We are into the fifth leg of the swing season now as the PGA heads back to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospital Open. This is an annual event which has a lengthy history at this course (TPC Summerlin) so the good news is we have some shot-link stats and lots of course history to work with this week. The field for this event is devoid of most of the big names but there are still some lots of solid PGA pros taking part, and after three straight no-cut events a full-field PGA event with a cut after Friday (down to top 70 and ties) is a nice change for DraftKings purposes.
Venue: TPC Summerlin is a Par 71 that usually plays relative easy for Tour standards. The course itself isn’t overly short at right under 7,300 yards, but the fact this event is played at some altitude means the ball travels further than normal and so players often end up with shorter than normal approaches. We have seen a variety of players do well at this venue, including bombers like Brooks Koepka and Smylie Kaufman, however players who rely on placement off the tee and strong iron play—Ryan Moore, Ben Martin, Webb Simpson and Russell Knox—always seem to pop up here. Given the nature of the course this week, and fact it is played at altitude, one interesting correlation course-wise can be found by looking at the results from the other event that takes place in Nevada (also at altitude), the Barracuda Open. Several players who have done well at the Barracuda have put up nice finishes at this event too.
Chesson Hadley ($10,100): It’s a strange feeling paying over 10k for a player who didn’t even have a Tour card last season, but Hadley’s game simply does not seem to have many equals (at least in this week’s field) at the moment. Hadley has now accumulated four top-five finishes over his last five starts, including T3 and solo second place finishes in the last two tour events. Last week he came in second but ranked first in SG: Tee to Green, second in Approaches and third in Off the Tee stats. Every facet of his game is clicking right now and to boot, he also has a high finish of T5 at this week’s venue from back in 2013. He’s a nice anchor play this week.
Byeong Hun-An ($9,100): An is a player who can sometimes be frustrating to watch, but when he is on, he’s undoubtedly capable of hanging with the best players in the world. After a slow stretch towards the end of last season, An has picked things up again, placing T21 and T11 in his last two appearances. Of note was the fact he was not only in contention late in Korea, but also that he actually led the field there in birdies made—a good sign for this week. He’s played well in other dessert venues over his career and could be set up for a big week on this easier setup.
Jamie Lovemark ($8,700): Lovemark is another player who can sometimes be frustrating to follow as he often shows glimpses of great play, only to quickly undo them. He comes into the week playing well however as showed by some excellent ball-striking while in Korea, finishing his last two rounds there at five under par—and finished T5 for the week while playing in tough conditions. He too has played well in this part of the country before and nearly won at the CareerBuilder in Palm Springs in 2016. He was top 15 at this venue a couple of years back and looks setup for possible big week here as well.
Just Missed: Patrick Cantlay
Sam Saunders ($7,500): Only about a month ago he shot 59 at a web.com event, and even though he went on to finish second in that event he’s shown flashes of great play throughout the latter portion of 2017. Saunders also has played well in Nevada before, posting back-to-back top ten finishes at the Barracuda Championship the last two seasons. He ranked 20th on tour in birdie or better percentage last season and should be well suited for a shootout in this part of the country.
Patrick Rodgers ($7,200): Rodgers hasn’t lit the world on fire in the swing season, but he hasn’t been awful either. He made the cut at the Safeway Open and followed it up with a couple of average results in Asia. This week’s venue should be more to his liking however as the long hitter has done well at proverbial “birdie fests” over his career, and has nearly won both the Barracuda Championship (also held in Nevada at altitude) and the John Deere Classic. Rodgers put up a strong T13 finish at this event last season, which included rounds of 66 and 65. He’s a nice play this week on an easier setup where his aggressiveness should pay off.
Aaron Wise ($6,900): Wise is a recent web.com grad who has won at every level he’s played on before joining the Tour. He’s coming off a nice week at the Sanderson Farms last week where he finished T25 and should be more comfortable this week on a venue he is very familiar with. Wise was T10 at TPC Summerlin last season on his debut and has spent time in Vegas as part of his off-season training. At under 7k he’s shaping up as a potential great play this week and is a player you’ll want to watch going forward in 2018 for DFS.
Just Missed: Seamus Power
High-upside GPP Picks
Anirban Lahiri ($10,300): Lahiri will be making his first visit to TPC Summerlin this week but everything suggests he should take to the venue. Lahiri has been busy over the swing season and on top of representing the International Team at the President’s Cup, he also posted T5 and T10 finishes in the recent Asian swing through Korea and Malaysia; so he comes into the week in what appears to be very good form. Lahiri ranked inside the top 20 in birdie or better percentage last season and is generally a great iron player when his game is on, which again should set him up well for this week’s test. He’s a perfect gpp pick for DraftKings scoring and should give you a shot at piling up some extra bonuses here.
Matt Jones ($7,100): Jones’ recent form doesn’t look too great, but a closer inspection tells us that his ball-striking isn’t all that far off. Even though he missed the cut last week, Jones actually hit over 75% of greens in regulation and it was really only a cold-putter and some sloppy play in round two which held him back from more. The former Tour winner, actually finished T5 only three starts ago so his recent form isn’t as bad as it appears and given that he should be ready to pile up some good weeks early this season—and that he was T15 at this event last year—means he should get consideration as a gpp target in DFS this week.
Just Missed: Derek Fathauer, Cameron Tringale
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Chesson Hadley, Jamie Lovemark, Byeong Hun-An, Patrick Cantlay, Aaron Wise, Patrick Rodgers
– Sam Saunders, Seamus Power, Anirban Lahiri, Matt Jones, Cameron Tringale, Derek Fathauer
Byeong Hun-An 45-1
Jamie Lovemark 55-1 EW
Sam Saunders 100-1 EW
Matt Jones 125-1 EW
Derek Fathauer 250-1 EW and 11-1 top 20