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2022 Shriners Children's Open Preview

By: | Mon 03 Oct 2022 | Comments

THE machine that is Sungjae Im defends his Shriners Children’s Open title this week, looking to emulate his astonishing performance 12 months ago, when he shot a final round of 62 to win by four shots.

Jason Day, Gary Woodland and Stewart Cink are all in the field at TPC Summerlin for the third full-field event of the PGA Tour season, and will be joined by Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Cameron Champ, Harris English and J.T. Poston. Those eight players have combined for 47 victories on the PGA Tour.

Former Shriners winners Patrick Cantlay and Martin Laird, of Scotland, will also be looking to succeed Im, and Cantlay could be the man to beat. He simply adores this course, having won in 2017 and finished runner-up in 2018 and 2019.

Cantlay is fresh from helping the USA to victory at the Presidents Cup. The 2021 FedEx Cup champion comes here off the back of yet another consistent season, culminating in a victory at the BMW Championship. He won twice during the season, finished second three times, third once and enjoyed 12 top-10 finishes. He missed just two cuts in 20 starts and picked up almost $9.5m in prize money. Cantlay is currently fourth in the world rankings and the only thing missing from his CV is a major.

Im was among four players who had at least a share of the lead on the front nine at TPC Summerlin last year on an ideal day of scoring with little wind.

When he holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole, the third-toughest on the course, to tie for the lead it was start of a wonderful run. He closed out the front nine with a simple up-and-down short of the green on the par-5 ninth to take the lead, then reeled off four more birdies, the best of that lot at the 10th, where he went from a fairway bunker to 25 feet and made the putt.

Im had the best closing round by a winner in Las Vegas since Smylie Kaufman shot 61 in 2016. He won for the second time on the PGA Tour following his Honda Classic title in 2020, two weeks before the pandemic shut down golf.

“It was very tough to get my first win but I felt like the second one was harder and harder,” Im said. “But I kept my patience. I tried to stay composed and I’m glad it came.”

He finished at 24-under 260, matching the tournament record held by Webb Simpson in 2013 and Ryan Moore in 2012.

Im played in 26 tournaments last season. He missed four cuts but recorded an astonishing 17 finishes in the top 25, with nine top-10 finishes. And there was a glorious run that started at the 3M Open at the end of July, where he finished second. He followed it with another runner-up finish at the Wyndham Championship, 12th at the FeedEx St Jude, 15th at the BMW Championship and tied second at the Tour Championship.

Also in the field this week is Justin Suh. You may not have heard of him but I have a feeling that is about to change. He is 25 years old and is a former world number one amateur. Suh has just completed a remarkable season the Korn Ferry Tour. He started the year with eight top-10 finishes in his first 22 starts and crowned it all with victory at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.

The Course

Designed by renowned golf course architect Bobby Weed and Fuzzy Zoeller, TPC Summerlin  is a par-72 measuring 7,243 yards. Carved out of the Nevada desert, it features canyons, water hazards, generous fairways and large greens.

Form Guide

Patrick Cantlay would probably choose to play on this course every week if he could. He won here in 2017 and has twice been a runner-up. And he arrives in great form. Without the shadow of a doubt, he is the man to beat, although defending champion Sungjae Im will be looking to give him a run for his money after finishing the 2021-22 PGA Tour season in sensational style. Keep an eye on Justin Suh. Who? The 25-year-old is a former world No1 amateur who won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship to secure his PGA Tour card.

Tournament Winners

It was won in 2015 by Smylie Kaufman, in 2016 by Rod Pampling, in 2017 by Patrick Cantlay, in 2018 by Bryson DeChambeau, in 2019 by Kevin Na, in 2020 by Martin Laird and last year by Sungjae Im.

To Win:

Patrick Cantlay. This is his favourite course

Each Way:

Sungjae Im. As consistent as anybody on the PGA Tour

Each Way:

Justin Suh. Top gun on the Korn Ferry Tour

Five to Follow:

Patrick Cantlay. Has become a serial winner

Sungjae Im. Just reels off top-10 finishes for fun

Justin Suh. Terrific prospect

Max Homa. Now a world-class performer

Jason Day. If he’s fit he can win anywhere

Five Outsiders to Watch:

Taylor Montgomery. Another Korn Ferry graduate, hoping to make the breakthrough 

Rickie Fowler. This is a make-or-break year for Fowler

Harris English. Looking to bounce back after a difficult 2022

Cameron Champ. Has been in the doldrums

JT Poston. Recorded a victory in 2022 but also missed 15 cuts, including six on the bounce

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What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)

Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup


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