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PGA Preview: The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges

Oct 16, 2019

Justin Thomas should be in for another strong performance

This week’s CJ Cup is the first of three straight events in Asia for the PGA Tour. Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka are the clear favorites as they are the only players with single-digit betting odds. Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, and Viktor Hovland round out the top five consensus players in the betting markets, as well as on both DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings gives you $50,000 to select six golfers (average roster spot of $8,333), whereas FanDuel provides you with $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000.

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Tournament Notes

  • The CJ Cup is played at the Club at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island in South Korea. The par-72 course measures 7,196 yards but plays even shorter because of the elevation. The fairways and greens are both large as this is a resort course.
  • Remember to do your lineups early as the event locks Wednesday night at 7:00 pm E.T. for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • There are only 78 players in the field this week in this no-cut event.
  • Justin Thomas won two years ago at 9-under par in a playoff with Marc Leishman. The wind was atrocious during the event and kept scores down. Last year, Brooks Koepka won with a 21-under par score.
  • The generous course and the no-cut format has me valuing those golfers that can score in bunches and I will be looking at Birdie or Better Percentage quite a bit. As this is a traditional par-72 with four par 3s and four par 5s, I will be looking at golfers that score well on par 5s.
  • If you are looking at home country narratives, K.J. Choi, Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na, Sungjae Im, Danny Lee, K.H. Lee, and Sung Kang are notable South Korean golfers.

Course Horse

Cameron Smith ($9,000-DK // $9,600-FD)
He is the only golfer to have top-10 finishes each of the last two years at this course. Nobody has gained more than his 19.42 strokes he has gained on the field over the last two years. Combine that with his T13 at the Shriners and he is reasonably priced on DK (18% of the salary cap) and an even better value on FD (16% of the salary cap).

Recent Form

Viktor Hovland ($10,500-DK // $10,900-FD)
Nobody has been more consistent over the last four months than Hovland. Whether it has been the PGA Tour, the Euro Tour, or the Korn Ferry Tour, he has consistently produced. A T16 back in July has been his worst finish in the last eight events. He doesn’t really have a weakness to his game, and it is only a matter of time before he wins. The only reason he is not my favorite high-tier play this week is because he hasn’t played since his T11 at the BMW PGA Championship on the Euro Tour back in September.

Favorite Core Play

Sungjae Im ($9,700-DK // $10,300-FD)
I don’t know if he will win this week, but I like his chances to significantly outscore his finishing place. He is the eighth most-expensive golfer on DK and ninth on FD. He has five top-20 finishes in his last seven PGA starts, including a solo runner up at the Sanderson Farms. What is most impressive is that only Justin Thomas has scored more fantasy points than Im during the last 24 rounds. Two final thoughts are that this is Im’s home course and he just won last week on the Korean Tour. That might not be a big deal but for a guy that has been contending for a year, it must be nice to know what winning feels like again. This could be a really good week for Im.

Favorite High-Tier Play

Justin Thomas ($11,700-DK // $12,000-FD)
This might be obvious but sometimes the obvious is just that for good reason. In the five no-cut events since last year’s CJ Cup, Thomas has finished T3 > Win > T12 > 9 > 3. Yes, he struggled here last year but won it the year before. He has already shaken the rust off of the 2019-2010 season with a T4 at the Safeway Open. In the last 24 rounds, he is first in fantasy points and Birdies or Better percentage. He is certainly capable of winning this event as five of his last eight wins have come in no-cut formats.

Favorite Mid-Tier Play

Chez Reavie ($8,200-DK // $9,300-FD)
He finished T7 here last year after a T15 finish the year before. In his last no-cut event, he finished eighth at the TOUR Championship. In the last 24 rounds, he is seventh in Birdie or Better Percentage and 14th in fantasy scoring. Even though he missed the cut in his last start, it wasn’t that he played poorly because he was 4-under par after Friday. I like getting a guy who checks most of the boxes and is at a fair price. He will be in the majority of my lineups this week.

Favorite Lower-Tier Play

Adam Long ($6,700-DK // $7,300-FD)
The low range of players is not very strong this week, so it lends itself to a more balanced build. However, Long is one of the low-priced golfers that has strong recent form and has won a PGA event this calendar year. In the last 12 rounds played (last three events), he is ninth in the field in terms of Birdie or Better percentage, which is crucial in a no-cut event. Even more importantly, he is second in fantasy scoring during that time. He has three straight top-25 finishes but is actually far outscoring his finishing place.

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Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.

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