Shriners Hospitals for Children Open betting preview and tips

Check out our selections for the Shriners
Check out our selections for the Shriners

Ben Coley fancies Aaron Wise to put local knowledge to use at the Shriners, as Brooks Koepka makes his return to action on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

Recommended bets

2pts e.w. Gary Woodland at 33/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Chez Reavie at 50/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

1pt e.w. Aaron Wise at 66/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Peter Uihlein at 125/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

1pt e.w. Kurt Kitayama at 250/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

We're three events into the new PGA Tour season and with winners aged 20, 26 and 24, it's been all about the youngsters and talent which once would've been called raw, but now must be recast as ready.

Since Joaquin Niemann stormed clear to win the Greenbrier like he'd been doing it all his life things have been a little more tense, but the poise shown first by Sebastian Munoz and then by Cameron Champ has been just as impressive.

All three are in the field here, all three with a chance to double up, but with Brooks Koepka making his seasonal debut there's no doubt the quality cranks up in Las Vegas. In fact, the top 10 in the market are either confirmed for the Presidents Cup or within touching distance of a wild card spot, and this is the first time since the TOUR Championship where the head of the market looks rock solid.

Koepka has twice gone close at TPC Summerlin, Patrick Cantlay's course figures read 1-2, Bryson DeChambeau has progressed throughout each of his four visits and won the title last year, and Webb Simpson is another course-proven former winner. Adam Scott started the season nicely, Hideki Matsuyama remains dangerous, and Collin Morikawa is a stud whose first PGA Tour win came in nearby Reno.

These are all excellent candidates, each with more positives than negatives, but it's the next man in line who stands out with Gary Woodland taken to cement his Presidents Cup place.

At 10th in the standings, which have now ended with only the top eight qualifying automatically, the US Open champion is not yet assured of his seat on the plane to Australia - but I suspect he will be by the time wild card selection comes around.

Woodland's competition for four spots on Tiger Woods' team includes Woods himself, plus Morikawa, Finau, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, perhaps even Jordan Spieth and, ridiculously, Phil Mickelson. If he wants to play for the USA - and you can be sure that he does - he needs to back Woods into a corner as quickly as possible.

Gary Woodland celebrates winning the US Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland celebrates winning the US Open at Pebble Beach

Summerlin gives him the opportunity to do that. A resort-style par 71, it's quite similar to Scottsdale, where he won last February to begin down a path to glory at Pebble Beach, and Woodland has always been particularly dangerous on the west coast.

Woodland was 18th here on his first visit and 10th on his second, both times excelling with his approach play and putting well enough to be a contender, and if he can improve again for his third visit then he really shouldn't be far away.

Nevada has always been kind to Woodland. He's played well on all four visits, including an important victory in the Barracuda, and the nature of the two courses used across its two PGA Tour events fits well with his power-packed game.

If there's a worry it is the fact he hasn't played since East Lake, but a close look at his record after a break in fact suggests he might be at his most dangerous now. Starting with the most recent, a runner-up finish in Hawaii, his finishing positions coming back after Christmas read 2-7-6-13-3 over the last five years, while he's been second in the CIMB Classic on his first start of the wraparound season.

Second in the WGC-Match Play - another high-class performance on the west coast - came after three weeks off and he'd played sparingly prior to the US Open, so Woodland does not appear to be the type of player who needs to dust away cobwebs before producing his best golf.

A closing 63 here last year demonstrates once more how well suited he is to Summerlin and as a classy, incentivised, course-proven player who can now say he's figured out how to win, he looks to hold an excellent chance - especially having progressed quietly since Pebble Beach to suggest the post-major slump is over.

When Woodland won the Phoenix Open it was at Chez Reavie's expense, and the two close friends from Kansas can once again shadow each other here.

Reavie in fact finished third to Woodland in the US Open, too, before winning the Travelers, and at 37 he's playing the best golf of a career which would have been so much more productive but for a string of injuries.

It's true that his two wins have come on classical, old-fashioned courses where his tee-to-green precision is so obviously a weapon, but his record on courses like Summerlin is encouraging too and there have been players of his type win this title in the past.

Chez Reavie is a winner again
Chez Reavie is a winner again

Reavie's price is held up by a modest course record, but he shot a second-round 61 on his latest visit, and right back to his 2004 debut he showed a liking for the layout by opening up 66-64 to take the halfway lead.

