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Shriners Hospitals for Children Open betting tips and selections

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PGA Tour pros will be traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada this week for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. This tournament was founded in 1983, and it has always been a part of the PGA Tour’s fall swing.

The event is currently held at TPC Summerlin. This tournament has typically attracted a somewhat better field than some of other other fall series events, and this year is no different. Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns, Paul Casey, Harris English, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott, and Will Zalatoris will all be teeing it up this week at TPC Summerlin.

TPC Summerlin is a par 71, measuring 7,255 yards. It was designed in 1991 by Bobby Weed and Fuzzy Zoeller. Water comes into play on four holes. The fairways are Bermuda-grass, the rough is Bermuda-grass, measuring two inches on average, and the 7,400 square foot on average greens are Bent-grass.

TPC Summerlin is a typical TPC venue with a number of risk reward holes that tend to yield low scores from aggressive play. Similar to most courses that we see during the fall swing, TPC Summerlin is generally torn up by PGA Tour pros. Outside of a wind-swept year in 2017 where Patrick Cantlay won at nine-under par, the winning score has been 20-under or below in eight of the last ten years. TPC Summerlin has annually ranked inside the ten easiest courses on Tour for each of the last three years. Last year, players had to shoot six-under par just to make the cut.

Along with wedge play and the ability to control the occasional long iron, I am primarily looking for players that are comfortable in easy scoring conditions and have experienced success before on Bent-grass greens. I know I sound like a broken record during the fall swing, but it’s true, birdies are the name of the game in this portion of the season. It should not be overlooked that some players are more comfortable than others in a tournament where the winning score is -25.

Let’s dig into my outright selections.

Brooks Koepka (22/1, Bet365)

I do not typically pay up for elite talent on courses where putting is so important, but I feel it necessary to make an exception this week for Brooks Koepka. The four-time major championship winner appears a perfect fit for TPC Summerlin, as evidenced by fourth-place and a runner-up finishes across five appearances. His desert golf resume also includes two wins at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Over his last 36 rounds, Koepka ranks first in strokes gained off the tee, 15th in strokes gained approach, 16th in birdies or better gained, fourth in opportunities gained, and third in proximity from 100-125 yards, out of all players in this field. While typically known for his affinity for difficult courses, Koepka is downright elite at making the most out of opportunities with a scoring club in his hands. Coming off a brilliant Ryder Cup performance, expect Koepka to pick up PGA Tour win number nine in Las Vegas.

Hideki Matsuyama (30/1, FanDuel)

Speaking of desert golf resumes, Hideki Matsuyama is another player who has recorded multiple top-20 finishes at TPC Summerlin and multiple wins at TPC Scottsdale. The 2021 Masters Champion has had a bit of an up and down season after securing his first major victory, but his game finally seems to be rounding into form. In his last start at the Fortinet Championship, Matsuyama gained two strokes off the tee and 4.5 strokes on approach, en route to a sixth-place finish. The six-time PGA Tour winner was stifled from securing victory in Napa only because he lost 1.4 strokes putting. Of course, the flat-stick will always be the greatest concern with Matsuyama, but returning to Bent-grass, the same surface that he won the Masters on earlier this year, figures to yield a more inspired performance.

Matthew Wolff (45/1, FanDuel)

I have been a little more conservative in terms of taking my chances with Matthew Wolff despite his undeniable ceiling. With that being said, I was incredibly encouraged by what I saw from him last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The Oklahoma State product gained strokes in all four major categories for the first time since, coincidentally, his runner-up finish at this tournament last year. Wolff’s statistical profile has been checkered with inconsistencies throughout the entirety of the 2020-2021 season, so the fact that he has finally returned to a positive baseline figures to be an indicator that his game is rounding into form. Now he returns to a course that he has already recorded an 18th place-finish and a runner-up. I expect him to continue his strong play in the desert.

Talor Gooch (80/1, FanDuel)

I always find myself higher on Talor Gooch than the market, and this week is no different. The Oklahoma State product enters this tournament on the back of a fourth-place finish at the Fortinet Championship where he gained 0.7 strokes off the tee, 2.6 strokes on approach, 5.5 strokes around the green, and 1.9 strokes putting. As previously alluded to in my argument for Matthew Wolff, I love when players are gaining strokes in all four major categories. It displays a high baseline level of consistency that is hard to find on the PGA Tour. Now Gooch returns to Las Vegas, where he finished top-five last October at the CJ Cup, and bent-grass greens, which has historically been a preferred putting surface for the Oklahoma native. 80/1 feels a fair price for a player primed for a major breakthrough.

