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Shriners Children’s Open Preview

Thompson receives invite to compete on PGA Tour
Golf Today breaks down the news that Lexi Thompson received a sponsor invite to play in next week's Shriners Children's Open on the PGA Tour.

The FedExCup Fall series has already provided some drama with Sahith Theegala breaking his maiden in Napa and Luke List prevailing in a five-man playoff last week. We are only two events deep with five more events on the fall calendar, with golfers continuing to jockey for status.

Next up is the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin. The field is lacking some of the firepower that we’ve seen in the past but there will still be plenty of eyeballs on the event as Lexi Thompson has accepted a sponsor’s invite, providing the rare opportunity to see an LPGA star compete with the men.

The field size shrinks a bit this week with just 132 golfers teeing it up (144 last week) with the low 65 and ties playing their way through the 36-hole cutline.

The Course

TPC Summerlin is the host venue this week. It’s been a part of this event for decades but only started hosting solo in 2008.

The course was designed by Bobby Weed in the early ‘90s with the consultation of Fuzzy Zoeller.

Glancing at the scorecard we see a par 71 that plays to 7,255 yards. That doesn’t sound overly short but when you factor in some altitude and firm-and-fast conditions the track shortens rather quickly. There are a lot more approach shots from the 100-to-150-yard range here compared to the average PGA Tour stop.

Off the tee, the course gives you options. Webb Simpson had this to say about the course a few years back, “I like it because you have to think your way around this golf course. Other courses that we play, you don’t think. You hit driver and you hit it as far as you can. This golf course has doglegs, run-outs, bunkers.” On the flip side, someone like Patrick Cantlay has enjoyed a lot of success here in the past and he credits his confidence with the driver as a key to that success. He’s pulled driver more frequently than the field and gets rewarded with even more wedges and short irons. Overall, this is a course that will let users hit driver if they want to but at the same time, not provide a huge advantage to the bombers.

Looking at the turf, we saw TPC Summerlin resurfaced ahead of last year’s edition. They laid down Bandera bermuda on the fairways while the greens are Dominator bentgrass. It wasn’t a huge change as they were already featuring bermuda fairways and bent greens, they just switched types.

When looking for correlated success across the PGA Tour, courses like Sedgefield CC, PGA West, TPC River Highlands, Pebble Beach Pro-Am rota, and TPC Scottsdale. Common themes include location (West), scoring environment (easy), and course length (short).

Golfers to Watch

Tom Kim

He’s stayed busy since East Lake with a pair of top-20 finishes on the DP World Tour. That’s encouraging since he gritted through an ankle injury at The Open but hasn’t showed any sign of that slowing his down with five top 25s in five tries since then. Kim is the defending champ at TPC Summerlin and should be considered one of the favorites to hoist the hardware again this week.

Ludvig Aberg

There was no hangover for the young Swede who flew straight from Rome to Jackson, Mississippi last week. He slow-played an 18-under tally which earned him a spot in the five-man playoff. Aberg lost on hole one of that playoff but now sports five straight top-15s, worldwide, with a win and runner-up finish in that mix. Not to mention his strong showing at the Ryder Cup where he was able to hang around some of the best golfers in the World and surely pick their brains a bit. The sky is the limit for Aberg.

Adam Hadwin

The Canadian landed inside of the top 50 FedEx standings so there is no need for him to grind out fall points. It’s telling then for him to show up this week at TPC Summerlin. An overwhelming amount of Hadwin’s success on the PGA Tour has come out West, on desert tracks. He’s landed top 10s in four of his seven starts at TPC Summerlin while also boasting a trio of podiums at PGA West. He’s been off for seven weeks so there is more of a question on the state of his game but no question on how much he loves a good desert course.

Adam Schenk

Sticking with the theme of Adams who have been dormant since the FedExCup Playoffs, Schenk is also showing up this week to take another crack at TPC Summerlin. He was the 54-hole leader during the 2021-22 edition which was the first 54-hole lead of his Tour career at that point. Schenk is still searching for his breakout win and it’s generally a good idea to keep playing a course if you previously found yourself leading there after three days of play. Similar to Hadwin, his form is a question mark with him resting since East Lake.

Matthew NeSmith

He arrives off a T-25 finish at the Country Club of Jackson. He was T-4 after day one before fading over the final three days. It was still a nice showing for him after missing the cut in Napa. Now he returns to “his course” at TPC Summerlin. I say that because NeSmith has 12 career top-15s in stroke-play events and three of them have come at TPC Summerlin. That includes his career-best finish on the PGA Tour, a runner-up finish at last year’s edition. NeSmith is 72nd in the FedExCup Fall standings but could surge into the “Next 10" conversation if he continues his course consistency this week in Las Vegas.

Ranking the Field

1. Tom Kim
2. Ludvig Aberg
3. Si Woo Kim
4. Cam Davis
5. Eric Cole
6. J.T. Poston
7. Adam Schenk
8. Andrew Putnam
9. J.J. Spaun
10. Nicolai Hojgaard
11. Adam Hadwin
12. Emiliano Grillo
13. Tom Hoge
14. Beau Hossler
15. Aaron Rai
16. Vincent Norrman
17. Mark Hubbard
18. Lucas Herbert
19. Justin Suh
20. Christiaan Bezuidenhout