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PGA DFS Preview: 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Hi RotoBallers! I'm Andy Lack and I'm very excited to be with you for the PGA Tour Swing Season! In our ongoing attempt to expand and improve our PGA coverage, I will be dropping a 'Tournament Preview' every Monday morning.

I hope this preview will give you a head start on your Shriners Hospitals for Children Open research and I'd also like to encourage you to check out my Inside Golf Podcast to hear more of my thoughts on TPC Summerlin and this week's tournament. If you aren't already utilizing RotoBaller's amazing weekly PGA content, fix that right now by joining us this week and throughout the rest of the PGA Tour season.

Access to tons of RotoBaller's PGA content is COMPLETELY FREE but we also offer a PGA Premium subscription for those of you that want to take your game to the next level! You can sign up now using promo code: ANDY at checkout to receive a discount.

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RotoBaller Weekly PGA Article Schedule


You can find out all you need to know about this week's layout with Josh Bennett's Course Breakdown (Premium) and learn which golfers have thrived at this course in the past with Joe Nicely's Horse For The Course.


We kick your DFS research into high gear with articles from Spencer Aguiar! Spencer will highlight his favorite DraftKings Plays of the week - an article that also includes his popular PGA DFS Rankings Wizard Model - and offer great tips with his Head-To-Head Betting Preview, while Joe Nicely drops some salary savers in his DraftKings Value Plays (Premium) article. We also have you FanDuel fans covered with free PGA DFS picks for every tournament.


Things start getting intense on Wednesday and we've got you covered! You can check out RotoBaller Staff One And Done selections and get inside the mind of our team with our PGA DFS Expert Roundtable (Premium). We also have two of the most popular articles in the PGA DFS industry with Spencer Aguiar's Vegas Report (Premium) and Joe Nicely's DraftKings Core Four (Premium). You can also check out Josh Bennett's DFS Cheat Sheet (Premium) for a quick cram session!


Tournament Overview

2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Recent Winners

  • 2020: Martin Laird (-23)
  • 2019: Kevin Na (-23)
  • 2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-21)
  • 2017: Patrick Cantlay (-9)
  • 2016: Rod Pampling (-20)

Event Details

  • Purse: $7,000,000
  • FedEx Cup Points: 500 (Winner)
  • Field: 156 Players

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. The Shriner's has some great history to it. In 1996, Tiger Woods recorded his first PGA Tour victory at this event, and in 2010, Jonathan Byrd made a hole in one on the fourth hole of a three-man sudden death playoff.

This tournament has typically attracted a somewhat better field some of other other fall series events, and this year is no different, as 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. Let's get into my course breakdown, key statistics, and three players that are worthy of further attention.


Course Breakdown

TPC Summerlin - Las Vegas, NV

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.

All three of TPC Summerlin's par-fives are reachable, and four holes on this course yield above a 40% birdie rate. The par-five 16th hole gives up birdies over 50% of the time and carries a 5% eagle rate! Between that and the drivable par-four 15th, players have the ability to go four-under through a two hole stretch towards the end of their round. This most certainly contributes to the abundance of exciting finishes we've seen at this tournament over the years. Three of the last four editions of this tournament have ended in a playoff, and we have not seen a champion prevail by more than two strokes since 2013.

Another reason why TPC Summerlin yields so many birdies is because the green complexes are large and relatively flat. Greens in regulation percentage at TPC Summerlin has been 72% compared to the Tour average of 65%. The fairways are also extremely generous, measuring 35 yards wide on average. The fact that driving accuracy is slightly below Tour average is not necessarily indicative of this course being extremely challenging off the tee. It more-so speaks to the fact that many players will still choose to hit driver with little regard for the two-inch Bermuda rough. Pros have averaged 295 yards yards off the tee, well above the Tour average of 282 yards. With that being said, the gaudy driving distance numbers are propped up by the fact that this course plays at altitude. Rod Pampling stated in 2016, "No, this is a good golf course for the shorter hitters. Would it be nice to hit it long? Absolutely. But you don't need to. You know, it's just a good course for that. You don't have to be the bomber to do it all. Playing with Brooks today, he hits it a long way, but he was hitting a lot of irons off the tee, so it's still a positional golf course, and that's what you need to do is position yourself properly and give yourself chances."

