The host course is once again TPC Summerlin which ranks as one of the easiest courses on the PGA tour. Suffice to say, there will be birdies aplenty this week – and I would expect the winning total to be better than 20 under par once again.
There are a few trends which may be worth consideration here…
First up, this is a tournament that has been kind to players searching for their maiden wins on tour. Seven of the last eight winners of this event (in its various guises) have picked up their first PGA tour silverware here including last year’s winner Kevin Na.
The next trend is a slightly odd one. Although TPC Summerlin’s three par-5 is nothing more than average, it would seem that players with good par-5 records tends to fare well here. Indeed, each of the last three winners here had ranked 21st or better on tour in Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders in the season of their victory here.
Lastly, with low scoring expected, it goes somewhat without saying that the winner will need putt well, so look for players who can get hot with the flatstick.
Here are my 7 selections for this week:
Robert Garrigus – It’s interesting to look back and see that Garrigus was one of my tips for this event last year at a price of 100/1. The fact that the 34 year-old comes here as one of the favourites this time around is a mark of how well he’s been playing over the past 12 months. Indeed, Garrigus has notched three runner-up finishes so far this year as well as two other top-5s, and although it’s a possible concern that he’s struggling to get over the line, he has won on tour before so I think he’s worth another chance this week. Garrigus is a Scottsdale resident, so is more than comfortable with desert golf, and he’s played some decent stuff at TPC Summerlin over the years, including a tie for 3rd back in 2007. Garrigus currently ranks 8th on tour in Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders and loves low-scoring events like this.
5pts win only (20/1 widely available)
Charley Hoffman – Despite my observation about maiden winners at TPC Summerlin, my second selection is another player who has previously won on the PGA tour. Charley Hoffman has two victories to his name in fact, the first coming in the desert at the Bob Hope Classic back in 2007 when he won in a playoff. Hoffman is a Las Vegas resident and has three top-15 finishes to his name in this event. Although his 2012 form is nothing to write home about, Hoffman did show signs of form in the Fedex Cup playoff events, and will be raring to go after a month off.
1.5pts each way (75/1 Bet 365)
Josh Teater – One player who is still searching for his maiden win on tour is 33 year-old Josh Teater. The last few months have seen Teater play arguably the best golf in his career, posting three consecutive top-10s at the end of July to the beginning of August, culminating in a 7th place finish just down the road in Reno. Teater finished 18th in this event two years ago, and although last year’s tie for 57th wasn’t quite so impressive, it did feature a second round 64. Teater ranks 6th on tour in Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders and hits plenty of Greens In Regulation, it’s just a case of getting the putter working and he can get his hands on some silverware.
1.25pts each way (80/1 widely available)
William McGirt – Another player who is finding his feet on the PGA tour is William McGirt who has posted three top-10s in the last three months. In his TPC Summerlin debut a year ago, McGirt opened with a 63 and played a solid tournament to post his best finish on the PGA tour at the time, which was a tie for 16th. Having been in contention at both the True South Classic and RBC Canadian Open this year, the 33 year-old will be feeling more confident in his ability this time around, and is capable of going close. McGirt is a safe pair of hands with the putter and has an excellent wedge game.
1.25pts each way (80/1 widely available)
John Mallinger – If there’s one player who loves his golf on the West Coast, it’s California native John Mallinger. Having finished runner-up in this year’s Humana Challenge and 4th at the Reno-Tahoe Open, his desert golf form is better that anyone in the field. Mallinger has some very handy course form at TPC Summerlin too with a 3rd place finish in 2008 and shooting a second round 62 in his 2009 visit. Whilst the other stats may not stack up in Mallinger’s favour here, he is a player searching for his maiden win on the PGA tour, and he’s to be respected on the West Coast.
1pt each way (100/1 widely available)
Andres Romero – It’s four and a half years since Romero bagged his maiden PGA tour win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and although he’s not hit the headlines much since then, he has come close to adding to that tally on a few occasions, including a runner-up finish in this year’s Memorial Tournament and a 3rd place finish down the road at the Reno-Tahoe Open. Romero is a tricky sort to predict, but he’s capable of getting on hot streaks with the putter which is when he starts making serious numbers of birdies. With a top-10 finish to his name already at TPC Summerlin, the course seems to set up well for the fiery Argentinian, and his price looks generous this week.
1pt each way (100/1 Stan James)
Bob Estes – Veteran Bob Estes has four PGA tour wins to his name over his long career on the PGA tour, but he looks every bit capable of adding to that tally with the way he has been playing in 2012. Estes’ tie for 10th at the Barclays at the end of August is recent highlight that catches the eye, but there have also been top-15 finishes at Pebble Beach and TPC Sawgrass amongst very strong fields. Estes is a previous winner of this event in 2001 (when it was called the Invensys Classic and split over two courses) so he will have fond memories of TPC Summerlin, and the 46 year-old looks worth an each-way bet here.
1pt each way (100/1 Coral)