2021 Shriners Children’s Open Round 3 Buys & Fades: Hovland, Wolff Lead Options to Make Charge
Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Wolff.
With two rounds in the books at the Shriners Children’s Open, we have a jammed leaderboard featuring 12 golfers within three shots of the lead.
Sungjae Im and Chad Ramey sit at the top at -14 with Sam Burns and Adam Schenk close on their heels at -13. Sungjae rode a hot putter in Round 2 as he gained 2.4 strokes on the field and shot a solid score of 65 after his 63 on Thursday.
Although he is a shot behind Im and Ramey at the moment, the man to beat this week is likely Burns. Coming off of a win in his most recent start at the Country Club of Jackson, the blossoming star is showing no signs of slowing down.
Let’s take a look at the strokes gained data from Round 2 to identify three buys and three fades for Round 3.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3
Viktor Hovland: Throughout the first two rounds at TPC Summerlin, Hovland has been steady but unspectacular in terms of his overall score. However, his stats paint a different picture. Halfway through the event, Hovland leads the field in Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking and is fourth in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach.
The Norwegian’s downfall thus far has been his around-the-green game (-2.4 strokes) which has been an issue for him in the past. In addition to the chipping struggles, his putter has been extremely average as well. If he can get the short game figured out he has a chance to get into contention on Sunday. There is certainly some value on his current odds to win the tournament at +4100 on FanDuel as of Saturday morning.
Matthew Wolff: Whenever you see Matthew Wolff’s name near the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend, you expect he will likely be in the mix come Sunday in one way or another.
The inconsistent but talented 22-year-old had a solid start last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship (17th) and seems to be building some momentum. He is gaining 3.4 strokes on approach, which typically suggests he probably is going to stick around and compete deep into the weekend.
The 2020 U.S. Open runner-up is +1200 on BetMGM.
Talor Gooch: Gooch sits at -11 and just three back of the lead heading into the weekend and is striking the ball as well as any golfer in the field. He currently leads the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green with +7.0 which is close to a stroke better than Sam Burns (+6.2) who is second in the field.
Gooch is one of the better iron players on TOUR and certainly has what it takes to go low in a birdie-fest. He’s +2500 on BetMGM.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3
Adam Schenk: Schenk is currently second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting where he is gaining 4.2 strokes on the field. While he is a pretty good putter overall, it is fair to wonder whether or not he can keep up that pace and putt his way to a victory. The rest of his game actually looks pretty good through the first two rounds, and he is gaining 3.9 strokes on approach thus far.
Despite the solid play, I see no evidence that Schenk can actually win this golf tournament based on what we have seen from him on TOUR to this point. Since making his debut in October of 2017, Schenk only has one top five in his entire career. If history is any indicator, then it seems to be a safe bet that he will fade on the weekend.
Rory Sabbatini: Sabbs is playing some decent golf this week gaining 2.0 strokes on approach and 3.1 strokes from tee to green. However, the area of his game that is responsible for most of his scoring thus far is his putting where he is gaining 3.4 strokes on the field. Sabbatini is a negative putter lifetime and struggles with the flat stick on a regular basis, making him a strong candidate for regression on Saturday.
Cameron Tringale: In contrast to my previous two fades who are at least playing reasonably well from tee to green, Tringale isn’t showing much of anything that could be considered encouraging in terms of statistics through the midway point of the tournament.
He’s gaining 3.1 strokes putting and is gaining less than a stroke in every other significant strokes-gained metric. To keep pace in a birdie-fest, playing at a field-average level from tee to green for the week simply isn’t going to cut it.