Shriners Children's Open picks 2022: It's Sungjae Im or nobody in Vegas
Our experts ended last season nailing five of the last six winners, and though we haven't picked the first two events of the Fall Swing correctly, we seem to have some strong consensus leans amongst us. What better place to return to that winning form than in Sin City?
The Shriners Children’s Open appears like it could be a mano-a-mano affair between Patrick Cantlay and Sungjae Im. The panel seems to be heavily leaning toward one of their corners this week, though we won’t discourage a couple longshots on your card. TPC Summerlin has produced a number of them of late, most notably Martin Laird in 2020, Rod Pampling in 2016 and the one and only Smylie Kaufman in 2015.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open.
Shriners Children’s Open picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Max Homa (20-1, BetMGM) — Homa might not have the course history that Cantlay or Sungjae have, but Homa comes to TPC Summerlin in a different mind frame. Hearing chatter from inside the team room at the Presidents Cup, it seemed like Homa knew he belonged—and the rest of the team considered him as one of the best in the world right now. Most importantly: He’s continuing to play like it. I think his complete game will be on display again this week, and I think you’re getting a few points of value here.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Emiliano Grillo (50-1, DraftKings) — It’s tough to pass on the top of the board with so much win expectancy up there among the top three, but Grillo is teetering on the verge of a win, and we need to pounce (just like he does) before the putter turns back into a pumpkin.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Sungjae Im (12-1, FanDuel) — Im’s a fair value at 12-1 in my simulation model, and yeah, that’ll mean he needs to repeat here, but he dominated TPC Summerlin last year. He led the field in SG/tee-to-green and was top 10 in putting. He has that ability, and the number is right this week.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Emiliano Grillo (50-1, DraftKings) — For the first time since my panel inclusion, I’m picking the same golfer two weeks in a row. For 71 holes last week in Jackson, Grillo played well enough to win. Unfortunately he made a jarring triple bogey on the par-5 14th on Sunday. Ugly indeed, but not likely to happen again. Zooming out, Grillo is the fifth-best putter in this field over the past 26 rounds, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. That’s not a sentence that I ever imagined typing. Those seven events have produced five top 25s, including three top fives. It feels like a matter of time before he cashes in.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Sungjae Im (12-1, FanDuel) — It’s always dangerous when we have a consensus winner in the column, but it’s warranted with Sungjae. Cantlay’s at 6-to-1, and you’re getting double the odds on the defending champion who’s playing great golf over the past few months. Let’s not overthink it and grab the win for all the boys.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Sungjae Im (12-1, FanDuel) — Never been a bet-the-second favorite guy but if you believe this tournament will be won by either Patrick Cantlay or Sungjae Im, then this is a great number on the scorching-hot Sungbae. He’s gone second, second, 12th, 15th and second in his past five starts, and he was the clear top dog not named Tom Kim for the International team at the Presidents Cup. Plus, he’s the defending champ and in his previous two trips to TPC Summerlin he top 20’d both times, so you know he likes the place.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Sungjae Im (12-1, FanDuel) — On paper this looks to be a two-horse race and Im has the far better odds. Im comes into this event ranked first in the field this week for SG/total over the past two months and first for SG/total over the past two years. Add to this that he ranks 11th for SG/putting on bentgrass over the last two years and second for SG/total here at TPC Summerlin, and he looks like a worthy second favorite.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel caught fire at the end of the summer, correctly predicting the winner in five of the final six events of the season. But now we turn the page to the 2022-’23 season. We failed to pick the winner of the season opener at Fortinet or the Sanderson Farms, but if history is any indication, we’ll nail one of the Fall Swing events soon.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "The Loop," (below) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "The Loop" wherever you get your podcasts!
Shriners Children’s Open picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Tom Hoge (50-1, DraftKings) — Let’s stick with the Presidents Cup snubbed theme like we saw last week with Ryan Fox and Mackenzie Hughes. Tom Hoge has something to prove after not getting picked for the Presidents Cup. He was higher in the rankings than Kiz, and he should be eager to show how worthy he was of a pick, plus he’s had three top-25 finishes in his past four starts at TPC Summerlin.
Mayo: K.H. Lee (65-1, DraftKings) — TPC Lee at a TPC track? LETS GO!!! He was rolling through the playoffs with excellent ball-striking before hitting the skids at the Tour Championship but rebounded quite nicely as a massive underdog in all his matches at the Presidents Cup. Lee gains on the field in fairways, which is helpful at a course that doesn’t require players to be long-drive champions. Already a two-time winner on tour, he’s fallen deeper down the board than many who have proved they can’t close when the pressure is on.
