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His name is Ryo and his title hopes look grand

Ryo Ishikawa could thrill the crowds in Las Vegas this week
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Wilkerson’s top tip
Ryo Ishikawa 66-1
Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese player to win a World Golf Championship event in Shanghai last week and his fellow countryman Ryo Ishikawa could be celebrating after the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

While Matsuyama may provide inspiration for his compatriot, Ishikawa has been playing some excellent golf lately, finishing tenth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and preceding that effort with four top-seven finishes, including a victory, on his native tour.

Ishikawa won on the Japan Tour when he was just 15 in 2007 and he should be full of confidence for his trip to Sin City.

He was second at TPC Summerlin in 2014, which has been his joint-best performance on the US Tour and this looks a good opportunity for him to break his duck.

Ten of the last 14 winners of the tournament were tasting success for the first time and it would be unwise to dismiss the form Ishikawa has been showing in Japan.

Next best
Jimmy Walker 50-1
The standard of the field in this week’s tournament is not as high as the one that congregated in China last week and while Jimmy Walker suffered a miserabe week in Shanghai, it is a surprise to see the USPGA champion at a chunky 50-1 to win this tournament.

Last week’s outing was Walker’s first of the new season and it should not be forgotten that he had a decent end to the Fed Ex Cup playoffs.

While he missed the cut at The Barclays, he was third at the Deutsche Bank Championship and 13th in the BMW before tying for 28th after a poor start in the Tour Championship.

No player will win this week without taking advantage of a high percentage of the numerous birdie opportunities and Walker was ranked 17th in that statistic last season.

He also has some decent course form in the book having finished fourth in 2014, 12th in 2013, and tenth in 2011.

Other selections
Scott Piercy 33-1
Patton Kizzire 55-1
Scott Piercy has claimed four top-15 finishes in this tournament and he could have a big week on one of his local courses.

The Las Vegas resident finished 63rd in China last week but he was unable to recover from an opening 79 and it would be harsh to dismiss his chances on the basis of one poor recent round.

He preceded that effort with a third-placed finish at the Safeway Open and tenth in the CIMB Classic, and it could be that sleeping in his own bed works wonders for him.

The three-time US Tour winner, whose last success came in the 2015 Barbasol Championship, could be geared for a bold show.

Patton Kizzire finished second last year and would have surely claimed his first crown had it not been for a disappointing third-round 72.

He missed the Sanderson Farms Championship last week, but he was second at the Safeway and could be another who has a decent chance of a maiden success.

Other notables
Jason Bohn has five top-20 finishes in this tournament and was second last year, but he has struggled since suffering a mild heart attack.

Expect a bold challenge from 2012 champion Ryan Moore, while Sanderson Farms champion Cody Gribble, Grayson Murray and Xander Schauffele are all young names to look out for.

Staking plan
R Ishikawa
1.5pts each-way 66-1 general
J Walker
1.5pts each-way 50-1 Hills
S Piercy
1pt each-way 33-1 BetBright, Betfred, Coral
P Kizzire
1pt each-way 55-1 Betfred


 

Tournament lowdown

Course TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Prize money $6.4m ($1.152m to the winner)
Length 7,255 yards
Par 71
Field 140
Course records – 72 holes 260 Ryan Moore (2012),
Webb Simpson (2013) 18 holes 60 JJ Henry (2013)
Course winners taking partDavis Love, Stuart Appleby,
Martin Laird, Jonathan Byrd, Kevin Na, Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson, Ben Martin, Smylie Kaufman
When to bet By 4pm tomorrow
Where to watch Live on Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm tomorrow
Time difference Las Vegas is seven hours behind the UK and Ireland
Last week – WGC-HSBC Champions 1 H Matsuyama (22-1),
T2 H Stenson (22-1), T 2 D Berger (80-1), T4 R McIlroy (11-2),
T4 B Haas (110-1) Sanderson Farms Championship 1 C Gribble (100-1), T2 G Owen (150-1), T2 L List (66-1), T2 C Kirk (14-1),
T5 X Schauffele (125-1), T5 H Iwata (200-1), T5 L Glover (45-1)

Course overview
The TPC Summerlin has been part of this event since 1992, but the tournament used to be played over several different tracks. Until 2004, it was a five-round affair which was called the Las Vegas Invitational and the Invensys Classic.

Then, under the titles of the Michelin Championship (2004-05), the Frys.com Open (2006-07) and the Justin Timberlake Open (2008-12), it became a four-round, 72-hole event. Prior to 2008, other courses were used in tandem with Summerlin, but since then it has been staged exclusively at Summerlin.

It is an easy course for professionals and always serves up a plethora of birdies, with 24, 24, 20 and 16 under par the winning scores in the last four years.

The three par-fives (the ninth, 13th and 16th) are straightforward and the 341-yard par-four 15th is driveable.

The eighth, a 239-yard par-three, is by far the toughest hole. The tournament is being played two weeks later in the schedule than it was last year.

Story of last year

Smylie Kaufman stormed from seven shots off the pace with a final round 61.

He had to wait for two hours to see if he had done enough and he held on as Kevin Na fluffed the chance with two holes to go and was left with five others one shot behind.

Weather forecast

Conditions should be perfect – warm, sunny and light breezes.

Type of player suited to challenge

Anyone arriving at Summerlin with a cold putter will struggle to stay the pace.

Every hole bar the eighth is a solid birdie opportunity and converting putts is the key to success.

Key attribute
Touch


 

Ishikawa has been playing some excellent golf lately, finishing tenth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and preceding that effort with four top-seven finishes, including a victory
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