After exciting finishes at both the Fortinet Championship and the Sanderson Farms Championship, the 2022-23 PGA Tour season rolls on with the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
Three of the top 20 players in the world are in the field this week, led by fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay, who’s played well every time he’s teed it up in this tournament. Then there’s world No. 17 Max Homa, who was gifted the Fortinet by Danny Willett and followed it up with a solid performance in his first Presidents Cup.
And we certainly can’t forget about Sungjae Im, who just happens to be the defending champion. The world’s 19th-ranked player tied the tourney single-round scoring record with a final-round 62 and finished at 24-under, four strokes better than Matthew Wolff, who’s playing on the other side of the world this week as the LIV Golf roster visits Bangkok.
But our focus here is obviously on the action at TPC Summerlin, so let’s get to it.
2022 Shriners Children’s Open predictions
Luke Norris: Patrick Cantlay
So it might be a bit of a copout to go with the favorite, but Patrick Cantlay has dominated TPC Summerlin in his four starts in Vegas. For starters, he won this tournament for his first-ever PGA Tour victory in 2017. And in three starts since, he’s recorded a pair of solo seconds (he lost by one stroke in 2018 and lost in a playoff in 2019) and a tie for eighth. And then there’s the fact that the world’s fourth-ranked player is 70-under in those four starts. How am I not supposed to take him here?
Jack Dougherty: Tom Kim
Joohyung Kim — or Tom Kim as he’s known in America — is a star in the making on the PGA Tour. Not only did he win his first Tour event last season in his last chance to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but he also impressed at the Presidents Cup with two points for the overmatched International squad. No stage is too big for this 20-year-old, and I think he starts his first full PGA Tour season off with a bang.
Luke Norris: Si Woo Kim
Going off at 65-1, Si Woo Kim obviously isn’t being given much of a chance to win the Shriners Children’s Open. But in his last stroke-play event, the 2017 Players champ tied for fifth and then went 3-1 at the Presidents Cup, including a win over Justin Thomas in singles action. Throw in the fact that he’s been in the top 25 in three of five starts at this tournament, and I like his chances at TPC Summerlin this week.
Jack Dougherty: Rickie Fowler
Don’t look now, but Rickie Fowler might be on his way back to relevancy. The former top-five player in the world replaced his swing coach and caddie in the offseason, and he even switched to new irons in an effort to resuscitate his dying career. In his 2022-23 debut, Fowler finished T6 at the Fortinet Championship thanks to three rounds in the 60s. This could finally be the year Rickie gets his career back on track.
Most likely bust
Luke Norris: Tom Kim
Jack and I obviously have different feelings on how Tom Kim will perform this week. Like everyone else who watched the Presidents Cup, the 20-year-old has certainly climbed my personal list of favorite players. But I think he’ll come to Summerlin so fired up to capitalize on that momentum that he’ll almost try too hard and play his way out of contention. Truthfully, I hope I’m wrong here, as I’d love to see him fighting for a second PGA Tour win in four starts come Sunday afternoon. But I just don’t see it playing out that way.
Jack Dougherty: Max Homa
Max Homa has had himself an extremely emotional few weeks. He won the season-opening Fortinet Championship with a heroic chip-in birdie on 18, then helped Team USA to a decisive Presidents Cup victory a week later in his first professional experience repping the red, white, and blue. An emotional letdown is coming for Homa, and it’s likely coming this week.
Luke Norris: No. 17
I love the final four holes at the Shriners Children’s Open, as TPC Summerlin certainly offers up plenty of variety in the closing stretch. You’ve got the drivable par-4 15th, the reachable downhill par-5 16th, and the strategic 450-yard par-4 finisher with possible water trouble.
But I’m rolling with the dangerous par-3 17th. It can play anywhere from 180 to 210 yards, and the green is guarded by bunkers on the right and water on the left. You don’t want to come to this hole trailing as birdies are rare.
Jack Dougherty: No. 15
There are few things I appreciate more at PGA Tour events than a driveable par-4 on a Sunday afternoon. The 15th at TPC Summerlin will play just over 300 yards for most of the week, which will give players an opportunity to make up multiple strokes if they choose to get aggressive on the tee box. The tournament could be won or lost on 15 this week.