Gdula: Mito Pereira (60-1, FanDuel) — A weak short game has bogged down recent results, and that does matter this week. Pereira can ball-strike his way to tons of birdie chances. If we trust the long-term data, Mito is an obvious play.
Gehman: Matthew NeSmith (80-1, DraftKings) — NeSmith’s week in Jackson offers plenty to be excited about. He gained 6.26 strokes on approach which aligns with his golfing DNA. That fueled him to a T-9 finish, and it couldn’t come at a better time. TPC Summerlin will require excellent approach play and NeSmith has feasted at this event. He has three top-18 finishes in his last three trips.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Kurt Kitayama (80-1, Bet365) — Using Rick’s data at RickRunGood.com outlines why Kurt Kitayama is a strong value this week. The 29-year-old gained nearly 12 strokes ball-striking in his last start, a T-7 finish in Italy on the DP World Tour. And as Rick points out, Kitayama has three starts in the past 18 months where he’s gained more than 10 strokes/ball-striking. The former UNLV golfer is comfortable on these grasses and is flying a little under the radar on the odds board.
Powers, Golf Digest: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (66-1, BetMGM) — Bez has broken my heart countless times over the past few years. I still can’t quit the guy, though, especially off of a +5.2 SG/tee-to-green performance at the Sanderson Farms, his best T2G output since finishing runner-up at the John Deere. Why did he finish 39th then, you ask? Because the putter went cold, a rare occurrence for the South African. That won’t happen this week on Summerlin’s bentgrass greens, Bez’s favorite putting surface.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Andrew Putnam (85-1, FanDuel) — Putnam comes into this event ranked eighth for SG/total over the last two months. This form has resulted in six top-43 finishes in a row, which includes an 11th and a fifth. Putnam has had success at TPC Summerlin in the past too, recording two top-20 finishes in the past three years.
Shriners Children’s Open picks 2022: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Tom Kim (22-1, DraftKings) — He was the public-sentiment winner post-Presidents Cup. But at some point, he’s got to get tired. He played a lot of golf before Quail Hollow. Even at 20 years old, you’re prone to some exhaustion and mental mistakes usually follow—which is a recipe for big numbers at Summerlin.
Mayo: Max Homa (14-1, DraftKings) — Homa has made a habit of making me look terrible every time I put him in this spot. But I’ve learned to live with it. He’s missed the cut in his past four Shriners visits. It doesn’t seem like track meets his eye.
Gdula: Emiliano Grillo (37-1, FanDuel) — Grillo’s entire career has been held back by putting, and he’s been on fire lately. It’s actually supported well by distance splits, but now that he has had some good finishes, the number is too short.
Gehman: Aaron Wise (18-1, FanDuel) — If you’ve been following along, I’m a big believer in Wise and his game, but I still can’t fire an outright on him this week. The 18-1 number on Wise is the shortest outright odds of his career and the first time he’s been shorter than 25-1. While I’m excited for Wise this season, buying him at an all-time high in his first competition in five weeks is not something I’m willing to do.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Aaron Wise (18-1, FanDuel) — Wise isn’t quite in the elite category to be willing to grab this number. And I like Wise on a course where he can let his driver be a true weapon, whereas this is more of an approach test at TPC Summerlin.
Powers, Golf Digest: Aaron Wise (18-1, FanDuel) — Hard going against a Vegas guy with solid course history but, like Rick said, the number is too tough of a pill to swallow. I’d rather have the red-hot Sungjae at a slightly shorter number than Wise, who we’ve not seen since East Lake.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Max Homa (14-1, DraftKings) — It is not surprising that Homa has missed the cut four out of the past five times he has played here given that he only ranks 55th in the field this week for SG/total at comparable courses. This is certainly not ideal course form for a player ranked top three in the betting market.
Shriners Children’s Open picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Maverick McNealy (+100) over Taylor Moore (DraftKings) — It’s the perfect get-right spot for McNealy. He shot 60 out here two weeks ago and is comfortable adjusting to the altitude out here, with Vegas as his home base.
Mayo: Troy Merritt (-110) over J.J. Spaun (DraftKings) — Similar style players where one comes in in much better iron form against Spaun’s elevated driving. At a course which emphasizes irons over driver, Merritt is the easy choice for me.
Gdula: Justin Suh (+100) over Rickie Fowler (FanDuel) — Though Rickie showed life at the Fortinet and has some historical success at TPC Summerlin, Suh was T-8 here last year and should eventually start showing his potential on the PGA Tour after two missed cuts to start the year thanks to cold putting.
