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Shriners Children’s Open: Best Bets

The PGA Tour is headed to Sin City, as their surprisingly decent field will tee it up at TPC Summerlin. The beautiful desert course has historically seen success from some of the world’s best, as recent winners Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Sung-Jae Im, and Tom Kim all took the crown. Tom Kim is currently the betting favorite at +1100, looking to go back to back in Vegas. I wouldn’t be shocked if scorching-hot Ludvig Aberg goes lower than Kim by Thursday. It’s starting to seem it’s only a matter of time before Aberg is contending with the world’s best and winning majors.

Unfortunately for Ludvig, TPC Summerlin has typically neutralized drivers, his biggest asset. As long as you don’t find yourself in the desert areas with bad misses, there will be plenty of birdie opportunities with short irons and wedges in hand. The rough itself will not prove too difficult for finding greens and saving pars. Long hitters can still win here, as shown with DeChambeau and Cantlay, but the elevation advantages for the shorter hitters is where I will base my bets. Most of the players with the best history here share a similar aspect in their game. They are consistently gaining in all other strokes gained categories other than distance.

With this in mind, it’s worth mentioning my favorite storyline of the week: Lexi Thompson.

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Shriners Children’s Open: Best Bets and Top Plays

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson will be the 7th female golfer to play on the PGA Tour. As none of them have ever had any success, Thompson certainly has an uphill battle facing her. While she’s not expected to make the cut, the course and elevation certainly plays to her advantage. She averages 270 yards off the tee, which would rank dead last on Tour by 2 yards (Brian Stuard). Funny enough, Stuard finished 4th here just 4 years ago…

Will she probably finish towards the bottom of the leaderboard? Probably. But I do think there’s a very small chance she could fight her way into the weekend. It would take 2 really solid days scrambling and making putts, but Lexi Thompson is a good golfer, and any good golfer can get hot.

Best Bets

J.T. Poston (+2800)

J.T. Poston had been as low as 200 in the 2022 OWGR, but his game has slowly but surely gotten great. He had a fantastic final 2 months of the 2022-2023 season, finishing T7 or better in 4 of his final 7 events. The statistics in these events make Poston’s fit for TPC Summerlin absolutely mouthwatering.

Poston gained strokes putting in all 7 events, including 4+ strokes in 4 events. He barely lost strokes around the green in the final 2 events of the season. In the 5 events prior to that, he gained at least 2 strokes around the greens. Most importantly, Poston gained strokes approaching the green in his final 6 events. J.T.’s real nemesis is his driver. He lost strokes in 5 of his final 6 events but consistently does so by losing slightly in both distance and accuracy.

At TPC Summerlin, J.T. Poston will see help with both added distance to his game and fairly easy rough. His misses aren’t typically bad, ranking above average in distance from edge of fairway. Should his driver be decent enough, J.T. can compete with anyone playing this tournament. The 2-time winner on Tour is playing the most consistent golf of his career, and Vegas should set up perfectly for his game.

Ryan Moore (+15000) (+1100 Top 10/+400 Top 20)

Let’s be clear from the beginning. Betting money on Ryan Moore to win a PGA event is probably a bad idea. But I have a few reasons for why I think he’s worth consideration for a small wager to win and for finishing positions.

Moore won this event in 2012 when it was  Justin Timberlake’s co-sponsored event with Shriners. Sure it was 11 years ago, but he’s also made the cut here in 7 of his 9 tournaments since that victory. He’s finished T15 or better 3 times as well. TPC Summerlin is definitely a place where Ryan Moore feels comfortable.

His game has certainly declined with age. As he’s lost his distance, he hasn’t been able to find real success on Tour for the past 2 or 3 years. With the exception of a T10 maybe once a year, most tournaments nowadays are only 36 holes for Moore.  He missed 71% of the cuts this past season. However, his irons have been very hot as of late, gaining a collective 9.6 strokes in his last 3 events. The rest of his game has been bad, but he’s always found success in the short game at TPC Summerlin.

Just like J.T., Ryan Moore will definitely take advantage of the added distance in ball flight. If his irons can stay hot, his history here will hopefully assist in some success in the short game. For him to win, it would take an incredibly perfect 4 days from Ryan. Maybe 1 or 2 bogeys all week. While that’s a long shot, I believe he is definitely worth using when placing finishing position bets. I think both Top 10 and Top 20 are certainly possible for Moore this weekend.

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