We’re going to see how many paragraphs we write before we get to the big news concerning the PGA Tour’s 2023 Shriners Children’s Open being held this week in Las Vegas.
The tournament has been played at TPC Summerlin for 20-plus years (along with a couple of other courses used in a rotation over a few years) and the layout is one of those where players have to go low to be in the hunt come Sunday.
How low? Well, if you don’t reach at least 20-under-par — or five-under-par per round — you’re going to be looking up at a lot of players in front of you come Sunday.
In the last 20 years, there have been just three winners who haven’t reached that magic 20-under-par total.
It’s a great course for the members but it’s simply target practice for the 132-player pro field.
So here’s a homework assignment for bettors before they go to the window: Start your search by checking out the PGA Tour’s stats and look at the players who are leading the way when it comes to birdies.
We’ll give you a hint: Overall, Eric Cole has 464 birdies in 33 tournaments. That’s a little over 14 birdies per event (including missed cuts).
Now there are plenty of other players who have put 400-plus birdies on their scorecards this year (11 others) so use that as a starting point as we try to figure out a winner for the 2023 event.
Here are our Shriners Children’s Open odds and predictions.
Odds To Win the 2023 Shriners Children’s Open
A New Wrinkle in the Field This Year
Well, we made it this far without mentioning the fact that LPGA star Lexi Thompson will be teeing it up at this year’s Shriners tournament.
This will be the seventh time a woman has ventured into a PGA Tour event with the most recent one being Brittany Lincicome in the 2018 Barbasol Championship.
Now it’s Thompson’s turn.
The sportsbooks aren’t enamored with her chances of winning as she comes in at +100000.
She’s going to have her work cut out for her but she has the length to compete — or even to just make the cut. (Note: Some sportsbooks may have a prop bet on her making the cut — another option to check out.)
Right now, she’s trending in the right direction as she’s coming off a T-8 in her most recent outing.
But prior to that, she missed five of six cuts.
Bet at your own risk as this will be a challenging week for Thompson as she tries to adjust her game to PGA Tour-length golf holes.
We’re Back To Betting the Defending Champ
Tom Kim, the favorite at +1100 this week as the defending champion, has only been on the PGA Tour since 2022.
In that time, he’s got two wins.
And they came in quick succession. He won his first tournament, the Wyndham Championship, late in the 2022-23 wraparound season just two months before winning here last year.
Since those two wins, he’s settled down and played good, mediocre, and poor golf.
The good golf came in back-to-back weeks where he was T-6 at the Scottish Open followed by a T-2 at the Open Championship.
The mediocre golf is half-a-dozen finishes between 15th and 30th.
The poor golf is three missed cuts including back-to-back events.
But, here’s the best news, he’s coming in after a strong showing in the FedEx Cup playoffs where he was T-24, T-10, and T-20 in the final three events of the season, which featured just the best-of-the-best players.
After having time off to work on his game, we’re betting he’s going to show last year’s title here was no fluke.
And one more stat to take in: Kim has yet to make a bogey at TPC Summerlin as he was bogey-free in last year’s event.
Good Odds on Tom Hoge
Sure, Tom Hoge hasn’t been in the spotlight for a while but he’s still playing solid golf.
Hoge, +3300 this week, made it to the BMW Championship to end the FedEx Cup playoff run where he finished 20th.
He didn’t make it to the Tour Championship the following week but is still playing well enough to consider him a good option this week.
Especially taking into consideration that he’s coming off a T-13 at the Tour’s most recent tournament at Sanderson Farms.
He wound up T-4 here last year despite a one-over-par second round that had him close to missing the cut.
Back-to-back rounds of 65 and 64 (along with an opening round of 62) had him right in the hunt.
He’s won on the PGA Tour so if he gets in contention on Sunday, we like his chances to close the deal this year.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re going to use DraftKings for a couple of prop bets this week.
One of those bets is Vegas’ own Taylor Montgomery finishing in the top 10 at +750.
Montgomery, who started off his rookie season in 2022 with five top-15 finishes (including a T-15 at the Shriners) comes in off a missed cut in the Fortinet Championship last month.
But we’re betting on the fact he’s going to play well in front of the hometown fans. Last year, he started off slowly with an even-par 71 in the first round, which is a no-no when you’ve got to go low every round.
If you’re looking for a longshot, check out Scott Stallings to finish in the top 10 at +900.
He’s coming off a loss in a five-man playoff last week at the Sanderson Farms tournament.
That’s great news considering that since the calendar hit 2023, Stallings has just two top-15 finishes — his T-2 last week and a T-15 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He also had a streak where he missed seven out of eight cuts.
So why are we picking him? Well, all it takes is one solid week to turn things around for guys with this much talent, and the T-2 last week may be just what the doctor ordered for Stallings.
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