Power Rankings: See who leads the pack at the Shriners Children's Open
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Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
It wasn’t that long ago when the last thought, if one at all, was that the National Hockey League would be crowning a Stanley Cup champion in the Mojave Desert. Yet, that’s exactly what happened this summer when the Vegas Golden Knights took the title.
To the average fan of hockey, which, you know, is played on ice, that presents as an amusing reality, or maybe even as improbable as a 20-year-old winning a PGA TOUR event. That’s what Tom Kim did – for the second time – at the 2022 edition of the Shriners Children’s Open.
Kim is back to defend at TPC Summerlin this week. Details on the third of seven stops of the FedExCup Fall and what the field of 132 faces can be found below.
Ben Griffin, Akshay Bhatia, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Sanderson Farms Championship winner Luke List will be among the notables reviewed in Golfbet Insider.
The punch line for decades about golf in the desert is that it’s played in a dome. So often with no rain and little wind resembling the indoors, it’s an apt comparison. Yet, Las Vegas went ahead and built one, anyway, and its name even doubles fancily for a golf ball.
It’s called Sphere and it’s situated just east of The Strip. Like the Stanley Cup is to Las Vegas, so, too, is the new entertainment experience. No, it’s not big enough to actually house a 7,255-yard par 71 like TPC Summerlin, but if not for persistent sunshine all week, no one might not know the difference if the tournament was contested in its interior.
After an opening round during which breezes could kick up with the intensity akin to the invisible output of an air conditioner, stillness will accompany glorious conditions that include daytime highs rising from in the mid-70s to the lower 80s by Sunday’s conclusion.
Golfers of all skill levels have gathered in Vegas for as long as humans learned how to grow and nurture grass in such extreme conditions. The evolution includes the annual stop of the PGA TOUR. The Shriners is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
TPC Summerlin annually is one of if not the easiest of the par 71s on the docket. Last year’s scoring average of 69.005 properly reflected the target, and that was a four-year high, at least officially. A better perspective is to cite it as the midpoint of actual scoring across the last five editions. Whatever you prefer, the objective is clear – go low or find something else to do in this town. One is easier than the other.
This is the second year with new Bermudagrass fairways and bentgrass greens at TPC Summerlin. As it pertains to the latter, they should be able to reach 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. If so, they’ll run longer than previously, and that’s OK. Landing zones off tees are inviting and putting surfaces are expansive, so the blend of piling up and converting scoring opportunities remains the formula to contend.
Edges goes to everyone who gets up and down for par better than most. It’s the most underrated components to a shootout. Case in point, Kim went 9-for-9 in scrambling to complement 24 birdies a year ago. He didn’t three-putt (or worse), so he was bogey-free across four rounds.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
MONDAY: Power Rankings
WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider
FRIDAY: Medical Extensions
SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Qualifiers, Reshuffle
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.
Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.