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A fifth edition of THE CJ CUP and, as last year, the tournament takes place, not in Korea, its original home, but in Las Vegas.
Yet whereas the 2020 event was hosted by Shadow Creek, this year it heads to The Summit Club which is very close to last week’s home of the Shriners Children’s Open in the city’s suburb of Summerlin.
What Shadow Creek and The Summit do have in common is the man who designed them – Tom Fazio.
He has also been responsible for Conway Farms, which has hosted three recent renewals of the BMW Championship, Caves Valley, which hosted this August’s edition of that event, and Congaree, which welcomed the Palmetto Championship in June.
As we’ll discover later, the Fazio connection is one decent potential clue in the weekly quest for value.
Otherwise, what is abundantly clear from the odds is that this week is the first elite-level field of the 2021/22 season – and that the odds compilers are struggling to separate those at the head of the market.
Three men share favoritism at BetMGM and 11 golfers are priced +2500 or less.
Can we expect one of the top-ranked performers to lift the title? It would be no great surprise because Justin Thomas has won the event twice, Brooks Koepka was the other winner in Korea, and Xander Schauffele did just about everything but win last year – eventually, Jason Kokrak did so.
Schauffele had led by three at halfway and went super-low in the final round to grab second; he just made a mess of his Saturday lap.
Kokrak might not be an elite player, but he’s not far short of it and he did claim a second win in eight months when triumphant at Colonial this June.
In the immediate aftermath of winning the Open and very nearly winning a bronze medal at the Olympics Collin Morikawa suffered something of a form and fitness slump.
But in winning three and half points from four matches at the Ryder Cup he put to bed all notions of those problems becoming long-term.
Now he returns to PGA Tour action and the venue could hardly be better for his first start of the new season.
Course form? Well, no one has it in the sense of playing a tour event here, but Morikawa is a Las Vegas resident, a member at The Summit, and guess what? He’s carded a 62 there.
There’s even better news. Last year Morikawa was T12th at Shadow Creek and he also claimed his first PGA Tour win in Nevada at the 2019 Barracuda Championship.
Plenty of good vibes for a major championship winner in each of the last two years.
Take him each way in the outright at +1600 with Caesars Sportsbook. It’s not only a competitive price, it’s also paying out seven places.
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton has always played good golf at altitude.
Admittedly Las Vegas is not seriously high at 620m, but the thin air is a factor and that has to bring the Ryder Cupper into the equation.
He’s played Crans in the Swiss Alps four times and landed a hat-trick of third-place finishes.
He’s also been second at Royal Johannesburg on the Highveld in South Africa and was 4-for-4 at making the top 20 in the WGC held in Mexico City, with a best of third.
And the only time he played in Vegas? At last year’s event when he was third.
That latter result also has extra meaning because he was also second at Fazio’s Congaree earlier this season.
So he’s got a raft of top three finishes at altitude, a pair of them on Fazio designs and guess what? In his last start, at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, he finished top three again!
Take him to make the top 10 with bet365 offering +375.
Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman have been paired in a match by bet365 and it might be a little one-sided.
The reason for their coupling might be that they share the tournament head-to-head count 1-1, and that Leishman arrives fresh from back-to-back top fives while Garcia missed the cut last time out.
But since the start of this year the Spaniard leads the head-to-head count 8-5.
Since the beginning of 2020 the advantage is a clearer 15-7.
And the clincher is that Garcia leads 3-1 on Tom Fazio designs.
Leishman is a fine fellow and a wonderful golfer, but this setup is based on short-term info and we can back the long-term trends and have the numbers on our side.
Garcia is the man to support at -105 with bet365.
|Tournament||THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT|
|Location||The Summit Club, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Time||Thursday October 14 – Sunday October 18|
|How to watch||Thursday, Friday & Saturday 5pm & 8.30pm ET (Golf Channel), Sunday 5pm & 9pm ET (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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