Shriners Hospitals For Children Open Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #VegasBaby

The tournament with the longest and most confusing name on the PGA Tour- The Childrens Shriners Hospitals For Childrens Shriners Cars Are Awesome I Love Those Old Dudes Cruisin’ Around Open For Hosptials Justin Timberlake’s Why Again Is He Involved In This Kids Open (hey, not making fun, just having fun—I know it’s for a great cause, it’s just a confusing name) is upon us once again, which means one thing- #birdieplethora.

The TPC Summerlin host course measures “only” 7,255 yards (up 12 yards from last year), which with Sin City’s elevation and in the ProV1 era (coincidentally the ProV1 made its world debut here back in ’01) is more or less a pitch-and-putt for these boys.  The highest winning score here since Summerlin became the sole host course (’08- it used to be hosted on multiple courses) has been 19-under, with Webb Simpson tying Ryan Moore’s tournament record here last year in shooting a salty 24-under for four rounds.  Something tells me that with warm temps and perfect wind-less weather in the forecast all tourney long (shocker),  that scoring record could be in jeopardy again this year.

We’re again dealt with a lower-tier field this week, but, still have the likes of FedEx Cup champ Billy Horschel, Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Moore, Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker, defending champ Webb Simpson and more teeing it up this week.

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Walker 63rd, Snedeker t-57th)

Nick Watney
Nick Watney
– Watney is one of my top players to watch in the ’14-’15 season.  Simply way too much inherent talent in that Butch Harmon swing of his to finish 105th in the FedEx Cup Standings like he did last year.  This Vegas tourney has been the source of some great play in his still-young career, including a t-10th in 2012, which springboarded him to victory the following week at the CIMB Classic, a solo 2nd here in 2011 and a t-6th the year prior.  Hop aboard the Watney train this week, and thank me later.

Morgan Hoffmann
Morgan Hoffmann
– Another player whom I’m expecting big things from this season is making his debut in this Vegas event, which is a bit concerning with potential obvious off course distractions for such a young player, but I’m simply riding momentum here as he closed out his PGA Tour season with a t-9th and a solo 3rd in two of his final four events (with top 35s in the other two).  Lock and load some Hoffmann this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Howell III t-71st)

Luke Guthrie
Luke Guthrie
– A solid start with an opening 68 last week at the Frys.com Open was followed up by a slide that took him all the way to a t-68th finish by week’s end, but heading into a week where he notched his highest finish last PGA Tour season (t-5th), boosted by posting two 64s, I’m expecting the talented young Guthrie to rebound nicely and post another high finish this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Reed WD)

Billy Horschel
Billy Horschel
– FedEx Cup hangover city + his first tourney as a new father might mean that he comes in with low expectations and not much pressure, but then again that might not be a good thing for his game as Billy thrives off energy and emotion.  Expect a big fat thud of a letdown and possibly even a MC from Billy this week in his return to the Tour.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Kokrak t-46th)

Scott Piercy
Scott Piercy
– I may be a tad bit early on the Piercy train, but I’m willing to roll the dice this week as he’s in for a big year.  Finally recovered from a right arm injury that sidelined him for five months during the heart of last PGA Tour season, he’s poised to return to the high level form he exhibited just two short seasons ago in 2012 when he made it to the Tour Championship and finished 27th in the FedEx Cup Standings.  High level talent, finally healthy and oh yeah, playing in his own backyard in Vegas.  Watch for Piercy to make some noise this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Speak Your Mind

*