CJ Cup: Nine Bridges Golf Course, South Korea
The PGA Tour will be welcoming a brand new event into its calendar as the first CJ Cup at Nine Bridges Golf Course on the island of Jeju, South Korea gets underway. Players will encounter a 7300+ yards Par-72 which will have some very interesting holes. Designed by Golf Plan, the course has consistently been rated among the top-100 golf courses in the world by Golf Magazine.
The design of the course is interesting with water features on over half the holes and more than 100 bunkers littering the entire duration. The greens and the fairways are bentgrass, something that we are not too used to seeing on the PGA Tour courses in the states.
The final hole is an island green and should make for excellent viewing particularly if things are tight down the stretch. The fairways are quite generous and there are plenty of doglegs in both directions so as to not give any one kind of player an advantage.
The weather should be excellent for playing golf and no rain stoppages are expected. The wind can pick up and swirl around in different directions, something that could be a factor as the tournament progresses.
Since this is a new course and a debut tournament there is not much course history to go on. Players that adapt to the challenges quicker will have an advantage as will the Asian players that have played on this course frequently.
The field is once again limited to 78 players with no cut being imposed. The onus will be on scoring and so players that are carrying some good form, as well as those that can get on scoring sprees, are the ones that will be on the Wolf’s radar.
Winning this tournament will require a mix of solid ball striking, hitting the fairways consistently and getting on the green regulation to put yourself in the best chance to score birdies.
Stats That Matter
The stats to look out for this week will be once again all about scoring. The Wolf has identified the three following stats to help identify some potential winners:
– Birdie Average
– Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
– Putts Per Round
The course has a good variety of long and short holes on the course and the Wolf feels it might play a little tougher than last week at the CIMB Classic.
There are some very string names in the field led by Justin Thomas, the in-form Paul Casey and the red-hot Xander Schauffele. For this week though The Wolf has Aussie Jason Day at $12.00 on top. Day ended the last season on a high and has three top-10 finishes in his last five starts. The Wolf has a feeling that we could see the best of Day this year as his personal issues start to recede in the background. The former world number 1 is one hell of a player and despite a down year still managed to be 6th in birdie average and 7th in putts per round. Jason Day loves the bentgrass greens and will absolutely devour the competition if he is able to get himself into position to sink some putts.
For the value pick, The Wolf likes Patrick Reed at $26.00. His season last year was excellent and he really started to come into his own towards the end of it. A T2 at the PGA Championship, T6 at the Dell Technologies Championship and a T13 at the Tour Championship highlights his ability to finish in the top rung consistently. As we saw at the Presidents Cup Reed has that killer mentality and with the field taking on a new course look for him to play himself into contention. He has a consistent game and like Day, if the putter gets hot he can drain them from 50 feet!
The long shot for this week’s tournament is a player who can swing wildly between the sublime and the ridiculous. Russel Henley at $41.00 is definitely worth a punt on a new course with a limited field and no cut where he can cut loose and play his natural game. Henley finished T3 at the Tour Championship but that top-5 finish came after a long stretch of relatively poor scores. The one thing that is in Henley’s favour is his ability to score birdies. If he can avoid the disastrous holes in between he could be in contention come Sunday.
Also keep an eye on Xander Schauffele who is an absolute scoring machine right now. If he falls of the pace after round 1 look to place a bet on him In-Play as he can turn things around quick smart and play his way into contention over the weekend.
Tournament By Country
72 Hole Match Bets