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Roebuck’s Shriners Open preview: Matsuyama can break PGA duck

| 16.10.2013

The second event on the PGA Tour’s new wrap around schedule is the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open held solely at TPC Summerlin for the sixth successive year.

With a Masters invite attached to the winner’s cheque and Fedex Cup points up for grabs, a better than usual field is rocking up in Las Vegas happy to double down in a tournament that has grabbed some in-form players’ attention.

Graham DeLaet was arguable unlucky not to drop his maiden tag late last season after a string of near misses from summer onwards. He led going into the final round of the Travelers Championships eventually slipping to third, before going on to claim each-way payout finishes in both the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championships in the high profile and high class PGA Tour Playoff Series events.

The Canadian, who can be backed at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, was 18th on his only Summerlin appearance back in 2010, when crucially he shot a second round 63 to prove he can conquer the layout, which admittedly doesn’t take that much conquering given its status as the second easiest par 71 layout on the tour in 2012.

One player who looks like he’ll conquer any layout every time he tees up is 20/1 shot Hideki Matsuyama.

The young Japanese star who announced himself in the States with a string of eye-catching performances over the past year is worth backing this week.

Matsuyama is making his debut at Summerline this week, but that’s been the case every time he has taken to the fairways in America in 2012 and he has still racked up top-10 after top-10, including last week in the Frys.com Open.

A winner in September on the J-Tour, it is only a matter of time before he wins on the PGA Tour. Long and accurate off the tee with dead-eye iron play to match; if the putts drop this week Matsuyama could be unstoppable.

Lastly, Kevin Na’s fast finish in the Frys.com Open, after an injury hit 2013, should persuade punters to side with the 2011 winner of this event to go in again at handsome odds of 25/1.

A 64-64 weekend display when he putted brilliantly and in his own words ‘just tore it up’, suggests he is fully fit and focused.

Bulging discs in his back forced him to sit out the majority of the 2013 campaign but, having completed nearly three months of rehab and using a web.com tour event as preparation, he looks set to give the market principles a run for their money.

My three to follow – DeLaet (25/1), Matsuyama (20/1) and Na (25/1)

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Roebuck