Power Rankings: Shriners Children's Open
3 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
Las Vegas already is famous as a spot where success and failure is measured and felt in an instant, but the pace at which it’s experienced isn’t limited to the indoors of casinos.
RELATED: Play Pick 'Em Live | The First Look
America’s Playground also boasts the Las Vegas Motor Speedway just outside the sprawl northeast of town, but even there the fastest vehicles seen may not be on the 1.5-mile track when the fighter jets are practicing at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.
And there’s yet another racetrack in town, metaphorically speaking, of course. It’s TPC Summerlin, host of this week’s Shriners Children’s Open. As the easiest par 71 on the PGA TOUR, each of the 144 entrants should expect to hit the ground, uh, running. Whoever crosses the finish line better than the rest will be the 40th champion in tournament history.
POWER RANKINGS: SHRINERS CHILDREN'S OPEN
J.T. Poston, Si Woo Kim, Cam Davis, Alex Noren and Justin Suh will be among the notables reviewed in Draws and Fades.
It’s not a surprise that Sungjae Im doesn’t win every time he plays, but it might have been a surprise if he went his entire career without winning at TPC Summerlin, as he did a year ago.
Known largely as one of the busiest among the best, Im also has been among the most frequent in signing lots of scorecards with lots of red numbers. So, while a contemporary or seven can stride into this week’s host course with confidence that it will reward the kind of practice that should yield low scores, Im is the kind of guy who has been there and done that time and again. Relatively speaking, he already was a target before his title.
Still, a pair of 2-under 69s resulted in a trunk slam last year – or, given where we are in our history, a slowly lowered liftgate after a button on the fob has been depressed – but that’s not uncommon when the weather cooperates, which it will again this week. The retractable roof is closed. Sunshine will dominate the scene with daytime highs flirting with and touching 90 degrees. What wind flaps the flags will be a non-factor.
It’s a simple formula and one with which the recent graduates of the Korn Ferry Tour are familiar: Pile up the scoring opportunities and pour in the putts. If any isn’t targeting 20-under at the conclusion of four rounds, he’s doing it wrong.
Last year’s field average in similar conditions was 68.926 (or 2.074 strokes under par) and that was a three-year high. In addition to scoring, Im led in greens in regulation (62) and scrambling. That combination usually is unbeatable provided chances are converted, but he did that, too, ranking fifth in putting: birdies-or-better. He also paced in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and par-4 scoring, but he did everything well all week.
Everyone who has pegged it on the 7,255-yard layout before likely will notice that all fairways and greens have been replaced with new grass. It’s a significant change/improvement since last year’s edition, but the turf was exposed to a hot summer in 2022, and recovery efforts are ongoing. As a result, the bentgrass greens are not expected to roll further than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter. (The customary maximum is 11½ feet.) However, the thickest of primary bermuda rough continues to be mowed at 2½ inches.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power RankingsTUESDAY*: Sleepers, Draws & FadesWEDNESDAY: Pick ’Em Preview SUNDAY: Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle