This week’s PGA action sees the players head to Las Vegas for a regular feature on the PGA schedule, the CJ Cup. It is in fact a joint PGA / Asian Tour co-sanctioned event… well, usually it is.
Because typically, this event is held in South Korea at the Nine Bridges course on Jeju Island. But due to travel restrictions, just like last year, it’s being held once again in Las Vegas.
As a result, and on account of last week’s regular PGA event being held just up the road, we have a strong line-up for this limited 78-runner event.
CJ Cup: The Tournament
Not a great deal to report in terms of history as this event is being played for just the fourth time. As a co-sanctioned PGA/Asian Tour event there’s usually a good mix of players, but with this year’s re-location to the deserts of Nevada, all this is pretty much thrown out of the window. Yes, there’s still a smattering of talent from the Far East (the Asian and Japan Tours, plus South Africa and Australasia), but otherwise this resembles a small-field PGA Tour event. Albeit a damn good one!
CJ Cup: The Course
Last year the players went to Shadow Creek, this year it’s the Summit Club which hosts the event. This facility was opened in 2017 and is a Tom Fazio design. The layout is a par 72, stretching over 7,431 yards. A typical desert course, there is some water (not much) and a liberal sprinkling of bunkers – again not too many. But unused up to this point for main tournament play, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of test it presents for the players.
2020: Jason Kokrak
2019: Justin Thomas
2018: Brooks Koepka
2017: Justin Thomas
A limited field of 78 players line-up this week, with Dustin Johnson the $12 favourite with TopSport.
Rory McIlroy chats with the Golf Channel Wednesday following the Pro-Am at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT. pic.twitter.com/lFNu7ysrVM
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) October 13, 2021
A bone-dry week is expected with a daily precipitation forecast of 0% – 0% – 0% – 0% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the mid-to-high 70s, with some light cloud cover on the weekend. Wind speeds will be light, reaching a maximum of just 6-8mph.
Value outright picks
These are two each-way outright bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.
Mark Leishman $51 with TopSport
Leishman has started the new season strongly with a 4th place in the Fortinet Championship, and a 3rd place last time out in the Shriners. And the multi-US winner (the Aussie has six PGA Tour titles to his name) should be another who finds these desert conditions to his liking. His putting stats in the last few weeks have also been exceptional, ranking 3rd and 1st respectively, and this week, where scoring could well be low, it’ll be more important than ever to perform well on the greens. Not always the most accurate off the tee, I’m hoping this week’s course set-up allows some margin for error with driver, and if Leishman’s short game continues to fire, then he can go well. Ranking highly on my personal ratings, Leishman makes my Vegas list.
Russell Henley $81 with TopSport
Henley has been on a good run of form through the Summer with just one MC in his last ten US starts, which includes four Top 20 finishes. The University of Georgia graduate also has plenty of form in the book in terms of desert-style conditions, with his latest being a 21st finish last time out in the Shriners Children’s Open. Very much like Morikawa, Henley is an excellent tee-to-green performer, but one who needs a few putts to drop in order to contend. He’s certainly due a good week with the putter, and if so then his odds look generous IMO. Playing last week, for a player like him, should be an advantage and I think Henley can put in another strong showing in Las Vegas this week.
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