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Brooks Koepka tees off on the 10th hole during the first round play at the Travelers Championship on June 20  (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant)
Brooks Koepka tees off on the 10th hole during the first round play at the Travelers Championship on June 20 (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant)|Associated Press
Golf

PGA: Mike Kern picks the Shriners Hospital for Children Open from Las Vegas, and likes Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson, three other longshots

The Tournament starts Thursday at TPC Summerlin.

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

We didn’t win last week, but two of our picks – Collin Morikawa and Corey Conners – tied for 10th and 13th, respectively. At really good odds, we should add, especially for Conners. So maybe you played Morikawa to finish in the top 10 and at least got something back. It all helps.

Now we move on to the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, which will have the best field of the season in this, its fourth event. Brooks Koepka, who should have been the PGA Tour Player of the Year instead of Rory McIlroy, is making his 2019-20 debut. And he’s the favorite, at roughly 10-1 (I advise you as always to shop around for the best prices). He has a fourth and a second here, but he’s also missed the cut twice. So I’m staying away, just because.

Patrick Cantlay, who won this thing two years ago and lost last year by a shot to Bryson DeChambeau, is 12-1. DeChambeau, who didn’t play well over the weekend last week after leading at the midway point of the Safeway Open, is 16-1. Adam Scott, who also started strong there before flattening out, is 20-1. As is Webb Simpson, your 2015 champion, and Tony Finau.

Hideki Matsuyama, who probably should be winning more than he does, is 25-1. The three at 30-1 are Morikawa, Gary Woodland and Joaquin Niemann, who won the season’s opening event when I had him at like 30-1. The foursome at 40-1 are Brandt Snedeker, Chez Reavie, Adam Hadwin, who’s coming off a runner-up showing, and Cameron Champ, who’s coming off a victory.

Some others of note are Matthew Wolff, who won last July as a rookie. He’s 50-1, as is rookie Scottie Scheffler, Byeong Hung An (who nearly won two weeks ago), Jason Kokrak and Dylan Frittelli, who tied for sixth two weeks ago and was seventh last week. Charles Howell III, who calls Vegas home, is also 50-1. Bubba Watson is 60-1. Phil Mickelson is 100-1.

There are others who could probably be a factor, but these are the suspects I’m most interested in for our purposes. Although that being said, it should be duly noted that Aaron Wise is 65-1 and is a Vegas native who owns a pair of top 15s in the tourney. Can’t say you weren’t cautioned.

So here we go, once again, trying to put the best educated guesses forward.

Patrick Cantlay, 12-1

I know this is almost too obvious. But he’s the second-best player in the field, on paper. He’s won here and almost won here the last two years. I like to get better odds, but I’ll take my chances with him at least being seriously in the conversation come the weekend. Or, more to the point, late Sunday.

I probably should take somebody in the next level of guys, but I’m going to pass and instead take three longer shots. Because I can. And I think this week there’s a lot of good value out there. We just have to find the right ones.

Dylan Frittelli, 50-1

He’s playing well, and a lot of folks seem to be in his corner. Who am I to argue? This might be worth one of those hedge bets where he just has to finish in the top 5 or top 10 for you to collect something. Nothing wrong with trying to cover yourself.

Bubba Watson, 60-1

There’s no sane reason to make this play. But what the hey. If Bubba’s game is in the mood, there’s always a possibility that he can have one of those weeks. I wouldn’t put much on it, because there’s also always the chance that he could just as easily miss the cut. That’s Bubba. We’ll root for the good one to show up and maybe take us on one of his runs.

Finally, I’ll give you two more since neither of them is a favorite. And since the Watson stab was exactly that, nothing more. Just trying to have some fun.

Chez Reavie, 40-1, and Scottie Scheffler, 50-1.

Reavie’s putter let him down last week, or he would have been in contention when it counted. And I’ve been on Scheffler, the Korn Ferry Tour star who took last week off after finishing 16th at Sanderson Farms. That was his worst finish in six starts. So he will continue in my book to be worth at least a little something.

There you have it. Can only hope the dreaded golf gods are on our side. See you next week at the Houston Open, which of course used to be played in the spring. In the meantime, don’t forget to be on the lookout for the college and pro football picks, because we actually didn’t do too badly last week. In fact Saturday we went 5-2. All we can do is try. And hope whichever quarterback we backed stays upright long enough to get us to the ticket-cashing windows.

As always we appreciate the support.

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