The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course information, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
This a regular-sized field event, featuring 140+ starters. As the fourth stop on the PGA Tour’s swing season, the Shriner’s Hospitals Open features a few more bigger names than the first two events and some new faces we’ve yet to see this fall. Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau is in the field, as is 2017 champ Patrick Cantlay. Webb Simpson will be making his fall season debut, as will Gary Woodland and Tony Finau. As we get deeper into the fall we’re seeing more and more bigger names pop up and this week feels almost like a regular season field as players get their games in shape for some bigger events in October and November. Just a reminder that the new cut rules still apply here and only the top 65 and ties will play the weekend.
TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Par 71, 7,200-7,300 yards
This course is historically one of the easiest the players will encounter all year, although obviously weather can play a factor in how it plays, and in 2017, the wind really made for poor scoring the entire week. However, last season the weather was perfect, and the venue played as the 38th hardest overall (out of 48) and yielded a 69.369 scoring average.
One of the reasons lower scoring usually predominates here is the venue is at altitude, which means pretty much everyone can drive it relatively far, and the fact recent winners here have included shorter hitters like Ryan Moore, Kevin Na and Ben Martin should tell us right off the bat that lack of driving distance is not a huge deal. The second thing helping the players is that nothing about the setup of this course is overly difficult.
The rough generally isn’t very long, and the Bentgrass greens aren’t overly small and don’t play too fast. There are three par 5s on the course and even the longest can be reached in two due to altitude, meaning most players will have an eagle opportunity or two every round if their ball-striking is on track. While there’s a couple longer par 4s, only one or two are challenging in the sense they require players to hit a driver off the tee. Of the 11 par 4s on the course, only three measure in at more than 450 yards. The par 3s also are not overly difficult, and three of them measure in at less than 200 yards from the tee.
The obvious caveat to all this is if cold weather and wind predominate it can make conditions challenging. However, this course is all about capitalizing on opportunities (of which there will be a lot), and the player who is aggressive this week and can bury the most chances with the putter when they arise will succeed here.
2019 Weather Outlook: The weather looks beyond perfect this week. Temperatures are set to rise as the week goes on, topping out with highs in the mid-to-high-80s. This could burn out the course a bit, but as we’ve seen in past years, as long as the temperatures don’t get too cool this course generally plays quite easy. Wind, which can cause some havoc, isn’t really set to be a factor here, either, as gusts are set to remain around 10 mph or lower all week, with Thursday afternoon seeing the windiest conditions (10 mph) as of writing. It very much looks like a “fade the weather” type of event.
Past Five winners
2018—Bryson DeChambeau -21 (over Patrick Cantlay -20)
2017—Patrick Cantlay -9 (over Whee Kim playoff)
2016—Rod Pampling -20 (over Broks Koepka -18)
2015—Smylie Kaufman -16 (over six players at -15)
2014—Ben Martin -20 (over Kevin Streelman at -18)
— Five of the past eight winners of the Shriners Hospitals Open had finishes of T16 or better at this event in a year before their win.
— Six of the past nine winners had a T11 or better in their previous five tournaments leading up to their win.
– Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Putting
– Birdie or Better Percentage
– Par 4 Scoring
This should be a good event for players ranked highly in Birdie or Better Percentage. The past five winners of this event all have ranked first or second in this category for the week of their win. Despite poor conditions, 2017 winner Patrick Cantlay ended up ranking second in this category for the week.
The par 4s aren’t overly challenging as a group but they do represent some of the toughest holes on the course. Four of the past five winners here have finished inside the top 10 for the week in Par 4 Scoring, and some strong par 4 scorers (Webb Simpson, Russell Knox) have played well at this venue over their careers.
Finally, on an easier venue like TPC Summerlin, more emphasis is generally put on iron play and putting. As such, looking at Strokes Gained: Approach and players who have ranked well in this category of late is a good idea. Strong iron players like Knox, Simpson and Ryan Moore have taken to this venue well over their careers, and players with similar styles or stats can be emphasized this week. Going back five years, past winners have tended to perform well in both categories, and last year’s winner and runner-up ranked third and sixth, respectively, in SG: Approach for the week here.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
Player: Aaron Wise
Odds to Win: 60-1
DraftKings Price: $7,500
Emiliano Grillo; $7,600 and 75-1
Kevin Na; $7,700 and 70-1
Keegan Bradley; $7,500 and 80-1
Player: Byeong-Hun An
Odds to Win: 40-1
DraftKings Price: $9,000
Adam Hadwin; $9,100 and 40-1
Cameron Champ; $9,300 and 40-1
Brandt Snedeker; $9,200 and 45-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Patrick Cantlay (best finish: win-2017): Cantlay has played in this week’s event only twice, but he’s finished first and second in both of those starts. The No. 7 player in the world has dominated this week’s venue the past two years.