Oddly enough, one of the biggest defenses of TPC Summerlin might be how difficult it is to get up and down. Scrambling and sand save percentage are both below Tour average. Of course, if players are missing greens on this course, it's unlikely that they are relevant in this tournament to begin with. The addition of 102 new bunkers in 2018 was an active attempt to make this more of a positional golf course and limit a bomb and gauge strategy. I am not sure the designers entirely succeeded at that, but looking through the players who have experienced success here, it is far more fairway finders who are capable of catching a hot flat-stick. In the last 10 years, Kevin Na (twice), Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson, Smylie Kaufman, and Rod Pampling have all won this tournament. Of course, Bryson DeChambeau is the major outlier that makes us question whether a bomb and gauge approach is more effective, but it's worth noting that DeChambeau was incredibly accurate off the tee en route to victory here in 2018. The nine-time PGA Tour winner ranked fourth that week in driving accuracy, and he also paired that with one of the best approach weeks of his career. Point being, there are certainly holes where a longer player such as DeChambeau or Matthew Wolff may have a distinct advantage, but there is enough neutralization and complex bunkering that shorter hitters can also plod their way to success here. Kevin Na summed it up best, "Yes, this is a great golf course for me. I think you really have to drive the ball well and keep it in the fairway so you can control the spin. I know the rough is not deep, but because of these greens and some of the hole locations, you have to hit the fairway to be able to spin the ball. You don't have to bomb it out here. Anybody can win out here."

In conclusion, I am not overly concerned this week with whether a player is long or short off the tee. As Na mentioned, driving accuracy here is important, but not so to the point where I would recommend only looking towards fairway finders. Missing the fairway is not a death sentence, as Na himself ranked outside of the top-10 in driving accuracy in both of his wins here. With that being said, I will be putting some weight into statistics such a good drives gained, which can help me hone in on players that will keep the ball in play off the tee and put themselves in position to attack. 54% of approach shots come from between 100-175 yards, with all of those ranges ranking above Tour average. Yet oddly enough, nearly 25% of approach shots also come from 200 yards plus, while very few come from between 175-200 yards. My guess is that can be chalked up to the fact that nearly all players will be going for the par-fives in two. There are also two par fours that measure over 460 yards and two par threes that measure over 200 yards. Yet other than that, players will have a wedge in their hands on most other holes. 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 the metrics.


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Key Statistics 

Outside of the obvious four major statistical categories (strokes gained off the tee, strokes gained approach, strokes gained around the green, and strokes gained putting), here are a few ancillary statistics that should prove pivotal, as well as the top-5 players in the field in these metrics over their last 24 rounds.

  1. Birdies or Better Gained  
    1. Webb Simpson
    2. Hank Lebioda
    3. Brooks Koepka
    4. Aaron Wise
    5. Cam Davis
  2. Opportunities Gained 
    1. Brooks Koepka
    2. Lucas Glover
    3. Viktor Hovland
    4. Kevin Streelman
    5. Luke List
  3. Weighted Proximity 125-175 yards 
    1. Paul Casey
    2. Matthew NeSmith
    3. Russell Knox
    4. Zach Johnson
    5. Nick Taylor
    6. Patton Kizzire
  4. Good Drive Gained 
    1. Abraham Ancer
    2. Chez Reavie
    3. Kramer Hickock
    4. Brendon Todd
    5. Brian Stuard
  5. Average Strokes Gained Per Round: Easy Scoring Conditions 
    1. Harris English
    2. K.H. Lee
    3. Sungjae Im
    4. Webb Simpson
    5. Joaquin Niemann

While those five statistics are a great place to start, I am also looking at proximity from 100-125 yards, proximity from 200 yards plus, and strokes gained putting: Bent-grass.


Players To Target

High-Price Tier

Hideki Matsuyama 

While Hideki Matsuyama has had an up and down summer since breaking through for his first career major title at the Masters in April, his game is undeniably trending in the right direction. The six-time PGA Tour winner is coming off a sixth-place finish at the Fortinet Championship where he gained two strokes off the tee, 4.5 strokes on approach, and 3.6 strokes around the green. Matsuyama also lost 1.4 strokes putting. Had Matsuyama been able to at least putt to field average, he would have had an excellent chance to win that tournament. Of course, the putting is always the caveat with Matsuyama, yet it is worth noting that his putter has improved in two consecutive starts, and now he returns to bent-grass greens, the same surface that he won the Masters on.

