Shriners Open: Steve Palmer's final-round analysis, best bets, free golf tips – Racing Post


Webb Simpson found his A-game in round three

Kevin C. Cox

When to watch

Sky Sports Golf, 10pm Sunday

Best bet

Webb Simpson to win the Shriners Open
1pt each-way 33-1 bet365

Story so far

Kevin Na has been putting supremely well at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open this week and the Las Vegas resident is in pole position for home-city glory with 18 holes to play at TPC Summerlin.

Na, a 70-1 chance ante-post, followed a Friday 62 with a Saturday 61 to reach 22 under par through three rounds, and he is 5-4 favourite going into Sunday.

Patrick Cantlay, who has finished first and second in the Shriners the previous two years, is alone in second place, two shots behind, with Pat Perez a further two shots adrift in third spot.

Pre-tournament 9-1 market leader, Brooks Koepka, missed the halfway cut by four shots, making a miserable start to his PGA Tour season.

Leaderboard
-22 Kevin Na
-20 Patrick Cantlay
-18 Pat Perez
-17 Sam Ryder, Lucas Glover
-16 Webb Simpson, Brian Stuard
-15 Tony Finau, Denny McCarthy, Brian Gay, Adam Scott, Ryan Moore

Best prices
5-4 K Na, 6-4 P Cantlay, 18 P Perez, 25 L Glover, 33 S Ryder, W Simpson, 60 A Scott, 66 T Finau, 100 bar

Final-round preview

Kevin Na won the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in March by a four-shot margin – and he won The Greenbrier last summer by five shots – so the days of the diminutive 36-year-old being a vulnerable frontrunner are long gone.

Na used to be brittle in contention, but he has become a three-time PGA Tour champion and much more assured under Sunday pressure. His putter has been like a magic wand this week and he will be tough to beat if carrying that dancefloor form to the finish line.

That said, there must be potential for the final twoball to come under pressure from the Tour officials, and being in the spotlight of the cameras will not help the cause. Na and Patrick Cantlay are two of the slowest players on the circuit, so they could get detached from those ahead in the final group, bringing the issue of slow-play back to the forefront of Tour discussion.

Na and Cantlay may be too thick-skinned to care about being put on the clock, but professional golf authorities are desperate to do something to speed up the game and in the current climate they will probably feel obliged to make their presence felt if the leading duo perform like a pair of snails.

Na at 5-4 is slightly more appealing than Cantlay at 6-4, but neither price is begging to be backed given how many scores in the low 60s have been available this week. Somebody is almost bound to make a charge from deep on the board to trouble the pacesetters and it is worth taking the 33-1 that Webb Simpson plays that role.

With each-way terms of a third the odds, the first two, and Simpson only four shots behind Cantlay, there is scope for the former US Open champion rewarding Sunday backers.

Simpson, runner-up in the WGC in Memphis at the end of July, then again in the Wyndham Championship in August, was full of form and confidence last term and has slowly but surely moved up the gears on his seasonal reappearance, carding rounds of 67, 66 and 64 this week.

Simpson was bogey-free in round three, signing off with a morale-boosting 28-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole, and he has never played such consistently good golf. The five-time PGA Tour champ has made incredible short-game improvements in recent years and will fancy he is still well in the hunt from a share of sixth place, six shots behind Na.

Simpson won the Shriners by six shots in 2013, carding a 63 on the way, and TPC Summerlin is there for the taking again.

Final-round twoball punters are pointed towards Adam Hadwin (6.55pm UK and Ireland time), who finished runner-up in the Safeway Open last week and is playing solidly. Hadwin’s playing partner, Bryson DeChambeau, appears to be suffering a mini crisis of confidence, admitting he is finding it difficult to have a “normal round”. The inconsistency of DeChambeau makes Hadwin a twoball outsider of interest.

Na and Cantlay are schedule to tee off at 9pm UK and Ireland time.


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