A new venue for the CJ CUP which has had a slightly unsettled time of it on the PGA TOUR. It was initially conceived as a Korean venture for the circuit, the opportunity to branch out into the Asian market and one that has particular promise, too, with the high number of Koreans plying their trade in America. However, after three editions on Jeju Island, Covid intervened. The tournament was hastily reconvened to Shadow Creek in Las Vegas 12 months ago and now it moves across Sin City to The Summit Club. The field remains small, but high quality.
The Summit Club
We might be faced by a new puzzle, but in one respect it remains the same: the man setting the conundrum is still Tom Fazio. The layout is a par 72 set at 7,431 yards with greens that have bent grass and fairways that are Bermuda grass overseeded with rye. There is also a little altitude (620m) at play.
Something Xander Schauffele argued ahead of last year’s event is well worth re-reading. He said of that test, which like this week was new to the field: “The Grand Golf Club back at home (in Del Mar, California), that’s my home course and it is a Fazio design, so I do see some design aspects that are similar. There is a level of comfort that I feel on certain tee shots and on the greens, too. They’re kind of trickier than people think. It took me a while to figure those out at home and hoping that that’ll help me here.” He finished second.
If his belief that Fazio designs need a little learning – and that that learning can be transferred from other creations – bears fruit then it is worth knowing which of the architect’s other courses the PGA TOUR has visited. Think of Grayhawk in the recent past (the old Frys.com Open – not much use in terms of players in this field but it was a course that suited specialists so backs up Schauffle’s line of reasoning). More recently, Conway Farms hosted three BMW Championship. Obviously Shadow Creek was used last year, and also Congaree and Caves Valley this calendar year,
The weather for Las Vegas, Nevada looks set fair. The field has almost perfect conditions. If the forecast is correct, it will be sunny every day, with very little wind and almost no humidity. It might be chilly early on (and never hot), but with a small field no-one will be playing too early.
Past Champions of THE CJ CUP
The first CJ CUP saw Justin Thomas get off to an electric start, opening up a three-shot first round lead, which he then squandered before clawing his way into a play-off with Marc Leishman that he won. Two years later he went low on Friday instead of Thursday and eventually got the best of Danny Lee over the weekend to claim a second title.
In-between Thomas’ successes Brooks Koepka opened up a four shot lead on the field in the third round and never looked like conceding it on Sunday. Those three event were also notable for being something of a Cameron Smith benefit. He finished in the top seven every single year.
Last year Schauffele’s Fazio inside information looked to be valuable at halfway when he held a three shot lead, but he labored to a Saturday 74 before recovering to land second. Russell Henley grabbed his own three shot advantage after 54 holes before slipping backwards and allowing Jason Kokrak to pounce. Something of a serial non-winner at the time, he has since added a second PGA TOUR triumph at Colonial.
Here’s are some entirely FREE suggestions for you this week with MORE for subscribers (DraftKings Prices)
|B list||H. English||$8,900|
|B list||T. Hatton||$8,400|
|C list||J. Day||$7,000|
|C list||A. Noren||$7,100|
Xander Schauffele ($10,600) Those words the Olympic golf medalist uttered 12 months ago are the initial prompt – he plays a Fazio track regularly, he’s aware that the examination is regularly a tricky one, and he has transfered those skills in this event, albeit at a different course. He’s also, of coursre, a high quality performer, who, when last seen, was finishing the third low-scorer at East Lake and then performing in style at the Ryder Cup.
Harris English ($8,900) The recent Ryder Cup debutant is surprisingly well-tested on Fazio courses and he’s proved himself a solid proposition on them. He has finished T–19 at Conway Farms, was T–26 at Caves Valley, T–14 at Congaree (when bang in the hunt with 18 holes to play), and he was T–10 at this event last year.
Tyrrell Hatton ($8,400) Another sneaky good performer on Fazio track. The Englishman was third at Shadow Creek in this tournament 12 months ago and then threatened to win the Palmetto Championship at Congaree ahead of landing second place in June. He also responded fairly well to the Ryder Cup pressure Europe found themselves under and span off that experience to land a tie for second at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Altitude won’t faze him either: he’s played Crans in the Swiss Alps four times and claimed a trio of top three finishes.