Hank Lebioda (250/1, BetMGM)

Let’s travel back to August, when Hank Lebioda was a popular selection at prices as low as 60/1. Since his summer string of three consecutive top-eight finishes at the Travelers Championship, the Rocket Mortgage, and the John Deere Classic, which were all Bent-grass birdie-fests for those keeping track at home, the Florida State product has cooled considerably with three consecutive missed cuts. Yet on deeper inspection, Lebioda’s game is on the upswing. In his last start, the Florida native missed the cut on the number at the Fortinet Championship, while gaining 3.9 strokes on approach, good for his best iron week in nearly five months. Now he returns to another course that features bent-grass greens, where birdies are the price of admission. I will gladly buy low on a player that has contended over the weekend in three of last six starts.

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19th Hole

‘How is this free?’ – Phil Mickelson provides short game instruction video that every golfer should watch

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On Thursday, Phil Mickelson took to social media to share a tip with amateur golfers.

In the video, he talks about “hand speed, not club head speed”.

He then explains that when chipping, we want “hand speed”, unlike a shot with a driver, when club head speed is more important.

“We don’t want the club accelerating and having the ball jump off the face”

The video is certainly worth watching and any time you can get advice from one of the most creative shot makers in the history of the game, it makes sense to listen!

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The total sum that Sergio Garcia needs to pay in fines if he wants to return to DP World Tour revealed

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While speaking with Rick Shiels in a video that was recorded in November but aired in February, Sergio Garcia surprisingly revealed that he intended on getting his DP World Tour card back so he could play in another Ryder Cup. In order for the Spaniard to remain a member, he’d have to play in a minimum of four DP World Tour events per season.

“I am going to be a member again of the European Tour,” he said. “I always said that I wanted to, when I joined LIV, keep being a member of the DP World Tour. Obviously, they didn’t make it too easy to be able to do that, I want to give myself the best possibility of playing the Ryder Cup.

“Only playing a handful of events, it is not easy to make it unless you do super well. But I guess at the end of the day if I am eligible, they see I am making the effort and I do well with LIV and I am consistent then at least hopefully I can be considered, not only because of my game but what I can bring to the team, and my history in the event.”

However, it appears Garcia did not apply to play on the DP World Tour and has missed the deadline to do so. While speaking with James Corrigan of The Telegraph, DP World Tour officials are skeptical of Garcia’s efforts.

“Sergio is either in denial or he is completely oblivious to the hurdles he must clear to become a member again.”

Corrigan added that “Officials at Wentworth headquarters were baffled by Garcia’s comments”.

Another major problem for Sergio is the fact that he owes about $1 million in fines to the DP World Tour.

The source told Corrigan:

“Sergio’s statement was bizarre, seeing as he resigned when refusing to pay the first fine,” a source said. “He is probably hoping a deal is worked out in the current negotiations with PIF [the Saudi sovereign wealth fund], and there is an amnesty and a clear pathway back.

“But there is a strong feeling among the tour’s rank and file that the fines will have to be honoured first – and Sergio has only so far offered to pay if he could be considered for the Ryder Cup.

“Let’s just say that as of now his plan is unlikely and there is a stipulation that the regulations for 2024 stipulate that applications for membership can be rejected for any reason whatsoever.”

Clearly, despite Garcia’s words in the Rick Shiels interview, the all-time leading scorer in European Ryder Cup history’s priorities remain elsewhere.

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19th Hole

Tour pro calls Anthony Kim a ‘f*****g idiot’ following Instagram comeback post

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In what’s become a staple of his social media game over the past few seasons, DP World Tour player Eddie Pepperell took to X to call a few LIV golfers “f*****g idiots.”

The Englishman was referring to Talor Gooch’s comments regarding a Rory McIlroy potential Masters victory having an asterisk due to certain LIV players not being in the field.

“If Rory McIlroy completes his Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk,” Gooch said to Australian Golf Digest.

In terms of Pepperell’s “haters” comment, he was referring to Anthony Kim’s Instagram post, where at the end AK says, “Hello Haters. I’m Back”.

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