First time for everything!
Course will have star power this week along with the 78-man special invitational field.
THE CJ CUP AT SHADOW CREEK
Shadow Creek Club
|Yards (per official scorecard):||7,527|
|Greens:||T1 Bentgrass, around 5,500 square feet.|
|Rough:||Over-seeded Bermuda (Rye) at almost four inches.|
|Architects:||Tom Fazio (1989/2008).|
|Purse:||$9.75 million; $1.755 plus 500 FedExCup points to the winner.|
|Defending Champion (Event):||Justin Thomas.|
|Defending Champion (Course):||Inaugural event.|
|Fact of the Week:||Shadow Creek will step in this year as the host of the event.|
|Fact of the Week II:||CLUB AT NINE BRIDGES on Jeju Island, South Korea is the normal host.|
- Asian Swing adjusted for calendar 2020.
- 78 players.
- No cut event.
- Winner gets invitation to the Masters/THE PLAYERS.
2020-2021 Season Winners
*- First-time winner
**- First-time winner AND rookie winner
|Safeway Open||Stewart Cink|
|120th United States Open||Bryson DeChambeau|
|Corales Punta Cana Championship||Hudson Swafford|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||Sergio Garcia|
|Shriners Hospitals for Children||Martin Laird (playoff)|
Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.
|2019||Justin Thomas||Held off Danny Lee by two shots on Jeju Island.|
|2018||Brooks Koepka||Led by four after 54, won by four over Gary Woodland.|
|2017||Justin Thomas||Defeated Marc Leishman in a playoff.|
Facts and Figures:
|Tournament Record:||Inaugural event.|
|Course Record:||66; Dustin Johnson|
|Lowest Rounds – Last Year||N/A.|
|Recent Defending Champion(s) Event:||N/A.|
|Multiple Winners (event or course):||Justin Thomas.|
|First Time – TOUR:||Nope.|
|First Time – Event||N/A.|
|Odd Fact:||15 of the top 20 OWGR players in the field this week. #Strong.|
|Odd Fact II:||Course was built for billionaire Steve Wynn in 1989.|
The Asian Swing has been postponed until next season thanks to COVID-19. The great news for gamers and TOUR pros is two of the three events will be salvaged starting with this week’s event. The only casualty will be the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions. It has been cancelled as China has wiped off all sporting events for 2020.
No jet let. No travel headaches. No cultural adjustments. Just Vegas, baby.
Shadow Creek Club hosts this week and will make its debut as host for a TOUR event. Sure, we all saw Tiger and Phil “battle” it out for 9 million on Thanksgiving weekend but this is the first event behind the curtain.
Tom Fazio has helped keep Augusta National on point in the modern game and was responsible for readying Quail Hollow Club for both the PGA Championship (won by Justin Thomas) and Presidents Cup (postponed in 2020).
Creating a parkland/rolling hills environment out of nothing in the desert was some accomplishment. Undulating Bentgrass greens will provide the defense at the hole while over-seeded rough, water on nine holes and 74 bunkers will catch errant shots. The old axiom of keeping it in the fairway to score is live this week. So are four Par-5 holes and a tempting drivable Par-4.
The redesign course record of 66 is interesting for a few reasons. The man who set it, Dustin Johnson, provides a clue on what the scoring should be this week. The other angle is how many pros have played this and how many rounds? Tiger and Phil suggested nine birdies would win their match but they both admitted the set-up wasn’t going to be off the charts.
Most of these money-grab, short-field events are won by elite players regardless of course or course set-up so I’m not deviating from that angle this week. There’s a handful of guys who are out of their depth when they step on the property. There’s also a handful of guys who know there aren’t many who stand in their way this week.
The only unknown this week will be how the TOUR sets up the track. 7,527 is meaty but hardly ridiculous, especially at 2,700 feet above sea level again this week. Better find guys who keep it in play, pound GIR and hole enough putts to score. They’re usually located in the top 20-ish in the world and this week is no different!
Chalk – Betting Favorites (Bet365.com) under 30-1
Jon Rahm (+800): By his own admission he’s never played so that’s an interesting number for the favorite. Winner at Olympia Fields and Memorial, two big ball parks with bentgrass greens and that’s what’s on the menu again this week. T23 Winged Foot last time out.
Justin Thomas (+1000): Top-heavy field this week and top-heavy odds board as well! Two-time winner of the event has played this track and doesn’t mind some Fazio in his life (Quail Hollow Club). Remarked how happy he was to get some time off after a difficult week at Winged Foot (T8) after opening with 65. Should be rested and ready.
