hoffman last week twice writing him up as a fade during the event. To his credit he finished 6th despite losing strokes on approach, but it’s his 6.7 strokes gained putting that has me carrying the fade into this week.
Harman on the other hand gained strokes in both ball-striking categories, but was bit by his around the green game on way to a 37th-place finish.
I’ll trend with the ball-striker and player with two Top 15s in his last two appearances at the Shriners, while expecting a bit of a struggle for Hoffman.
Harris English (-125) over Paul Casey
I like English in this matchup because of consistency. English holds the longest made-cut streak in this field (9) and I expect more consistent play this week. Putting will also be a very important component at TPC Summerlin and I trust English (5th in this field in SG:Putting bentgrass) a lot more than I trust Casey (76th in this field in SG:Putting bentgrass).