After a fairly slow start to the 2020 PGA Tour season, the action starts to heat up this week as we head to The Club at Nine Bridges in South Korea for the CJ Cup.
We have a full preview and betting tips for the tournament below.
The CJ Cup will be the first of a three stop trip throughout Asia for the PGA Tour, continuing with the Zozo Championship in Japan and finishing with the highly anticipated WGC-HSBC Champions event in China.
The CJ Cup in South Korea will be the first tournament of the 2020 PGA Tour season with a prize-pool of over $9,000,000, which means the field will be significantly more packed than some of the tournaments we have seen to start the season. Most of the top ranked players in the world will be using either this week at the CJ or next week at the Zozo to prepare for the first WGC event of the year in China.
Defending CJ Cup champion and No.1 ranked player in the world, Brooks Koepka, will make just his second start of the season in South Korea, as he attempts to become the first person to win two CJ Cup titles. Alongside Koepka is a host of top ranked players who will be making the trip to Asia.
Justin Thomas, Chez Reavie, Hideki Matsuyama, Gary Woodland, Tommy Fleetwood, Marc Leishman, Ian Poulter and Jordan Spieth are just a few of the top names that will be teeing it up this Thursday. Brooks Koepka’s younger brother, Chase, will be a sponsors exemption into the field, after competing at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
In total, the field features 78 players, which will be rounded out by a bunch of aspiring rookies in the likes of Victor Hovland and Matthew Wolff.
The Club at Nine Bridges is located on Jeju Island, which is just south of South Korea’s mainland. The course opened in 2001 and is a Par 72 which can be stretched up to around 7,300 yards, which will likely be the length of the course for the PGA Tour event.
As the name ‘Nine Bridges’ might suggest, there is plenty of water scattered throughout the course. While the landing areas both off the tee and on approach are fairly generous as far as PGA Tour standards go, there can be severe penalties for any misses.
As this year marks just the third time a PGA Tour event has been played at Nine Bridges, there is not much data available to suggest what type of player usually plays well there. However, length and accuracy off the tee and scoring on Par 5’s is an early target for us.
The wind on JeJu Island will no doubt play a massive factor this week, and there are few better at playing in windy conditions than the 2019 US Open Champion, Gary Woodland. Woodland fought blustering conditions at Pebble Beach in the US Open to win the event by three shots over Brooks Koepka.
Woodland has played just one event in the 2020 PGA Tour season so far, where he finished T55 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open earlier this month. Woodland has played in both CJ Cup events over the past two years, finishing T40 in 2018 before beaing edged out by Brooks Koepka to finish 2nd last season.
Woodland has length and most importantly a high variety of shot types that he will be able to utilise in windy conditions and around the multitude of dog-legs scattered around Nine Bridges.
Gary Woodland Top 20 - $2.00
Justin Thomas to win - $8.00
Justin Thomas top 5 - $2.20
Viktor Hovland top 20 - $1.80
Cameron Smith top 20 - $2.20
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