Pete’s Picks: Shriners Children’s Open
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Pete’s Picks: Shriners Children’s Open



The PGA Tour returns to Las Vegas this week for the third event of the 2021-22 season.  The fall events seem to always draw relatively weak fields, but the contingent teeing it up at TPC Summerlin is strong this year, with seven of the world’s top 20 and 27 of the world’s top 50 scheduled to play.

Several members of both Ryder Cup teams—Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler, Harris English, Paul Casey, and Viktor Hovland—return to the PGA Tour this week. Martin Laird enters as the defending champion after defeating Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook in a playoff.

DraftKings divide players into tiers for their golf-only tier format. The tiers are tournament favorite, bomber, ball striker, short gamer, birdie maker, and long shot.

Tournament Favorite

Players:

Viktor Hovland

Brooks Koepka

Sam Burns

The Pick: Viktor Hovland

Hovland is coming off a solid showing at his first Ryder Cup, where his play was better than his 0-3-2 record would indicate. TPC Summerlin doesn’t provide much of a test tee-to-green, and Hovland hasn’t lost strokes on approach shots since The Masters. He should knock down plenty of flagsticks and dismantle the golf course this week.

Bomber

Players:

Will Zalatoris

Abraham Ancer

Scottie Scheffler

Hideki Matsuyama

Patrick Reed

The Pick: Scottie Scheffler

He hasn’t yet recorded his first PGA Tour win, but Scheffler is probably the most confident player in the world—aside from maybe Ryder Cup teammate Dustin Johnson—entering the week. Scheffler played well with Bryson DeChambeau in four balls and took down world number one Jon Rahm in singles, setting the tone for the Americans’ record-setting victory. Scheffler should keep things rolling and will be in good position to pick up his first win in Vegas.

Ball Striker

Players:

Louis Oosthuizen

Paul Casey

Harris English

Webb Simpson

Sungjae Im

The Pick: Webb Simpson

Simpson has gained 1.73 strokes per round, the most in the field among players who have logged at least 10 rounds at TPC Summerlin. Simpson had a relatively down year last season with just six top-10s in 21 events, but he has four top-20 finishes in his last six starts and should be motivated after failing to make the Ryder Cup team.

Short Gamer

Players:

Joaquin Niemann

Corey Conners

Charley Hoffman

Jason Kokrak

Adam Scott

Cameron Tringale

Si Woo Kim

The Pick: Corey Conners

Conners got his season off to a solid start with a T17 finish last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but his play was even better than the result would suggest, as he finished sixth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green per round. His ball striking plays at any course, and should cover up deficiencies on and around the greens.

Birdie Maker

Players:

Mito Pereira

Cameron Davis

Russell Henley

Aaron Wise

Talor Gooch

Erik Van Rooyen

Matthew Wolff

The Pick: Mito Pereira

Pereira played well after earning a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour last season, posting top-10 finishes in three of his eight PGA Tour starts. Pereira also got off to a good start this fall with a third place finish at the Fortinet Championship.

His Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green number would’ve ranked in the top-10 had he notched enough starts to qualify. He seems poised to be a breakout player in 2021-22 and could earn his first win this week.

Long Shot

Players:

Emiliano Grillo

Cameron Young

Rasmus Højgaard

Ian Poulter

Kevin Kisner

Lucas Glover

Rickie Fowler

The Pick: Cameron Young

Young finished T2 in Mississippi in what was just his fifth career start on the PGA Tour, but that result was far from a fluke. Young won twice, had a runner-up finish, and totaled six top-10s in 28 events on the Korn Ferry Tour last season. His Korn Ferry Tour wins came in back-to-back weeks, so he knows how to get on a hot streak, and his good results should continue this week.

About the author

Peter Santo

Peter Santo

Peter Santo is a golf writer and a graduate of Emerson College. He previously covered all sports for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and The Washington Times.

When not writing about or playing golf, he can often be found listening to or creating country music.

He can be reached by email at petersanto1129@gmail.com

Follow him on Twitter @_PeterSanto