We're all in on the PGA Tour this week for one of the best tournaments to target on the entire calendar if looking to back golfers at big odds. I do have a couple of fancies for the Open de Espana, to be discussed below, but the Shriners Hospital for Children Open warrants our full attention.
Summerlin is fertile territory for outsiders
As Steve Rawlings explains in his comprehensive preview, this annual Vegas birdie-fest has a long history of producing shock winners. Some of them - Andre Stolz, Phil Tataurangi, Wes Short, Marc Turnesa, Rod Pampling - were off the scale.
As they illustrate, any type of player can win at Summerlin if making enough birdies. Nevertheless, there are statistical clues to follow. The challenge is all about setting up birdie chances and taking them.
Approach stats could prove significant
Obviously good putting is essential, but it isn't always easy to predict who will putt well on any given week and former champions weren't especially rated in that respect. For me, the two stats to follow are strokes gained: approach and proximity to hole. All three of my picks ranked inside the top-24 for both stats last season.
Back Jim Furyk 2u @ 150.0149/1
Place order to lay 30u @ 8.07/1
We have to go back a decade to find it, but Furyk's Summerlin record is second to none. His first 12 visits yielded two wins, a further trio of top-four finishes, and only one effort worse than 22nd. He returned last year and missed the cut but that was his first start after a depressing outing as Ryder Cup captain.
Age not a factor for Furyk
Can Furyk still win at 49? Definitely - Pampling was 47 and not half the player. He was runner-up at the elite Players Championship in April and has made his last nine cuts, including a top-20 last week. He was third for proximity and seventh for strokes gained: approach last term.
Back Russell Knox 2u @ 170.0169/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 15.014/1
Knox was seventh and 18th in those two statistical categories and he too has some Summerlin previous, making all five cuts and finishing third in 2014.
The Scot produced his best performance in a while last week, particularly with the putter, when finishing 15th in the Dunhill Links. Knox won good quality events in 2015, 2016 and 2018, including a World Golf Championship, so is just the type to keep onside at big odds on suitable courses where lack of power isn't a handicap.
Keep progressive Lashley onside
Back Nate Lashley 2u @ 300.0299/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 25.024/1
Place order to lay 25u @ 10.09/1
Lashley made the column a big profit when fourth on his penultimate start and is liable to become a regular so long as we can back him at such huge odds. That was in a birdie-fest at the Greenbrier and he'd previously dominated another low-scoring affair, the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Those results read better than a 300.0299/1 chance and so do his stats - 13th for proximity, 24th for strokes gained: approach on last year's tour, among much better known and rated players. He's also top among these for putting average over the past three months.
Six alternatives covering both events
Four alternatives made the shortlist. Ryan Palmer 160.0159/1 has a good record here and in Vegas - he's first alternative. Chesson Hadley 130.0129/1 has great Summerlin numbers.
Bronson Burgoon 190.0189/1 has been playing well for several weeks in low-scoring events and at 410.0409/1, recent pick Adam Schenk might be worth considering as I think he wants a putting contest.
As for Spain, the two I like are Jamie Donaldson at 160.0159/1 and Zander Lombard at 180.0179/1. Both have produced promising bits and pieces recently. However with Rahm, Garcia and Cabrera-Bello looking incredibly strong at the top of the market, I'd rather take half those odds and bet each-way.
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