Shriners Hospitals for Children Open: Murray looks mint in Vegas

Grayson Murray can strike another blow for the young guns
Grayson Murray can strike another blow for the young guns

Dave Tindall, who tipped 100/1 winner Cody Gribble last week, brings us his analysis and tips for the fourth event of the 2016/17 PGA Tour season - the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas...

"He carded a pair of weekend 64s at the Boise Open so, along with last week's Friday 65, he's a player who can shoot the low numbers you need for TPC Summerlin."

Main Bet: Back Grayson Murray @ 51.050/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Main Bet: Back Grayson Murray e/w @ 50/1

Grayson Murray must have watched Cody Gribble win last week's Sanderson Farms Championship and thought 'that could have been me'.

That's not just because both are rookies. It's also due to Murray taking the halfway lead after rounds of 67-65 and still being in with a chance to win on Sunday after entering the final round in T6, just a shot behind eventual winner Gribble.

Going into that event, Murray was considered the better player or at least the one with the stronger credentials. He was priced at 33s with Gribble at 100s.

This week both players are put in at 50/1 and I would argue the value has flipped and it's Murray who represents the more attractive proposition.

It's asking an awful lot of Gribble to piece everything together again but Murray must be chomping at the bit to have another crack at victory having not got it done in in the Sanderson Farms.

It's not uncommon to find that the best time to catch a player is straight after his slight wobble as their motivation, form and intentions to fix what went wrong the week before are at their highest.

As you'd expect, this is Murray's first time at TPC Summerlin but it should be a course that suits.

At the Safeway Open, where he missed the cut, he said it didn't really suit as he had to play over lots of trees. At Jackson CC last week he explained: "This one just kind of lets me unleash my driver, and that's really my best club in the bag right now. So as much time as I can put that in my hand, that's what I'm going to do."

Well, at TPC Summerlin he can happily thrash away given the lack of rough.

Murray is clearly fancied to make a big splash at this level having enjoyed an excellent season on the Tour.

The 23-year-old from North Carolina, who played in the U.S. Open as an amateur, ended his year on the second-tier tour with T3 at the Boise Open and then winning the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship so his form figures for the last four events read: 3-1-MC-8.

He carded a pair of weekend 64s at the Boise Open so, along with last week's Friday 65, he's a player who can shoot the low numbers you need for TPC Summerlin.

Next Best: Back Ben Martin e/w @ 50/1

Since the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule started, the last three winners of the tournament held immediately after the HSBC-Champions hadn't played in China so didn't have to battle jet-lag when making the long return journey to the United States.

It's not the greatest evidence but perhaps enough to put me slightly off those who are flying back from the Far East this week.

That includes market leaders, Ryan Moore, Brooks Koepka and Chris Kirk as well as Scott Piercy. I certainly wouldn't rule any of that quartet out but the time zone factor combined with price makes me happy to swerve them.

So I'll go with the winner of this tournament two years ago, Ben Martin.

The American shot 68-66-62-68 in 2014 to card 20-under and win by two shots and he made a decent defence last year when T25.

He was 4-under for the final four holes two years ago (he eagled 16) so hopefully what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and those positive memories will flood back on his return.

Martin will have an edge on what clubs to pull given that Nevada is high above sea level and the ball flies further. And he seems to like that added dimension of adjusting for altitude having also posted T7 in the Barracuda Championship on his last trip to the state in July.

That was a tournament he probably felt he could have won having opened 69-68-64 to sit second after 54 holes.

"My win came in Vegas, in the state of Nevada this week. So I have good vibes out here," he said that week.

He was also second with a round to play at the John Deere Classic four starts later and that time shot a closing 68 to finish runner-up.

Martin fired a Saturday 62 at the John Deere and his position of 29th on last season's Par Breakers stats (a combination of birdies and eagles) shows you that he's a man who can go low.

He flies into McCarron airport this week on the back of T18 at the Sanderson Farms (68-68 on the weekend) so hopefully he looks set up nicely for another crack at the jackpot.

Final Bet: Back Kevin Streelman e/w @ 50/1

There are some decent contenders for the final spot on my team.

Alex Cejka was runner-up at this tournament last year and has been in solid form for the last two months (29-18-21-11-5).

He also finally became a PGA Tour winner in 2015 when landing the Puerto Rico Open while he was 17th for Par Breakers last season. The 66/1 is certainly playable each-way.

Martin Laird is always worth a look in this event having won it in 2009 and lost a play-off the following year. The Scotsman added a top 20 in 2014 and was last seen finishing T8 in the Safeway Open. He's certainly an option at 40/1.

But, to close, I'll pick a third 50/1 shot in Kevin Streelman.

This is a guy who can go on outrageous scoring streaks and he famously birdied the final seven holes to win the 2014 Travelers Championship.

He was at it again at last week's Sanderson Farms Championship, racking up eight birdies in the space of 12 holes and carding 10 overall in an opening 63.

Talking about that burst, he said: "I kept hitting it inside 10 feet and just making all the putts to be honest.

"A couple par 5s I stuffed it there on 11 and had a good look at eagle and a couple tap-ins, but for the most part, solid ball-striking, leaving it below the pins, and then making some nice 10- to 15-footers."

That's probably the plan for everyone in the field at TPC Summerlin this week so it's good to see him get in the perfect prep.

Admittedly, the rest of the tournament didn't go as well as he wanted but T18 was a decent knock and should set him up nicely for an event in which he's cracked the top 25 in his last five visits.

The highlight of that 16-2-22-16-14 sequence was his runners-up finish in 2014 when he posted 63-65 on a wild weekend.

Explaining his success at TPC Summerlin, the Arizona-based 37-year-old said: "I grew up playing attack golf and playing the mini Tours out in Phoenix where you had to shoot really low each week to make any money, so when the putter is feeling good, I feel comfortable just attacking. I enjoy that part of the game. To me that's a lot of fun. It's my favourite type of golf. I enjoy this golf course."

And one other golden nugget from his Vegas transcripts: "I met my wife here, too, 10 years ago, so I'm very fond of it."

It's one of those where you wish you'd read it pre-tournament (think Steven Bowditch winning at Las Colinas where he'd held his wedding) so let's get it out there now!

Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £1180
Returned: £1683.75
P/L: +£503.75

(After the Sanderson Farms Championship)

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