Gehman: Tom Hoge (-110) over Si Woo Kim (DraftKings) — Hoge is back to playing to his strengths, which are generally showcased on his approach shots. He gained 4.23 strokes on approach in Napa, which resulted in a T-12 finish—marking his third top 12 in his past five starts. TPC Summerlin should welcome that skill set as it did for Hoge in recent years. He finished T-14 last year, T-24 in 2020 and notched a T-7 in 2017.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tom Hoge (-115) over Maverick McNealy (PointsBet) — I’m with the caddie’s pick of riding the narrative with Hoge being snubbed by Davis Love III for the Presidents Cup. And his course history (three top-25s in his past four starts here) is much better than McNealy’s string of MCs.
Powers, Golf Digest: Taylor Moore (-120) over Maverick McNealy (DraftKings) — McNealy has not been great at TPC Summerlin and has posted just one top 10 since February. Moore, on the other hand, has made nine consecutive cuts and sprinkled in two top-six finishes along the way. There’s a reason he’s the small favorite here.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Thomas Detry (+110) over Lucas Herbert (PaddyPower) — I really like Detry to go this week. Herbert on the other hand comes into this event ranked just 128th for opportunities Gained and just 80th for SG/total over the last two months. The course is unlikely to suit him, Herbert ranking just 105th in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking for TPC Summerlin.
Matchup Results from the Sanderson Farms Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Grillo (-110) over Detry); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Detry (-120) over Bezuidenhout); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Hardy (-118) over Suh); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Burns (-150) over Theegala); Caddie: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Powers 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 2-0-0 (up 1.93 units); Gehman: 2-0-0 (up 1.74 units); Alldrick: 2-0-0 (up 1.58 units); Powers: 1-1-0 (up 0.05 units); Caddie: 1-1-0 (down 0.1 units); Mayo: 1-1-0 (down 0.1 units); Gdula: 0-2-0 (down 2 units)
Shriners Children’s Open picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Tom Hoge (+450, DraftKings) — Since I picked him as my longshot, I’ll back that up. I’d take McNealy or McCarthy here, too.
Mayo: Troy Merritt (+900, DraftKings) — Merrit has gained on approach in his past six starts at TPC Summerlin—gaining at least +2.4 SG/approach in four of his past five overall starts. His putter is currently running extremely cold, thus why his odds are in this range, however Merritt has gained an average of a stroke per event on the greens in his career versus the -2.2 SG/putting he’s lost over his past five starts. Buy the dip.
Gdula: Keith Mitchell (+600, FanDuel) — Mitchell’s course history is awful (four missed cuts), so it could just be a bad fit. Or it could just be random and about to correct itself. Mitchell’s got six top-10 results in the past calendar year (23 percent of his events). These odds imply around a 14 percent top-10 rate.
Gehman: Seamus Power (+450, DraftKings) — Power left a lot of meat on the bone in Jackson where he made the third-most birdies (21) but still finished T-30. The big area of concern for Power was the par 5s, which he played one-over par. That’s uncharacteristic for Power, who was 17th on tour in par-5 scoring last season. It’s easy to assume he gets back to his baseline and produces a better result this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Matthew NeSmith (+700, DraftKings) — NeSmith gained 6.4 strokes/approach last week en route to a T-9 finish and now returns to a course where he’s had top-20 finishes in his three starts.
Powers, Golf Digest: Beau Hossler (+900, DraftKings) — Beau can fill it up with the putter at just about any course on the planet, but bentgrass greens are where he does some of his best work. Summerlin’s greens have been particularly kind to him, too, with Hossler finishing seventh in 2017 and posting top 30s in two of his last three trips to Vegas.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Thomas Detry (+450, DraftKings) — He managed to top 10 last week, and I like his chances of repeating this week. Detry is a solid putter on bentgrass greens, ranking 18th in the field this week for SG/putting on bentgrass over the past two years. His form coming in is great, too, ranking fourth in the field this week for SG/total over the past two months.
Top-10 results from the Sanderson Farms Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Emiliano Grillo +400); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Thomas Detry +400); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Gdula: 1 for 2 (up 3.9 units); Mayo: 1 for 2 (up 3 units); Alldrick: 1 for 2 (up 3 units); Caddie: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Gehman: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Hennessey: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Powers: 0 for 2 (down 2 units)
Shriners Children’s Open picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Taylor Montgomery — Is there anything Montgomery can’t do? With his T-9 last week in Jackson, he has now finished on the first page of the leaderboard for six straight starts (!!). The great play goes even further back as he has earned a top 10 in nine of his past 11 starts (including Korn Ferry data). He has all the talent in the world, and now he gets to play a home game as a Las Vegas native.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns.
Hennessey: Emiliano Grillo — Let’s ride the hot hand with Grillo.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy.
Powers: Sungjae Im — As long as Patrick Cantlay doesn’t out-birdie him, Sungjae is going back-to-back this week, book it.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.