The PGA TOUR travels to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospital for Children Open (SHCO) at TPC Summerlin. This week’s field will consist of some players making their season debut like Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Matthew Wolff and Webb Simpson along with some making the trip from Wine Country to Sin City like former champions Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau.
TPC Summerlin will play as a Par 71, measure 7,255 yards and move to bentgrass greens this week. The course played as the 12th easiest in scoring relative to par last season and 11th the year previous. We’ve seen this course play difficult in the past; in 2018 it played as the 10th toughest course due to very windy conditions. The course layout does not have many trees nor any defense against the elements, so make sure you check the weather reports closer to the opening round on Thursday.
In 2018, The SHCO recorded the seventh most birdies and sixth most eagles on tour last season; a lot of the scoring was produced on the back-9 Par 5s, recording 62.2% of total eagles made throughout the tournament and 45% of the birdies made on the back-nine over the same timeframe.
The course will have one less Par 5 this week being a Par 71 as well as eight Par 4s under 450 yards, two of which are under 400 yards. In 2019, four of the top-5 finishers ranked inside the top-5 in Par 4 Efficiency on holes measuring between 400-450 yards and back in 2018, nine of the top-10 finishers gained strokes in the aforementioned statistical category. Other key statistics we should focus on when building lineups will again be Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green combined with Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Of those who finished inside the top-10 at TPC Summerlin last season, eight gained strokes off the tee as well as with their irons.
Webb SimpsonSimpson didn’t finish last season on a positive note, losing strokes off-the-tee in all three tournaments during the playoffs, but his form leading up to the FedEx Cup playoffs was great, finishing second at the Wyndham Championship and ranking fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. Webb loves the Wyndham Championship and has always played well there, but he also has an affinity for TPC Summerlin, winning back in 2013 and ranking fifth in Strokes Gained: Total since 2015. Over the last six tournaments, Simpson ranks 15th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, 29th in Birdie or Better gained and ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting on bent greens over the last 50 rounds.
Scottie SchefflerScheffler has been playing solid to start the season ranking 11th in both Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green and Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over his last three tournaments. Birdies need to be made at TPC Summerlin and Scheffler ranks second in Greens in Regulation percentage as well as in birdie average so far this season. Scheffler has also done well ranking 11th in Par 4 Efficiency on holes measuring from 400-450 yards over the last three tournaments.
J.T. PostonPoston recorded his first win at the Wyndham Championship last season and a few tournaments later (as well as his first tournament of the season), recorded a top-15 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He’s found something positive with his putter gaining strokes in his last seven straight tournaments, but it’s his ball-striking to get excited about. Over his six tournaments he ranks 20th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, fourth in Par 5 scoring average and third in birdie or better gained.
Lanto GriffinGriffin’s current form has been great with no worse than a 17th place over his last three tournaments and gaining an average of 5.7 strokes in putting over the same timeframe. It’s a risky proposition to “chase” solid production because it could easily regress, especially with a golfer who is putting well; Griffin’s meteoric success on the greens could go back to his average of gaining 1.7 strokes over his last 10 tournaments, but momentum and confidence is just as important as the quantifiable data we use every week.
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