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Shriners Open 2021 Odds & Betting Preview: Webb Simpson headlines six selections

Shriners Open 2021 Odds and Betting Preview: Webb Simpson features.
Shriners Open 2021 Odds and Betting Preview: Webb Simpson features.

After a long wait between PGA Tour winners, two have arrived at once. Sam Burns putting on a sublime ball-striking performance to pick up his 2nd PGA Tour title and bag us another winner in the process, at 16/1. A good week made better by a nice place return for the talented Hayden Buckley at 200/1. Can we make it three in a row?

Shriners Open Tips

This week the PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas, for the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin. The sole home of this event and its various incarnations since 2008.

TPC Summerlin is a 7255 yard par 71, though plays shorter due to being at altitude. A tree-lined desert parkland course, with generous fairways and big, gently undulating bentgrass greens. It’s not difficult to see why the course has typically been a birdie-fest since its introduction onto the PGA Tour.

It’s pretty unremarkable throughout, though does come alive in the closing four holes. With the drivable par 4 15th, a reachable par 5 16th, which is protected by water, a par 3 17th, also protected by water and a tricky, lengthy par 4, with water once again in play, to finish.

There’s more than one way to do it around here and it’s the type of setup that gives everyone a chance. Shown by the last three winners here, where we’ve had Martin Laird last year and Bryson DeChambeau in 2018 excelling in approach play, with Kevin Na sandwiched in between, who won in 2019 through an unbelievable performance on the greens, despite losing strokes tee-to-green.

One thing’s for sure, you have to make birdies and plenty of them. Of the 13 times the event has been staged here, and here alone, 10 of the winning scores have been -20 or better. The 2017 version, won by Patrick Cantlay the toughest year, when the conditions meant -9 was good enough.

The weather is predicted to be dry and warm, which should mean we get firm greens like we had over the weekend last year. Though the course may have a bit more bite over the opening couple of days, with some moderate winds forecast, they’re not too severe and die down over the weekend. Meaning we should expect something close to or exceeding that -20 mark again.

A strong field descends. With 11 of the world’s top 25 teeing it up. World #8 Louis Oosthuizen the highest ranked player. With 3 members of that victorious American Ryder Cup team, Brooks Koepka, Harris English and Scottie Scheffler, also playing in Vegas.

Golf betting tips
Webb Simpson each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-10-04 20:40 Odds subject to change.

It’s a really wide open market, with Brooks Koepka the 20/1 favourite and I really looked at almost everyone up the top, but its 2013 champion of this event, Webb Simpson, who gets the nod as the headline selection. 

2020 was a huge year for Simpson, picking up two titles and six other top 10s to go with them in just 17 starts. Fast forward to this year and despite not picking up a title, he’s remained ultra-consistent. Missing 3 cuts from 17 and amassing 4 top 10s. The win has alluded him but this event sets up perfectly and he looks primed for a big week.

Webb has visited TPC Summerlin 10 times, missing the cut just once, on debut in 2009. Since then, he’s won once, in 2013, also finishing 4th twice and has only been out of the top 25 on two occasions in his last 9 visits, following the missed cut in 2009.

He loves it here because it plays to his strengths. You don’t need to be long off the tee because of how short the course plays. He putts for fun, ranking 22nd on tour last season and last finished outside the top 25 in putting back in 2017. He’s a quality iron player, ranking 38th in approach and a superb 8th in birdie average, important in this typically low scoring affair. 

We last saw him three-weeks ago in the Fortinet Championship, where he finished 30th after a poor closing 74. But he’s a bit of a horses for courses type, regularly showing up at the same events year after year and this week represents the perfect opportunity for Simpson to finally get his rewards for a year of consistency.

Si-woo Kim each-way (6 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-10-04 20:45 Odds subject to change.

I found it impossible to ignore Si-woo Kim this week. In excellent form, with a run of 2-MC-29-11-8 in his last 5 events and course form numbers that read 25-15-55-8. He looks sure for a big week.

It’s no surprise he has a good record here, as these short, attackable courses are generally where he excels. Three wins on the PGA Tour, the first when shooting  -21 to win the Wyndham Championship in 2016. The most recent this year, when winning The American Express with a score of -23. Both short courses, and events often won with low scores. 

A victory at The Players Championship sandwiched in between, and though he won that with a score of -10 - being a TPC course, with a similar water laden finish, it’s another event which often offers clues to who can go well at Summerlin.

He’s doing pretty much everything well at the minute, though the ball-striking was the key to his 8th place finish last week. Ranking 5th in approach and 11th off-the-tee, complimenting the ball-striking nicely by ranking 23rd in putting. 