Jason Day ($7,000) It’s always a risk to play the fragile Australian, who has a habit of getting a back back or a mystery sniffle. But it’s also always important to know when to chance your arm with a performer and this week might be that time with Day. Why so keen? He was a winner, and twice finished fourth, at Conway Farms. He did withdraw from this event 12 months ago so beware, but the upside at this price looks good.
Alex Noren ($7,100) Another European with a fine record at altitude. The Swede, in fact, has two victories in the European Masters at Crans (and another two top 10 finishes in nine visits). His form is strong too, with 11 top 30 finishes in his last 15 starts (and five finishes of T–16 or better in six starts, including a best of T–4 in The Northern Trust up against high quality opposition).
Viktor Hovland ($9,900) The Norwegian is good. In fact, he’s very good. Last week at TPC Summerlin he gained over five strokes on the field from both the tee and with his approaches. But why did he not contend? Because he’s currently losing shots around the greens with a horrible frequency and it’s not an Achilles heel to be carrying around at this salary.
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Here’s Another Alternate of Core Picks For THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT
|B list||M. Leishman||$8,600|
|B list||S. Garcia||$7,500|
|C list||M. McNealy||$7,300|
|C list||R. Fowler||$6,400|
Collin Morikawa ($10,800) The last time we saw the two-time major championship winner playing on his own we were a little worried about his form and fitness. But he won three and a half points from his four matches in the Ryder Cup and may have put those concerns to bed. He’s a winner at altitude in the Barracuda Championship, he’s a member at The Summit Club, and he’s known to have carded a 62 there.
Marc Leishman ($8,600) As referenced above, the Aussie lost a play-off in this event when it was held at The Club at Nine Bridges in Korea. He is also a winner on a the Fazio design at Conway Farms. And his form is very good too: He was T–4 in his seasonal opener and then finished like a train when T–3 last week at TPC Summerlin, just a few par-5s from this week’s track.
Sergio Garcia ($7,500) The Spaniard has made five starts on Fazio designs and he’s always ended the week in the top 40. He’s been T–39, T–18 and T–12 at Conway Farms, was T–21 at Shadow Creek last year, and was T–6 at Caves Valley in August. He opened this season with a missed cut, but before that was a star at the Ryder Cup and ended 2020/21 with a pair of top 10s.
Maverick McNealy ($7,300) Like Morikawa, McNealy is a member at The Summit Club and also a Las Vegas resident. He was T–2 at the recent Fortinet Championship and ought to like the Korean vibes this week. His partner is the LPGA star Danielle Kang and he is learning to read, write and speak the language.
Rickie Fowler ($6,400) The ever-popular Fowler opened his 2021/22 season with a missed cut, but he needs careful consideration this week owing to his low salary. Many will be seeking a miniscule figure to load the high-end and with no cut that could aid Fowler’s chances of taking another run at a Fazio design. He’s finished T–2 at Grayhawk, T–2 and T–4 at Conway Farms, and was T–28 at Shadow Creek last year.
Louis Oosthuizen ($9,300) The altitude won’t faze the South African, who faces it every time he is in Johannesburg. But he’s not taken to Fazio designs so far. In fact, four starts on them have seen him three times fail to make the top 35 and he’s logged a best of only T–19.
This event has favored high quality performers and there’s no reason to expect that to change. Some might quibble with Kokrak in that category, but his golf over the last 18 months has been superb and Schauffele might easily have won last year. With a new course – a third in five years – you might wonder about drawing conclusions about the winners, but given the elite nature of the field it seems that, like the World Golf Championship, the cream largely rises to the top. All that said, there will be a nod to Fazio in the picks. Also note this week that there is no cut and that there are a handful of Korean and Asian Tour performers in the field.
Other Player Options For THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT
• Adam Scott went to the University of Las Vegas and said on Instagram, with a heavy hint of irony, that he had played “a few rounds in Vegas”, but last week was only his third PGA TOUR start in Nevada in this entire century.
• Tom Hoge has four top 25s from eight appearances in Nevada, the state he is resident in. He was also T–4 in The Northern Trust.
• In four tournament starts Cameron Smith has never finished outside the top 11. Can he maintain that run on a new track?
COVID-19 and Injury Warning:
Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup.
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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