On his second visit, in 2008, he shot those same scores in reverse and contended until a final-round collapse, so there's a lot more depth to his record in the event than a best of 24th would suggest.

Having opened the year with an outstanding display of ball-striking in the Safeway Open, Reavie can take a step forward and contend here providing the putter warms up. That's hardly a given, but his last three visits to the course have produced positive strokes-gained figures on the greens and if he can extend that sequence to four, he surely can't be far away.

Morikawa and Matsuyama are the most tempting alternatives at the top of the market but to be frank there's not one player here from 9/1 to 40/1 I would confidently overlook.

That said, an expected low-scoring week in Las Vegas always encourages one to roll the dice. Rod Pampling, Smylie Kaufman and Ben Martin have caused major upsets in this event, there would have been another had Cantlay been beaten by any one of his play-off rivals, and there are any number of potential candidates to cause some kind of upset.

Whether or not Aaron Wise qualifies matters not - he looks an outstanding bet at 66/1.

Wise isn't a local as such - he was in fact born in South Africa - but he now calls Las Vegas home and it's here at Summerlin that he spends a lot of time working with his coach.

It was that familiarity with the surroundings which helped Wise to finish 10th here in 2016, playing on an invite, and while yet to better that finishing position he's since been 32nd and 15th to underline that he's a serious candidate to win this title at some stage.

Last season didn't go to plan - having won in 2018, big things were expected this year - but Wise started to improve late in the campaign, making the cut and finishing 35th at the US Open and then making every weekend since.

A handy seasonal return at the Sanderson Farms, where he struck the ball well, sets him up nicely for what's the best opportunity left this year, with wins in 21- and 25-under underlining his credentials for a low-scoring shootout.

Having been fifth for greens hit last week, key to his prospects here will be the putter and while unreliable, in three visits to Summerlin he's putted well enough to contend. That familiarity with the surfaces could be the difference and he's a super price.

Few have started the season with greater intent than the capable Lanto Griffin and he's considered along with Roger Sloan, whose Korn Ferry Tour win came at a similar altitude in Boise.

Sloan in fact grew up in Calgary, Alberta, very much classified as high altitude, and those comfort levels built as a junior were on display when he finished seventh in Reno earlier this summer.

He's hardest to leave out of the staking plan having played well for many months now, but I prefer the claims of Peter Uihlein.

This big-hitting talent, with golfing blood in his veins, has been a big disappointment on the PGA Tour - but he remains with the potential to finally open the door and kick on from there.

Summerlin, where he was 23rd last year, is the perfect course for it to happen. It was only a Sunday 75 which cost him, Uihlein having led after each of the first three rounds, and with sparse rough and risk-reward opportunities throughout, it suits this occasionally wild driver down to the ground.

Peter Uihlein
Peter Uihlein

Uihlein was also 23rd on his latest start two weeks ago, when he played solid golf in Mississippi, and he looks an excellent candidate to improve on that and top the birdie charts for the week.

"There's a lot of holes that set up well for me," he said last year, and having ranked seventh for greens hit back then, hopefully he can continue to putt well and finally deliver on his undoubted promise.

If you believe in quality approach play as the best pointer, then J.J. Spaun must appeal. He's led the field in strokes-gained approach here for two years running, and his worst position at the end of any of these eight rounds is 15th.

The 54-hole leader in 2017 and a local man who has also gone well in Reno, Spaun - who has contended more at this time of year than any other - would have been part of the staking plan had he shown just a little more of late.

Instead, chance European Tour raider Kurt Kitayama at 250/1 in places.

A UNLV graduate, like so many who have either won or contended here, Kitayama has really found his feet over the last 12 months and is potentially on his way to being named rookie of the year on the European Tour.

With two wins this season, he's also shown a winning attitude and while understandably in-and-out, his recent form is as solid as he's produced with 36th, 21st and then 14th in the high-class BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Kitayama has driven the ball really well throughout these three events and if his putter stays hot, he can outperform his odds having climbed more than 1300 spots in the world rankings since a low-key effort here in 2016.

Now ranked 121st, he's one place behind the beast that is Matt Wolff and while not quite so promising, he's suggested that he's capable of making the grade back home in the USA. This is a good opportunity to prove that point.

Posted at 1210 BST on 01/10/19.


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