Menu

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open: Back Zach in Las Vegas

American golfer Zach Johnson
American Zach Johnson can get back to winning ways
Join today
View market

The PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas this week and Dave Tindall has three picks for the action at TPC Summerlin...

"In truth, I'm taking a chance on someone who has something to prove again but his class and course suitability suggest that 100/1 is well worth a roll of the dice."

Main Bet: Zach Johnson each-way @ 100/1

Zach Johnson may not leap off the page on first inspection of the prices this week as the perception is that he's on a losing streak.

But Vegas may just be the right place for the two-time major winner to get lucky again.

Johnson finished outside the top 150 on the FedEx Cup standings last year and managed just a single top 10 in 19 starts. A career in decline? It could go that way as he's now 43, except Johnson didn't conquer Augusta National and St Andrews without having a serious amount of fight.

He's not resting on his laurels and wants to draw a line under 2018/19.

The American has taken the first step in that process by starting out with tied 14th in his season opener at the Sanderson Farms Championship last week.

Speaking in Jackson, he said: "The frustrating part from the summer on is the fact that I think I've been working really hard and I just haven't seen the progress yet.

"But I think it's coming. I'm confident it's coming. I know what I'm doing, ball striking, short game, and on the putting green. It's going to surface. Just a matter of when, not if."

As an upbeat sort, it's not surprising to hear him talking in that way but tied 14th backed the words up to a certain extent.

Digging down to the numbers, he ranked 10th for Strokes Gained: Approach, 11th for SG: Around The Green and had a positive SG: Putting figure for the first time in four events on American soil.

Johnson plans to take a five-week break after Vegas so my suspicion is that he's been working hard to try and go out with a bang. It certainly looks a good place for him to do well.

On his course debut in 2008 he opened 62-65 before finishing tied 10th and he closed with 67 for T40 on his only other start there in 2013.

It's been a while between drinks but this is a course which requires lots of birdies and good short irons and Johnson can excel in that area. Just check his record in the John Deere Classic (a win, three seconds and two thirds) for proof of that.

In truth, I'm taking a chance on someone who has something to prove again but his class and course suitability suggest that 100/1 is well worth a roll of the dice.

Next Best: Charles Howell III each-way @ 55/1

Charles Howell III has always been a horses-for-courses type and TPC Summerlin is one of those on his list.

Despite missing the last two, he's been a regular and and his nine top 20s include a trio of top sixes.

For years, the American was regarded as a top 10 machine who couldn't win but he altered that perception a little when landing the RSM Classic in Sea Island last November.

He'd previously finished T9 and T13 in two of his three starts there to again highlight his liking for certain venues/tournaments and he lifted the trophy with 19-under to show he can prevail in a birdie-fest.

In his last seven starts on the PGA Tour, Howell has racked up five top 25s and that includes a fourth and a sixth.

The latter came at the John Deere, which has some good correlations as mentioned, while the former came just last week, Howell securing that top four finish at the Safeway Open with a final 54 holes of 65-69-68 (16-under).

The putter has been hot for a while (he's been ranked 1st, 3rd and 7th respectively for SGP in three of his last five starts) and his all-round game suggests he can build upon his strong week in California.

He's a best-priced 55/1 on the Sportsbook and that's with eight each-way places.

At the same price, local resident Aaron Wise could be of interest while Kevin Na is a former winner in Vegas and I wouldn't be surprised to see him bounce back from last week's flop. Na is 60s.

At the top end, Patrick Cantlay has finished first and second in his two starts here and he's preferred to Brooks Koepka, whose mindset in non-majors is questionable. His form here of MC-4-MC-2 (2013-2016) adds to the riddle although it could be argued that, with no majors on the horizon to distract his attention, Koepka can freewheel it and throw in a big challenge.

Final Bet: Sebastian Munoz each-way @ 80/1

I was going to put up Wyndham winner J.T. Poston as my final bet at 66s. He's been in fine form and has a fourth in Vegas from 2017 (MC either side).

But, looking at the odds, I can't help but think the 80/1 on FedEx Cup leader Sebastian Munoz is disrespectful.

Yes, it's asking a lot for him to win just two weeks after his breakthrough Sanderson Farms Championship triumph but prior to that he was T7 at Greenbrier and he played nicely for three rounds in last week's Safeway Open before a poor Sunday.

Camilo Villegas once won back-to-back on the PGA TOUR (BMW and Tour Championship in 2008) to show that Colombians can follow up quickly but, although I'm being a bit silly there, Munoz has the confidence to keep performing.

Explaining his recent rise, he said: "My putter was holding me back for the first half of the last season. I was trying to be too perfect instead of just striking the putt and just let it come to you.

"So once I kind of unleash my potential with the putter, it has given me the results that we were expecting, that I was playing good, hitting the ball pretty good. Now the consistency is here, so just feels awesome that that hard work paid off."

Sitting top of the FedEx Cup standings will help him puff his chest out and he's already had one previous look at TPC Summerlin. That was last year when Munoz shot 66-72-68-69 while his last visit to Nevada resulted in T11 at the Barracuda Championship.

That shouldn't be dismissed too easily as both that event and this are played at altitude so it proves he can handle the conditions.

There will come a dip at some point but, for now, Munoz is worth playing at prices such as 80/1 in limited fields like this.

Dave's 2019/20 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £90
Returned: £42.60
P/L: -£47.40

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

Dave Tindall,

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles