The Tour heads to Las Vegas, Nevada after a thrilling Fed Ex Cup Playoffs. Bill Haas (our 50/1 long shot pick) used a plethora of magical shots to take home just over 11.4 million dollars and the right to call himself the Fed Ex Cup Champion for 2011. Though my clients didn’t take home that much money with their win, I have heard from a few of you it was a very nice payday. We also went 3-0 in our head to head selections to cap off an excellent Fed Ex Cup. Though many of the big guns will sit out the upcoming weeks, we continue to move towards our 6th straight winning season with excellent selections. Lets look a little closer at what you can expect to see in Sin City this week.
TPC Summerlin is the home of this week’s event, and it is one of the easiest courses on Tour. Playing as a Par 71 at only 7223 yards, TPC Summerlin gives the players the opportunity to make plenty of birdies with a few eagles thrown in there as well. Shorter holes combined with massive greens usually accounts for very low scoring on the PGA Tour. The forecast for the week looks absolutely perfect, with only a very slight chance of rain on the weekend. Look for a wining score to be in the neighborhood of 20 under this week.
One hole I would like everyone to pay attention to this week is the 15th. This immaculate Par 4 stretches out 342 yards, making it drivable by the longer hitters on Tour. With the Nevada desert all down the left hand side, you can expect to see players missing the green to the right. Bunkers surround the almost peanut shaped green and will collect plenty of golf balls this week. Drivable Par 4’s always account for excitement on a golf course, and this one is no different.
The field this week is filled with relative unknowns to the casual follower of the PGA Tour. Nick Watney and Martin Laird are the two largest names in the tournament, though don’t think a lack of big names will mean a lack of great golf. Nine players will be competing this week that have won on Tour in 2011. Confidence plays a key role in winning a golf tournament and I look to players who have played well in the past here to shine this week. With greens extremely easy to hit at TPC Summerlin, scoring will come down to putting. Lets take a look at the guys I feel will read the breaks correctly this week
Steves Six Pack
Martin Laird 16/1 – Martin Laird has cashed for us once this year, and we look for him to make it a second time this week in Nevada. Laird won this event in 2009 and lost in a playoff last year to a walk off hole in one by Jonathan Byrd. He obviously loves Sin City, and more importantly this golf course. Martin combines the ability to hit the ball ridiculously far with great accuracy. He is also a player who utilizes the long putter, something that helps players on putts within 10 feet. Look for Laird to be right in the mix on Sunday once again.
George McNeill 38/1 – To the average golf fan the name George McNeill will not grab your attention. But in Nevada it should. George absolutely loves this tournament, as he has finished in the Top 15 in every appearance. Look for him to make it 5/5 this week. McNeill won here in 2007 and he utilized his excellent play on Par 3’s and 5’s to do it. In 2011 McNeill ranks 19th on Tour at making birdie or better on Par 3’s (15.77%). An even more attractive statistic to me is that George ranks 1st on the PGA Tour this year in proximity to the hole from between 250-275 yards. I look for plenty of Par 5 eagle opportunities from George this week, which should result in another terrific finish.
Spencer Levin 40/1 – Spencer is the type of player who can go from shooting 63 to 75, something he made a point of doing here in 2009. At the 2009 tournament, Spencer opened up with a sizzling 62, but followed it up with rounds of 71 – 68 and 75. He may have learned something heading into 2010 because he finished at a ridiculous 20 under Par to just miss out on the 3-way playoff and finish at T4. Levin is the type of player who does not stand out in many statistics but gets the job done. He was 14th on Tour this year in scoring average at 69.89. Look for Levin to go very low one or two days, and hopefully avoid the disaster round.
Scott Piercy 48/1 – He won just a month ago in Nevada so why not go with him again. Piercy has played well in both 2009 and 2010 here, finishing 14th and T28. I look for him to feed of the good vibes of the Nevada desert and play well once again this week. He is an absolute bomber of the golf ball, ranking 7th on Tour this year in average driving distance. I look for Scott to use this to his advantage this week and attack the Par 5’s. He also had the 2nd lowest round on Tour this year with a crazy good 61. With his ability to hit the ball long and go low, you have to like Piercy’s chances this week.
Tommy Gainey 85/1 – Two Gloves has a way of appearing atop leaderboards, and I look for him to do it again this week. For some reason he seems to space out his excellent tournaments with 2 or 3 bad ones in between. This works well this week as Gainey was awful in the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, and probably will benefit from last week off. Tommy is a solid all around player who should play well at this layout. At 85/1 he is worth a shot.
Ryuji Imada 95/1 – He should not be 95/1 this week. Ryuji has finished in the T15 in 2 out of his 3 times playing in this tournament. The only reason odds makers have him ranked so low is because of how poorly he has played this year. I look for him to utilize his course knowledge this week and have a solid finish. This is purely a pick based on past results and feel, so hopefully another long shot pays off.
I hope you enjoyed the write up and be sure to sign up for the head to head plays.