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Bryson DeChambeau
AP
Culp's Corner

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Preview

by Josh Culp
Updated On: September 30, 2019, 5:06 pm ET

It's another week on the fall schedule and it's another event that is getting a big bump in field strength this year. 

The new schedule appears to be working as the TOUR wants it to because a lot of the big names are showing up to pad their FedExCup totals before the calendar flips to 2020. 

Headliners this week include Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, and Adam Scott as well as a handful of notable young guns. 

The field will settle at 144 golfers once the four qualifiers play their way in this afternoon with the top 65 and ties playing the weekend. 

The Course

TPC Summerlin is the host course this week. It started its partnership with this event back in 1992 when it shared duties with Desert Inn CC and Las Vegas CC. It's a Bobby Weed and Fuzzy Zoeller collaboration and it began as the solo host here in 2008 when Marc Turnesa reached 25-under to outduel Matt Kuchar.

The layout is a par 71 that plays to 7,255 yards. It's fairly balanced in length from a hole-by-hole yardage standpoint but it's important to remember that it typically plays firm and fast and is also located in a bit of altitude. In that regard, it plays on the shorter side of the spectrum. 

As a result, it's not a course that most look to overpower. It's often described as a second-shot course where placement is more important than power. The recent list of winners certainly backs that up with names like Rod Pampling, Ben Martin, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, and Kevin Na hitting the winner's circle in 5 of the last 8 editions. 

I don't think we'll be seeing Rory show up in Vegas anytime soon after the comments he made last week about easy course setups on the Euro Tour. Golfers will see very easy scoring conditions this week at TPC Summerlin. The field average typically sits around -1.35 RTP and eagles fly off the shelf in bunches here. The exception to that rule was two years ago when tough weather came through and the field averaged half a stroke over par while the winner lifted the trophy at just 9-under that season. 

For turf we have bermuda from tee-to-green which benefits the golfers that grew up in the South, chipping on grainy bermuda. However, the greens are bentgrass so those cool-season residents regain an edge. Overall, it's a decent week to throw grass splits out the window unless you are breaking up the bermuda around-the-green numbers and combining them with the bentgrass putting numbers. 

Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes, let's try to break down the course to see how it will play.

Patton Kizzire: "this is a little bit more of a ball placement off the tee golf course, place your ball in the fairway and be accurate with your irons. And of course, I love a putting contest."

James Hahn: "Greens are rolling fast. Fairways are nice and firm. It’s definitely a premium to hit the fairways. The rougher, you’re getting some fliers, so it’s hard to adjust how far they’re going with the altitude. "

Jordan Spieth: "it’s more of a second-shot golf course where it requires a lot of precision from the short irons. Maybe pitching wedge to short irons.

And then because it is pretty difficult to hit it in the sections where the pins will be, you’ll be left with some very difficult short game shots. I’ve looked. Statistically it’s on of the most difficult, maybe Top 5 most difficult, places around the greens to chip from. I like the grainy bermuda grass, so that’s nice to come in here comfortable on this type of grass."

Rod Pampling"You don’t have to be the bomber to do it all. Playing with Brooks today, he hits it a long way, but he was hitting a lot of irons off the tee, so it’s still a positional golf course, and that’s what you need to do is position yourself properly and give yourself the chances. "

Martin Laird: "I like to cut the driver, and a lot of the tee shots where guys that draw it can’t really hit driver, I can hit driver and kind of shape it with the hole. So for me, I like to just go out and play aggressive. It sets up for my style of golf. I like to hit driver as much as I can, and this is a golf course that allows me to do it."

Overview: A lot of talk about laying back off the tee but Laird mentions that you can play aggressively, especially if you have a left-to-right ball flight. 

Correlated Courses

Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week: 

Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo)
Torrey Pines (Farmers)
Sheshan International (WGC HSBC)
PGA National (Honda Classic)

I think TPC Summerlin is a pretty unique course because there isn't much overlap or an overall theme to these correlated courses. However, there is overlap in the courses above when it comes to under- and over-performing at the Shriners. 

 

The Weather

Thursday: Sunny with a high of 83 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH. 

Friday: Sunny with a high of 84 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH. 

A beautiful forecast on the horizon with no precipitation in the mix and temps in the low to mid-80s all week. 

The average wind speeds in Vegas is around 8 MPH which is what look to fall in line with the early-week forecast. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.