He looks to be trending towards a 2nd PGA Tour win of the year and a trip to such a suitable venue for Kim looks to be arriving at just the right time.

Matthew Wolff each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-10-04 20:50 Odds subject to change.

Matthew Wolff gets the nod again after a really encouraging week at the Sanderson Farms. One that saw him finish 17th coming off the back of a six week break. Hopefully sharper for the experience he can continue an excellent record here, that has seen him finish 18th and 2nd in two starts to date.

He started solidly last week and despite an underwhelming 2nd round, he rallied over the weekend with rounds of 65 and 68, which saw him shoot only a shot worse for Saturday/Sunday than eventual winner Sam Burns. That weekend improvement was all to do with the approach play. Losing strokes over the first two rounds, he found something and ranked as the 14th and 15th best iron player in the field on Saturday and Sunday respectively, with every other aspect of his game firing at some point.

He is a shorter price this week, in a stronger field but I think it’s acceptable. A promising performance in his last start after a significant break, combined with an excellent record here and him just possessing a level of ability better than most. Hopefully he can kick on now after a tricky 2020/21 season and we’ll see this likeable Californian back in the winner’s circle sooner rather than later.

Marc Leishman each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-10-04 20:55 Odds subject to change.

I was a little surprised at the price of Marc Leishman this week. As a five-time PGA Tour winner, he’s a class act and though he’s not had the best of years by his usual standards, there’s been moments of promise. No more so than last time out when he finished 4th at the Fortinet Championship.

He was superb that week, finishing with a 65, the joint best round of the day. His performance at Silverado was built on quality approach play, where he ranked 6th and a great week with the putter, ranking the 2nd best player in the field with the flat stick. A repeat of that should see him contend this week.

He hasn’t played here since a missed cut in 2010, but does have form at correlating courses, most notably being a winner of the Travelers Championship at another TPC course, River Highlands, an event with plenty of form-lines that tie in with the Shriners Open.

He’s a proven winner and with the quality recent play, looks a danger this week. At 66/1 he rated as the best value bet in the field for me this week.

Stephan Jaeger each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-10-04 21:05 Odds subject to change.

The first of this week’s longshots is the man who topped the Korn Ferry Tour money list, picking up two titles in the two-year rotation, Germany’s Stephan Jaeger. The second of those wins took him to 2nd in the all-time Korn Ferry Tour winner’s list. Jaeger will be feeling it’s now time he won on the big stage and an event like this represents the most likely place for him to do so.

He bounced back from a missed cut at the Fortinet Championship in the season opener, by finishing 26th last week, opening with three straight rounds in the 60s. His short game to thanks for that performance, where he ranked 4th around the greens and 18th in putting. His ball-striking was a bit off but there’s been an emphasis on quality driving in those two previous events, the weakest part of his game and I believe this week’s venue suits his game more.

He’s all about making birdies, ranking 7th in birdie average on the Korn Ferry last year and 4th in birdie conversion. With two of his winning scores on the tour coming in -22 or lower, most impressively when winning the Ellie Mae Classic at another easy scoring TPC course, TPC Stonebrae, with a winning score of -30 in 2016.

He finished 20th on debut here in 2017 and if it wasn’t for his 3rd round 76, would’ve gone very close. If he can finally transfer that Korn Ferry Tour form to the big stage, I think he’s the most likely of this year’s graduates to pick up the title here in Las Vegas.

Russell Knox each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-10-04 21:05 Odds subject to change.

Russell Knox is this week’s final selection. Despite a pretty poor year so far, he’s picked up a little in recent weeks, finishing in the top 30 twice in his last four starts, producing some encouraging putting and approach stats. If he can continue with that, he can go well at a course he’s shown form at in the past.

Those two recent performances came in the shape of a 24th place finish in the Wyndham Championship four starts ago and a 29th place last week in Jackson. He also started well in the Fortinet Championship on his 2nd last start, though faded over the weekend. Signs have been there in recent weeks of a return to form.

He’s played here 7 times, only missing the cut once, on his most recent start last year, a 3rd place finish in 2014 his best. He also has a book of decent correlative form. 

He’s another who’s won the Travelers, also going well in the Mayakoba Classic and Phoenix Open, all events with form that ties in with TPC Summerlin. The Travelers and Mayakoba in particular, due to the way they level the playing field for the shorter hitters. 

After Martin Laird’s win last year at a huge price, Knox will be looking to do the same and provide the event with big priced back-to-back Scottish winners. The recent signs offer enough encouragement to suggest he can make his presence felt at the very least.

Golf odds
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