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BlogCJ Cup@9 Bridges Preview and Picks

The CJ CUp @ NINE BRIDGES

October 19th – 22nd, 2017

The Club at Nine Bridges

Jeju Island, South Korea

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $9.25 million

with $1.6 million to the winner

Defending Champion:
First year event

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 38 of the top 100 and 19 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player being #4 Justin Thomas.  The other top 50 players are #9 Jason Day, #14 Paul Casey, #16 Marc Leishman, #20 Pat Perez, #21 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #23 Patrick Reed, #25 Adam Scott, #27 Daniel Berger, #29 Xander Schauffele, #31 Charl Schwartzel, #32 Brian Harman, #34 Thomas Pieters, #38 Jhonattan Vegas, #41 Siwoo Kim, #45 Tony Finau, #46 Branden Grace, #48 Russell Henley and #50 Adam Hadwin.

The field includes 13 of the Top 25 on last year’s final FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players includes #1 Justin Thomas, #3 Xander Schauffele, #6 Marc Leishman, #11 Paul Casey, #13 Russell Henley, #15 Pat Perez, #16 Daniel Berger, #18 Jason Day, #19 Tony Finau, #22 Patrick Reed, #23 Jhonattan Vegas, #24 Kyle Stanley and #25 Brian Harman.

The field includes 10 players in the top 25 on last year’s PGA Tour money list, #1 Justin Thomas, #7 Marc Leishman, #10 Brian Harman, #11 Pat Perez, #12 Xander Schauffele, #13 Daniel Berger, #17 Paul Casey, #19 Adam Hadwin, #20 Russell Henley and #21 Kyle Stanley.

This is the first time this event is being played.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the

Player CIMB Classic Italian Open Safeway Open Dunhill Links British Masters Tour Champ. Portugal Masters BMW Champ. KLM Open European Masters Dell Tech. Northern Trust
Xander Schauffele
(268.5 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
T17
(16.5)
Pat Perez
(242 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 16
(34)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T6
(30)
T34
(8)
Justin Thomas
(232 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP Win
(66)
T6
(30)
Paul Casey
(217 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP T4
(40)
5
(35)
Tony Finau
(210 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
T54
(0)
Marc Leishman
(198 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(26)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP 3
(45)
CUT
(-5)
Jason Day
(155.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP T25
(12.5)
T6
(30)
Lucas Glover
(128 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T30
(10)
T40
(5)
Chez Reavie
(128 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T61
(0)
T10
(20)
Keegan Bradley
(124 pts)
2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T35
(7.5)
T43
(3.5)
Russell Henley
(110.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP T40
(5)
T25
(12.5)
Cameron Smith
(98 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
Sung Kang
(92.5 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T35
(7.5)
CUT
(-5)
Luke List
(89.5 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
T34
(8)
Kyle Stanley
(87 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP T25
(12.5)
T25
(12.5)
Gary Woodland
(87 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 19
(31)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T18
(16)
CUT
(-5)
Patrick Reed
(82 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP 65
(0)
DNP DNP T6
(30)
T20
(15)
Anirban Lahiri
(80 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Nick Taylor
(77 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Jhonattan Vegas
(76 pts)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 30
(20)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
T3
(45)
Bud Cauley
(74.5 pts)
67
(0)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
CUT
(-5)
Stewart Cink
(74 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP 12
(19)
CUT
(-5)
Scott Brown
(69.5 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
T25
(12.5)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(68 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP T18
(16)
CUT
(-5)
Graham Delaet
(67.5 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
WD
(-2.5)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the

Player CIMB Classic Italian Open Safeway Open Dunhill Links British Masters Tour Champ. Portugal Masters BMW Champ. KLM Open European Masters Dell Tech. Northern Trust
Chris Stroud
(-20 pts)
75
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
Sangmoon Bae
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
K.J. Choi
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(-5 pts)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T69
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Adam Scott
(-5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP
Seung-Yul Noh
(-5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Chad Campbell
(-5 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP 68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T67
(0)
Charles Howell III
(-5 pts)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T62
(0)
J.B. Holmes
(-5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Kelly Kraft
(-0.5 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-2.5)
70
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So it’s off to Korea in an event that not only has a lot of FedEx Cup points (500), but a purse of $9.25 million with the winner getting $1.6 million.  To put this in proper perspective, of the 50 events on the PGA Tour last year, only nine events had higher first place prizes, the four majors, four WGC and the Players Championship.  So this week’s CJ Cup will have the highest prize of any non-major, non WGC field.  So we can see why so many good players would ventured halfway around the world and to an area that in many people’s mind can be thought of as being very unsafe with all of the tensions between the United States and North Korea.  Yes Seoul, South Korea is very close to North Korea, but the Club at Nine Bridges is located on the Jeju Island which is an island about 75 miles off the southern end of the Korea peninsula.  So it’s located about 500 miles from the danger zone in an area that is consider the safest place in not only South Korea, but in the world.  On top of that players won’t even have to worry about dealing with Seoul, they can fly straight to Jeju International airport from either Tokyo, Hong Kong,or even Beijing.  There are a lot of high end hotels on the island, that cater to high end travelers, in Asia the Jeju Island is know has a major vacation place, so for the players they can feel safe this week.

