Smylie Kaufman defends Shriners Open in Vegas

The PGA Tour heads for Las Vegas and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Smylie Kaufman defends Shriners
Smylie Kaufman defends Shriners
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour heads for Las Vegas this week and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. Smylie Kaufman is the defending champion.

This tournament began life in 1983 as the Panasonic Las Vegas Celebrity Classic – an event won by Fuzzy Zoeller. In various guises, including the Las Vegas Invitational and Invensys Classic, the competition has been won by Greg Norman, Tiger Woods (his first PGA Tour victory back in 1996) and Jim Furyk amongst others.

Tiger Woods swing sequence:

Last year Smylie Kaufman raced past the field with a final round of 61. He played his last 11 holes in nine-under to finish one ahead of a six-way tie for second place. Kaufman was an 11th first time winner in the last 14 instalments of this competition. There’s a good chance of another this time out, with the likes of Patton Kizzire and Derek Fathauer in good touch.

More experienced players looking to claim the title include, USPGA champion Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, J.B Holmes and Vegas resident Ryan Moore.

Opened for play in 1991, the TPC at Summerlin was designed by Bobby Weed assisted by Fuzzy Zoeller. It’s an oasis in the desert at the heart of Summerlin – a 22,000-acre residential estate at the western edge of Las Vegas.

The weather forecast looks set fine for the week so expect to see some decent scoring

Venue: TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada Date: Nov 3-6 Course stats: par 71, 7,255 yards Purse: $6,600,000  Winner: $1,152,000 Defending Champion: Smylie Kaufman (-16)

TV Coverage: Thursday 3 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm Friday 4 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm Saturday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm Sunday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm

Player watch:

Patton Kizzire – He may have missed the cut last week, but he started the 16/17 season strongly with a second place finish in the Safeway. He was tied second in this event last year.

Kevin Streelman – He has a good record in this event (he was runner-up in 2014) and his current form suggests he could be a contender.

Kevin Na – He’s a big fan of this course and was a winner in 2011. In fact, he has placed in the top-25 on six previous occasions.

Key hole: 16th. A par 5 of 560 yards it generally ranks as one of the easiest holes on the course. It’s reachable in two for long hitters so birdies are common, however, last season there were more triple bogeys (or worse) on the hole than any other on the course. This is principally because of the lake guarding the front of the green.

Skills required: Going low. The winning total at Summerlin tends to be around, or better than 20-under-par. The winner will make a hat-full of birdies and the occasional eagle over the four days.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?