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Zach Johnson favourite in Las Vegas

(Photo: Bruce Young)
The PGA Tour plays its second event of the 2014 season this week when the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is played at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas where the very much in form Zach Johnson starts as the leading world ranked player and the favourite.

Johnson has finished inside the top ten in seven of his last eight starts this season including a victory at the BMW Championship and was of course a member of the winning Presidents Cup team.. The last time Johnson played this event was in 2008 when he opened with a round of 62 before finishing 10th.

Webb Simpson might not have won since the US Open at Olympic last year but he has put together several good tournaments and his 4th place finish at the Tour Championship was very impressive. When he last played here Simpson finished 4th in 2010 so there is a lot to like about his chances.

Hideki Matsuyama will be incurring the wrath of Japanese golf this week as his own national open, where he would have started as the pronounced favourite, is on near Osaka but he is no doubt keen to build on his great 3rd place finish last week in California before heading back to Japan for the big end of season events. He will win on the PGA Tour before long.

Nick Watney put together several good finishes in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and has been a regular contender in this event including when runner-up in 2011.

Australasians in the event are the improved Matt Jones, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Scott Gardiner and Steven Bowditch while New Zealander Tim Wilkinson gets a start and Danny Lee and Bronson La Cassie wait in hope from the reserve bench.

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