Nick Taylor’s bogey-free 8-under par 63 earned him the title of First Round Leader after Day 1 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open from TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taylor’s round was highlighted by an eagle 2 at the par 4 15th hole, a driveable par 4 that Taylor executed perfectly off the tee, leaving only a 5-foot putt to clean up for his eagle. Taylor carries a one shot lead into Friday’s second round over journeyman Brian Harman, who also fired a bogey-free Round 1, carding a 7-under 64 on Thursday.
Possibly the best storyline coming out of Thursday’s first round was the play of Chase Koepka – that’s right, not World #1 and big brother Brooks Koepka. Chase fired a 5-under par 66 on Day 1, besting his 4-time major championship winning sibling by four shots Thursday. So are either of the Koepka brothers viable options in Showdown play Friday? Here are my favorite selections in each price range heading into Round 2 Showdown action Friday morning.
Patrick Cantlay ($10,200)
Cantlay led the field in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking on Day 1, gaining 1.7 strokes off the tee and 2.9 strokes on approach. Each of these totals proves that his ball striking is spot on early this week. The putter held him back from posting a phenomenal round today as he lost 1.3 strokes on the greens, but I’m not going to worry too much there. Cantlay has actually gained strokes putting in seven of his last 10 events, so if anyone can turn it around with the flat stick I’d put my money on him Friday.
Collin Morikawa ($9,300)
This range was very underwhelming on Day 1 as a collective group, but I’m going to factor in a little recent form in this call backing Morikawa. Coming off of a 10th place finish at last week’s Safeway Open, Morikawa only lost strokes off the tee Thursday, and it was a modest total at that, losing only 0.6 strokes off the tee. Like Cantlay’s putter, Morikawa’s tee game is one that I’m not going to get too concerned about one hiccup – he’s actually gained strokes off the tee in six of his last seven events. I’ll keep riding the hot hand with Moriakwa here Friday and eye him as a possible Weekend Golf candidate come Friday night as well.
Dylan Frittelli ($8,600)
Brian Harman will be the popular choice in this price range, but its really tough to come back and play well after posting as good a round as Harman shot Thursday. I’ll take the hottest player in this range coming to the week on my Showdown squads here and roster Frittelli as my top choice. Coming off of back-to-back Top 7 finishes over the last two weeks, Frittelli shot a very quiet 4-under par 67 on Thursday. He gained modest amounts off the tee, on approach, and putting on Day 1 and was still able to post a Top 20 score – I’ll bank on the ball striking form to ramp up Friday as it has over the last couple of weeks.
Lucas Glover ($7,300)
Glover posted an exceptional ball striking round on Thursday, gaining 2.7 strokes in the category, including 2.5 strokes on his approach shots. The iron game is obviously strong – we just need the putter to match Friday. Glover has gained strokes putting in five straight events entering this year’s Shriners Open, so the small loss on the greens Thursday is of little concern to me here. After missing back-to-back cuts heading into this week’s event I’ll trust that Glover has found something in his game after a strong Day 1 and roster him Friday in Showdown play.
Adam Schenk ($6,700)
Schenk gained 1.9 strokes ball striking Thursday and paired that with a hot putter that gained him another 1.3 strokes on the greens as well. I don’t think that putting performance is a fluke, however, as Schenk has gained strokes putting in four straight events heading into this week’s tournament. In a really weak $6K range this week I’ll take my chances on Schenk Friday to maintain his solid play for my Showdown lineups.
As always, thank you very much for giving my article a glance this week as you prepare for Friday’s round at the Shriners Open. If you have any questions you would like to ask me about your lineup or about my article in general, join us on DPA Premium where you can get exclusive access to myself as well as the rest of our other experts for NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL. I’m available all week to answer any lineup questions you may have, so give us a shot today!!
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