Rory McIlroy (+1200): Wonder if Dad is getting any sleep? Haha, I bet he is as his results since Baby have arrived are his best recently. Two rounds of 67 and 68 at Winged Foot were clues but the other two of 75 and 76 were reminders.
Xander Schauffele (+1200): Silent assassin just goes about his business against big fields and big events. Of his last 39 events just five are outside the top 25 worldwide. Thrives regardless.
Matthew Wolff (+1800): Absolute gut-punch last week as my biggest win ticket lost in a playoff to a guy ranked No. 351 in the world. I think this will just piss Wolff off enough to take that momentum and cash it in this week. It’s funny he was +2200 last week coming off solo second at Winged Foot. Not sure much is going to bother him moving forward.
Patrick Cantlay (+2200): Course monster last week co-led after 54 holes but couldn’t get it in the barn from the final group. Interesting bounce-back week for him but his T8 last week was his best since the Memorial double back in June. I’ll watch from over here.
Tyrrell Hatton (+2200): Wentworth winner last week fulfilled a childhood dream so he should be floating on Cloud 9 nine this week. Super 2020 continues and I’ll forgive him if he has some IDGAF in the bag this week. His only two MC in the restart are both majors haha. Celebration last Sunday should have been tidy.
Collin Morikawa (+2200): Not many guys can say they MC last week, or any week for that matter, posting 6-under. That’s what happened at TPC Summerlin so he’s hardly playing poorly in his current hometown. I liked him last week because of the GIR and Bent and none of that’s changed!
Hideki Matsuyama (+2500): Getting close to VALUE TIME with him on board! One top 10 in his last 11 starts suggests we’re still reaching a bit here. His ball-striking and short game travel and unfamiliar greens won’t bother him a bit. Hit more of them! MC 5-under last week haha.
Daniel Berger (+2800): Sits comfortably in the three main statistical areas this week so I’d expect another game performance. First start after Winged Foot (T34) so he’ll enjoy all four rounds to get it figured out.
Brooks Koepka (+2800): His knee is fine and he’s here to win. OK. Tiger would be very proud of that answer! Tune up with Butch last week, first time in three weeks he’s picked up a club and away we go! Hip got Cortizone after PGA Championship, knee is getting better…I’m not sure I can jump in the first week back. At +2800 I know some of you will!
Select Next Tier (33-1 and up)
Tommy Fleetwood (+3300): Seemed to have found something in his last two starts in Europe but I haven’t seen it over here. Fell into this trap after T3 Portugal Masters followed by MC Winged Foot.
Viktor Hovland (+3500): Hits it great and all he’s done is play “new” tracks for the last two years. Top 10 more than win.
Sungjae Im (+4000): His worst payday last fall was this event when he went home. Now he’s not under the microscope on Jeju Island and played well last week. CJ representative should show out this week.
Scottie Scheffler (+4000): Joined the 6-under MC club last week at Shriners (69-67) so he’s knocked the rust off the last two weeks. Catch him on the up.
Louis Oosthuizen (+4000): Sprinted home with 64, low round of the day on Sunday at Shriners for T19 to back up his solo third at Winged Foot. I’d move him up.
Sergio Garcia (+5000): Slightly better price than last week in a field that’s twice as deep. Broke a streak of seven straight in the 60s as he went in reverse last Sunday (73) for T43. Ball-striking cooled on the weekend as well after being red-hot in the six previous rounds.
Ian Poulter (+7000): Back-to-back top six paydays the last two weeks in Great Britain shouldn’t hurt his confidence. Finds a way to get the ball in the hole on most courses on the planet.
Longer Shots – Top 20 or Each Way Tickets
Si Woo Kim (+8000): Obviously will have the pride to represent and he’s making tons of cuts. Completely unreliable every time I take a swing but worth a pinch.
Alex Noren (+9000): Three top 10s in six and five T22 or better. I mean.
Russell Henley (+9000): Cashed in six straight with two of the last three in the top 10 and T27 last week.
Jason Kokrak: (+9000): Three straight T17 or better on both Bent and Bermuda. I prefer him on difficult tracks where is his ball-striking can stand out. Move him up.
Brian Harman: (+10000): Eight straight.
Sebastian Munoz (+12500): Three of his last four T27 or better; 5 straight.
Brendan Steele (+16000): Top 10 and each way just in case. Seven straight busted last week by 6-under MC. Move it up.
Harry Higgs (+25000): MC last week on 68-68 followed solo second at Safeway and T11 TPC Boston. Too many dots here for that price.
Tom Hoge (+30000): Cashed in six of seven and the last three all in the top 30. Top 65 in Tee to Green and Approach; 61st Total. 37-under last three events and 71 is worst.
I’ll have others at Covers.com
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