After the first two events of the wrap-around PGA Tour season, both of which with somewhat weaker fields, it is great to see some of the big names returning to tee it up in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. It was a surprise winner who took this event last season, and at a mouth-watering three figure price, so there are plenty that will fancy their chances to win in Sin City. Having said that, I have narrowed the field down to just three who I believe can dazzle in the desert. But first…
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Shriners Hospitals for Children Open details
Venue: TPC Summerlin, Nevada, USA
Date: October 7-10, 2021
Course stats: Par 71; 7,255 yards
Course summary: In keeping with the local landscape, this venue is a relatively easy desert track. The signature four-hole finishing stretch adds some drama to proceedings, with birdies or better on offer to the brave few who gamble. Quality ball striking and prowess off-the-tee are good indicators for success here, while length is an advantage rather than a necessity. Larger than average bentgrass greens await the players, who will need to make plenty of birdies to compete at an event which has a 21-under-par average winning score.
Purse: $7 million
Defending champion: Martin Laird (-23)
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Red Button from 2.30pm and Sky Sports Golf from 10pm
Friday: Sky Sports Red Button from 2.30pm, Sky Sports Golf from 8pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.15pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 10pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 10pm
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open betting tips
Bazza’s Banker – Abraham Ancer @ 22/1 with bet365
This selection is an absolute no-brainer for me, especially considering the way Ancer closed out the season in style at East Lake. The Mexican has been in sublime form in recent months, winning the WGC FedEx St Jude and finishing 9th in both of the final two play-off events. He also finished in the top-10 in 30 per cent of his starts last season, highlighting the quality and consistency he possesses.
Ancer has finished fourth on two of his previous four visits to TPC Summerlin, and will perhaps feel unlucky not to have done slightly better last year when shooting his weakest round on Sunday to finish three shots back. In the 12 months since that performance he has gone from strength-to-strength, ranking 13th for SG: Total and in the top 30 for four of the five key measures. His accurate, methodical style of play will be crucial here, so I expect a strong challenge from Ancer as a justified favourite in the betting.
Each-way bet: Joaquin Niemann @ 50/1 with bet365
Niemann is another player who had a solid and dependable season last year, but perhaps didn’t reach his full potential. Three runner-up finishes will sting a little, especially as he looks to add to his sole PGA Tour win, but I like his chances this week.
Niemann has a good track record in this event, finishing T10 and T13 in two of three attempts here. While it may look disappointing on paper, a missed cut in 2020 came after Niemann shot a pair of 69s so was perhaps a tad unlucky in a strong field. With that in mind, it is worth noting that Niemann has never shot a round above 69 in this event – over 10 rounds of golf – so we can certainly expect him to figure over the weekend.
In the 12 months since his last appearance here, Niemann ranks 10th for SG: Off-the-tee and 21st for SG: Tee-to-green, so he certainly has the skillset to be successful in the desert this week.
The Longshot: Luke List @ 100/1 with bet365
It has been a strong start to the wrap-around season for Luke List, with an impressive final round 65 seeing him finish in the top-20 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Although List still searches for his first PGA Tour win, Five top-10 finishes last season, including two top-5s, indicate he is capable of big performances when he finds the right venue.
His course form here suggests that TPC Summerlin could tick that box, with three top-20 finishes here in his last four appearances. His recent stats also suggest he is up for the task, ranking 18th for SG: Off-the-tee in the last twelve months. At a big price, and off-the-back of a strong performance, he could be a dark horse in this competition.
For more prices, visit bet365.