6 groups worth watching at Shriners Open in Las Vegas

Decisions abound once you arrive at the Shriners Open, which begins Thursday.

What should you eat? Where should you sit? And who should you watch?

The latter might be the toughest assignment but our job is to make that call easier.

Here’s six groups worth following while you stroll the grounds of TPC Summerlin:

Jordan Spieth, Cameron Champ and Aaron Wise (7:30 a.m. Thursday/12:05 p.m. Friday)

One of the earliest groups on Thursday is also one of the most intriguing groups.

Spieth is the star of the tournament, entering with 11 PGA wins. Champ is coming off a victory in the Sanderson Farms Championship. And Wise, a Las Vegas resident, was named the PGA Tour rookie of the year two days ago.

Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Tway (7:40 a.m./12:15 p.m.)

Cantlay won last year’s Shriners Open, marking the second consecutive year he won his second start of the season. DeChambeau is known for winning the 2015 NCAA Division Championship and the U.S. Amateur; he already has four Tour victories. And Tway earned his first Tour win last month at the Safeway Open in Napa, beating Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker in a playoff.

Jim Furyk, Scott Piercy and Sangmoon Bae (8 a.m./12:35 p.m.)

Furyk, along with Ernie Els, brings the most experience to the field as the 2018 Ryder Cup captain has 17 Tour wins since turning pro in 1992. Las Vegas native Piercy has four Tour victories, including April’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. And Bae is an Asian Tour veteran who also has two PGA Tour wins.

Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar (12:05 p.m./7:30 a.m.)

Fowler has four PGA Tour victories and hasn’t won since 2016, but he might be the trendiest golfer in the field thanks to his Puma duds. Simpson has five Tour wins in 10 years as a pro, one of which was the 2013 Shriners Open. And Kuchar has seven Tour victories but has been in a drought since taking the RBC Heritage in 2014.

Kevin Na, Ryan Moore, Tony Finau (12:15 p.m./7:40 a.m.)

This is a regional group with Na and Moore hailing from UNLV and Finau coming from Salt Lake City. There’s a Ryder Cup connection, too, as Finau played for this fall’s U.S. team while Moore played on the 2016 U.S. team. Na has two Tour wins, Moore has five Tour victories (including the 2012 Shriners Open) and Finau has one Tour win, but he is coming off a playoff in last weekend’s WBC-HSBC Champions event.

Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland, Jason Dufner (12:25 p.m./7:50 a.m.)

Vegas might have a catchy name, but he also has three Tour victories. Gary Woodland has three Tour wins, among them last January’s Phoenix Open. And Dufner has five Tour wins since going pro in 2000, including the 2013 PGA Championship.

Bill Bradley is sports editor of the Review-Journal. He can be reached at bbradley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2909.

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