As for the field, they were able to get some marquee players between Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Paul Casey, along with a lot of top Korean players, 16 in total  So the tournament will be one of the most competitive events outside a major, even for those that finish at the bottom of the leaderboard they will get over $17,000 so the payday will be very good.

Course information:

As for the course, it’s considered one of the top-100 in the world and the best course in Korea.  It was built in 2000 as part of a very private club attracting the top names in Korea business.  When it opened in 2001 Chi Chi Rodriguez called the course the “Taj Mahl of Golf”.  It’s architects Ronald Fream and David Dale aren’t very well know and they set out to create a Scottish Highlands course set at the foot of Mount Halla, an extinct volcano that is 6,300 feet tall. The Korean people have worshiped the mountain as being a place that God’s and spirits live on.  The biggest strength of the course is that it is a nature friendly course and the designers made sure not to ruin the stunning setting with it’s views of the countryside and Mount Halla.  After the course opened in 2001 the LPGA played on the course four years between 2002 and 2005.  But this will be the first time that the best players in the world will get to play it in a competition.

Set out in two distinct nines, the course begins with the heavily treed and rolling outward nine and closes with the lake infested back nine, strangely considered by the club to be its Scottish side. The front nine is very good and actually has a distinct British feel with some nice plateau greens, a Redan-shaped par three and even a Principal’s Nose bunker complex. The more open back nine is less impressive and a much more modern, Americanized form of golf design, complete with a cliché par five finisher that bends almost 90 degrees toward an island green.  The course actually features eight bridges – the ninth is metaphorical as a link from the club to members and guests.

For this week the PGA Tour has set up to course to play at par 72 and 7,196 yards. Water comes in play on six holes with three holes being played over branca.  The course is well bunkered but like most modern courses they are more for decoration and shouldn’t be much of a problem for players.

For those that played in Malaysia the weather will be drastically different.  Last week was very hot and humid, this week will be cool with each day being in the mid-60s with no rain.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Nine Bridges:

Key stat for the winner:

Of the field of 78 players, only a handful have seen the course.  So for each player it will be a new adventure learning the course.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • The course will be in perfect condition and the greens will be some of the finest they play.  Since there isn’t much undulation in them, I think a good putter will do well.
  • Have to wonder if someone that bombs it will have a big advantage, specially on the back nine which is more open than the front.  Also like a person that makes a lot of birdies, this is the trend on those playing a new course.  Remember this, no matter what people say about a course, the advantage is always on the top players in the world, they play a different game than all of us and shouldn’t have problems scoring on this course.
  • One last thing, look for players that have done well of late.

Who to watch for at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES

(remember this is a first year event so no past records)

Best Bets:

Justin Thomas

Started very slowly in Malaysia but was much better over the weekend.  Look for him to play well this week, Nine Bridges is the same style course as Kuala Lumpur.

Xander Schauffele

Played well in Malaysia, see that carrying over to this week

Marc Leishman

Has a good track record in Asia, look for him to do well.

Best of the rest:

Paul Casey

Always a threat every time he plays, makes a lot of birdies and hits lot’s of greens something that will go a long way this week.

Tony Finau

Hits it a long way which could help him this week, plus he has finished in the top seven in his last three starts.

Jason Day

A good sign that he is playing this week, that means he is feeling good about his game and looking to regain the way he played in 2015.  Expect good things from him this week.

Pat Perez

We can’t forget about him, showed how good he is last week and I can see him carrying over the good play to this week

Solid contenders

Anirban Lahiri

Another person to watch, was good last week in Malaysia, I can see him go out and continue to do good things this week.

Kevin Na

Born in South Korea he would love to win in his home country and has the game to do well.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

Was T-10th last week, could be a good course for him.

Ian Poulter

Fall is important for him to play well and get back into the top-50 of the world rankings, he can start the move this week.

Stewart Cink

Could 2018 be a year he returns to the winner circle? Has the tools, this is a great course for him.

Long shots that could come through:

Sung Kang

Was 3rd last week, another Korean that has played this course and knows how to do on it.

Cameron Smith

Watch him he could be the sleeper pick for the week after what he did last week at CIMB

Lucas Glover

Great ball striker has been playing good of late.

 

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