Pro Golf Weekly

15 Power Picks: Shriners Hospitals For Children Open

Those who found watching PGA Tour golf at 2 a.m. enjoyable will be unhappy to learn that the annual three-week Asian Swing is over.

The Tour now heads back across the Pacific to the Land of Luck for the sixth event of the Fall Series: the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Held at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, the Shriners Open lacks the elite top-to-bottom talent that we watched last week in China, but it does boast a better-than-usual field, and the event will be the season debut for many popular, notable players.

There are a lot of players to like this week, but here are 15 that we value just a little bit more than the rest:

15. Ryan Moore

It is difficult to start a season in more “boom or bust” fashion than Moore, who finished T2 at the season-opening Safeway Open, and then posted finishes of T66 and T61 in two no-cut events with fewer than 80 players in the field.

Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore hits a shot from the first tee during the final round of the Safeway Open at the North Course of the Silverado Resort on Oct. 7, 2018 in Napa, Calif. Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

There is a bit more to be optimistic about Moore, though – at least for this week. He was the 2012 winner of this event, and added a top-10 showing in the 2014 edition. He was also a star at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, so there is a level of comfort as well.

Moore hits fairways as anyone on Tour, which has consistently led to a good scoring average.

Odds: 50-1
World Rank: 69th
Field Rank: 15th
Last Six: 61, 66, 2, 71, MC, 6


14. Matt Kuchar

One of the bigger names in the field, it is difficult to endorse Kuchar with his recent form, coming off a very disappointing season by his standards. It also does not help that he has not played this event this decade.

Matt Kuchar 2018 Open Championship, Round 4
Matt Kuchar putts on the 14th hole at Carnoustie Golf Club during the final round of the 2018 Open Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland. Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

That being said, we do like that this is will be his season debut, and after he failed to reach expectations last season, he should be among the most motivated players in the field. In terms of all-around talent, he is still one of the best in the game.

Odds: 45-1
World Rank: 38th
Field Rank: 8th
Last Six: 28, 43, 60, MC, 14, MC


13. Sam Burns

Burns is coming off an incredible season on the Web.com Tour, and appears destined for great success in the big leagues. Finishing T3 at last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship is a good sign for the 22-year-old.

Sam Burns Sanderson Farms Championship
Sam Burns during the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at The CC of Jackson on October 28, 2018 in Jackson, MS. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

At the very least, the former LSU star is much more likely to pull off a victory this weekend than his alma mater’s football team, who is a 14-point underdog at home against Alabama.

Odds: 66-1
World Rank: 114th
Field Rank: 28th
Last Six: 3, MC, MC, 35, MC, 3


12. Abraham Ancer

We would not blame anyone who is skeptical about the state of Ancer’s game after the unmitigated disaster that was his final round in his most recent start, the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges. A Sunday 80 was, by far, the worst score in the field and caused a drop of 42 spots on a leaderboard that only had 77 names to begin with.

Abraham Ancer
Abraham Ancer tees off on the first hole during the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship on Sep. 3, 2018 at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Still, he has been more good than bad in recent months, particularly his T7 in the second round of the FedExCup playoffs, and his T5 at the CIMB Classic the week before he imploded in South Korea.

Odds: 66-1
World Rank: 116th
Field Rank: 30th
Last Six: 73, 5, 51, 7, MC, 24


11. Cameron Champ

Champ-mania is in full force after the Tour rookie won last week’s opposite-field event, the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Cameron Champ Wins the Sanderson Farms Championship
Cameron Champ during the final round of the 2018 Sanderson Farm Championship at the CC of Jackson (MS) on October 27, 2018. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images.

It has been known for some time that Champ has a great deal of talent, but it was important for him to show that he can contend and play the entire course, and is not simply a Happy Gilmore-esque long-drive freak of nature. Yes, his distance off the tee was again an enormous benefit in Mississippi, but what was really amazing was the 9.1 strokes he gained on the field with his putter.

He also finished 9th in the field in greens in regulation, teasing one of the most unique all-around games the Tour has seen in recent years.

It may be asking too much to ask the 23-year-old to win in his TPC Summerlin debut, having to deal with all the distractions that came with his win last week, but he showed on the Web.com Tour last year that when he gets hot, he can stay hot.

Odds: 33-1
World Rank: 121st
Field Rank: 31st
Last Six: 1, 25, MC, 33, 16, 30


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Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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