In terms of course fit, TPC Summerlin sets up incredibly well for the Japan native. In three career appearances at this course, Matsuyama has two top-20s. Over his last 36 rounds, the recent Masters champion ranks 25th on Tour in birdies or better gained, 10th in opportunities gained, 10th in proximity from 125-150 yards, and 24th in proximity from 150-175. I generally tend to favor Matsuyama on more difficult courses, but it is worth noting that he won the HSBC World Golf Championships at 23-under par, and the Hero World Challenge at 18-under par. Matsuyama has also performed well on the West Coast and on desert golf courses, with multiple victories in Phoenix. Matsuyama will be the foundation of my fantasy lineups this week.


Mid-Price Tier

Ian Poulter 

I was not expecting to see Ian Poulter in the field this week, and he is not a player that I have spent a lot of time writing about or backing. With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how well he rated out for me at TPC Summerlin. Over his last 36 rounds, the three-time PGA Tour winner ranks sixth on Tour in strokes gained around the green, fifth in strokes gained putting, and eighth in birdies or better gained, and 42nd in good drives gained. I will be the first to concede that putting is the most volatile statistic there is, and while I understand that around the green play is never the most important metric on easy course, there has been a distinct positive correlation between strong around the green play and success at TPC Summerlin. Oddly enough, this course ranks below Tour average in sand save percentage and scrambling. Poulter has an extremely similar skill-set to Kevin Na, who has two victories at TPC Summerlin. Both players keep the ball in play off the tee, have an excellent short game, are capable of getting scorching hot with the putter, and make loads of birdies.

The Englishman is also coming off a 31st-place finish at the Northern Trust where he gained 1.4 strokes ball-striking. Both his driving and approach play are trending in the right direction, and while he is coming off a -1.4 putting performance, I am expecting positive regression with the flat-stick. Poulter lost strokes putting four times last season, and in the following start, he has gained an average of 5.7 strokes putting. Poulter will be a fixture of my fantasy lineups this week.


Value-Price Tier

Kyle Stanley 

I may really live to regret writing up Hideki Matsuyama and Kyle Stanley in the same article, but similar to Matsuyama, Stanley is finally showing signs of life with the flat-stick, which has been the only thing holding him back for months now. The two-time PGA Tour winner lost only -0.3 strokes putting at the Fortinet Championship, which was remarkably his best putting week since May. Stanley has now recorded back-to-back starts where his putting has improved.

I lead with his putting because that is always what is going to be most important with Stanley, yet it is actually shocking how incredible his ball-striking has been over a large sample size. The Clemson University product has gained strokes on approach in 10 consecutive starts, and strokes off the tee in 13 consecutive starts. Over his last 36 rounds, Stanley ranks 19th in strokes gained off the tee, ninth in strokes gained approach, 16th in good drives gained, 16th in proximity from 125-150, and 12th in proximity from 200 yards plus, out of all players on the PGA Tour. It feels strange to type this because his putter rarely allows him to contend, but there are few players on Tour that strike the ball better than Stanley over a sustained sample size. After months of darkness, the flat-stick is finally trending in the right direction. If he continues to improve his putting, even marginally, Stanley is due for a big week.




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Tyjae Spears - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Early 2024 Running Back Sleepers And Draft Targets For Fantasy Football

Running backs have always dominated the first round of fantasy drafts, but that has changed in recent years. Taking a wide receiver in the first round has become a more likely strategy by fantasy managers. In 2024 drafts, more wideouts should be going in the first round than running backs. However, that doesn't mean running... Read More

Latest Updates on Injured NFL Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Anthony Richardson, Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson, and Daniel Jones

The 2024 offseason is still in the early stages, but it's time to check on six franchise quarterbacks who suffered major injuries during the 2023 campaign. A franchise missing its quarterback to begin a season can mightily derail its chances to win, creating a massive hole to climb out of. We have the latest injury... Read More