2. Bryson DeChambeau (best finish: win-2018): He’s right behind Cantlay in terms of course history upside. DeChambeau has gone T36-T7-win in three starts. It’s a small sample, but he clearly likes the easier setup at this week’s venue.
3. Kevin Na (best finish: win-2012): Na has a pretty nice history at this event. Over his past 10 appearances he has a WD and three missed cuts to his name, but he also won back in 2012 and finished second place in 2015. His course history is a bit boom or bust, but his upside is solid here.
4. Webb Simpson (best finish: win-2013): Simpson also deserves to be on the list this week as he has made the cut at this event in six straight starts and has three top-five finishes in that span, including a win here from back in 2013. He played well for much of last season and will be looking to close 2019 out with a win.
5. Scott Piercy (best finish: 2012-T6): Piercy has a solid record at this event, having made the cut here in nine of the past 10 seasons. Piercy is somewhat of a local and has finished inside the top 15 here in five of 10 starts as well.
1. Dylan Frittelli: He comes into this week’s event off of back-to-back top-10 finishes and closed last week with a bogey-free 66.
2. Scottie Scheffler: He took last week off, but his form remains red-hot. He hasn’t finished worse than T16 in his past five starts and ranks first in SG: Tee to Green on the season.
3. Lanto Griffin: He is becoming a near must start every week in the swing season. He made the cut on the number last week but finished T17 to make it top-20 finishes in three swing season starts already.
4. Cameron Champ: It was a huge win last week for the second-year player who won during this stretch last year as well. Champ ranked first in SG: Tee to Green last week and comes into this week’s birdie-fest with tons of confidence.
5. Sebastian Munoz: The winner two weeks ago, he was in contention with a round to play last week but fell back to finish T33. He is third in SG: Tee to Green on the season so far.
Cash Games: There’s more big names in the field this week, but I like starting with Patrick Cantlay ($11,100), who has finished runner-up/win here the past two seasons and was 13th in SG: Tee to Green last week. Both Dylan Frittelli ($8,900) and Scottie Scheffler ($8,800) have been playing great golf in the fall and look undervalued at sub-$9K price-tags. Other potential options for this format include Scott Piercy ($7,900), Aaron Wise ($7,500), Sebastian Muniz ($7,400) and Daniel Berger ($7,200).
Tournaments: Collin Morikawa ($9,500) might be a decent GPP target this week as he’s stacked with other value plays in his range and doesn’t have course history at this week’s venue. He’s coming off a T10, though, and his only win on tour also came at altitude. Gary Woodland ($9,600) also has a solid record at altitude and should be lower-owned in this range, too. Cameron Smith ($8,000) and Emiliano Grillo ($7,600) both feel like players on the verge of big weeks soon and could be under-owned here given they are both coming off missed cuts. Other potential targets include Abraham Ancer ($7,700), Russell Henley ($7,100), Peter Uihlein ($6,900), Harry Higgs ($6,600) and Patrick Rodgers ($6,500).
MY PICK: Cameron Smith ($8,000)
Smith enters this tournament trying to grind back towards his form of early 2019, which saw him land multiple top finishes, including a T6 at WGC Mexico. It’s this result from last year that intrigues me, as that event was played at altitude and therefore draws some similarities towards this week’s event. Given the thin air, which makes every player a long hitter this week, TPC Summerlin is more of a second-shot course and one that a player like Smith has tended to excel at over his career. The Aussie finished a solid 10th here on his second visit to the venue back in 2017, shooting four rounds in the 60s. He enters this year’s version off a MC but did finish T24 a couple weeks prior at the Greenbrier, where he caught the eye with a second-round 64. Top-20 in SG: Putting on the year and also eighth in Driving Accuracy, it seems like only a matter of time until Smith start reeling off more and more low rounds. He’s an attractive DFS play in my mind here at just $8,000.
MY SLEEPER: Russell Henley ($7,100)
Henley’s early season results might not jump off the page, but it is interesting to note that after a difficult 2019 season, he enters the fourth fall season event of the year having made six cuts in a row. While his putting remains hot and cold (mainly cold), the rest of his game doesn’t seem far off, as he’s still top-30 in approaches and has shown improved play around the greens of late — an area he struggled in last year. TPC Summerlin, with its emphasis on accuracy and iron control over power, is the perfect sort of venue to deploy Henley, who is one of the most accurate drivers of the ball on tour — 16th in DA last year — and one of the better short- to mid-iron players on tour. He finished T10 here in 2015 and T24 in 2016 before missing the cut here last season, but his recent upturn of form suggests we could see more of that upside flash through this week. He’s a solid upside target in big GPPs this week.
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