PGA Tour Picks: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Odds and Betting Predictions
The final big-time tournament of the calendar year, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, will be remembered for a while thanks to the choke job by world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the amazing comeback of Justin Rose.
Johnson was about as close to a lock as one could ask for with a six-shot lead entering the final round on Sunday in China as DJ looked to become the first player to win three WGC titles in a calendar year. Alas, Johnson blew up with a 77 and not a single birdie. Rose was eight back to start the day and six strokes behind Johnson with eight holes to go, but then went on a birdie binge and would shoot a 5-under 67 and win at 14-under, two ahead of Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson.
It was the third-largest comeback victory in PGA Tour history. Only two men, Paul Lawrie and Stewart Cink, have erased larger deficits. Lawrie was 10 behind Jean van de Velde in 1999 at the very memorable British Open, and Cink trailed Ted Purdy by nine in 2004 at Hilton Head. Rose admitted he wasn't even thinking of winning when he teed off on Sunday but was hoping to play well enough for second place. It was his second career WGC title and first victory anywhere since taking gold in the 2016 Olympics. Rose's last Tour win was in 2015 at the Zurich Classic. He had five runner-up finishes since then, including this year's Masters.
I'm not going to feel too bad for Johnson considering he still made a ton of money and, well, is married to Paulina Gretzky. But Johnson has a history of blowing tournaments, often in majors. The 77 was his highest final round with the lead since an 82 at Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open. DJ became the second world No. 1 to ever blow at least a six-shot lead in the final round of a PGA Tour event. The other was Greg Norman's stunning implosion at the 1996 Masters.
I took Johnson at +350 paired with Hideki Matsuyama to win vs. the field, so that was quite a bummer. I did get Johnson and Stenson for Top 10 finishes. Thought Daniel Berger was a good longer-shot choice but he was T24.
This week, the PGA Tour returns to the United States for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. With many big names having played in China, it's a very watered-down field. Probably the biggest name playing is Bubba Watson, but the two-time Masters champion isn't having a good year.
TPC Summerlin is a par 71 measuring 7,255 yards. It's an easy track - you aren't getting golfers to come play in the heat of Vegas with a punishing course. This is more like a working vacation for many of these guys. It you don't get to at least 20-under here, you probably aren't in contention.
The defending champion is Aussie Rod Pampling, who finished at 20-under in 2016 and beat out Koepka by two. That was Pampling's first PGA Tour win since 2006 at Bay Hill. He lost his PGA Tour card after the 2013 season and spent two years on the Web.com Tour and was ranked No. 451 in the world when he won in Vegas. Pampling wasn't even supposed to be part of the 156-golfer field because the field was not supposed to consist of 156 golfers, but a clerical error allowed him in. Pampling nearly shot a 59 in the first round. The 48-year-old hasn't come close to winning since and has missed more cuts than he has made.
Golf Odds: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Favorites
Tony Finau is the +1400 favorite. Good player, but tells you about the quality of the field. Finau was 11th last week in Shanghai. He has played the Vegas tournament three times with a best result of seventh in 2014.Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson are each +1800. Cantlay was 15 th at the HSBC and plays here for the first time. Simpson won here in 2013 by six shots and was fourth in 2010 & '14.
Anirban Lahiri (+2000) and Chesson Hadley (+2200) round out the favorites. Lahiri is working on three straight Top 10 finishes worldwide but hasn't played here. Hadley is a former Web.com Tour player who finished T3 as the season-opening Safeway Open in early October and was a runner-up last week at the opposite-field Sanderson Farms Championship. He finished fifth here in 2013 but didn't contend the next two years.
Golf Odds: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Picks
For a Top 10, I like Simpson (+160), Kevin Chappell (+250) and local product Ryan Moore (+275). Head-to-head, go Chappell (-110) over Hadley (-120), Finau (-125) over Cantlay (-105), Simpson (-140) over Lahiri (+110), Moore (-115) over Gary Woodland (-115), and Kevin Na (-115) over Charley Hoffman (-115).
Not a ton of props offered as of this writing, so we'll have to go with one winner: Moore at +2800. The UNLV grad won here in 2012 at 24-under and has two other Top-10 finishes. Moore has played one PGA Tour event this new season, finishing 17th at the Safeway Open.
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