The PGA TOUR stays in Las Vegas for THE CJ CUP at the Summit Club. The course will play as a par 72, measuring 7,431 yards and will feature bentgrass greens again this week. This tournament is a no-cut event.
The 78-man field will feature the top 60 golfers from the FedEx Cup standings last season on a course that will host its first PGA TOUR event. Usually held in South Korea, THE CJ CUP will spend its second year in Las Vegas due to safety precautions with the COVID-19 pandemic. The course is relatively unknown but was designed by Tom Fazio, the same architect who designed last year’s venue (Shadow Creek). This year’s CJ CUP will feature wide fairways with canyon and valley settings in the course’s aesthetic. The Summit Club sits at an elevation that ranges between 2,800 and 3,100 feet, and Fazio mentions that “the strong Southern Nevada winds will play a role on some spring and fall days,” which is similar to other desert courses in the area. The Summit Club is a private course, and one of its members is Collin Morikawa (+1600, $10,800), who comes into this week ranking 30th in Strokes Gained: Total over his previous 24 rounds. Other golfers who have Las Vegas ties are players like Maverick McNealy (+8000, $7,300), Charley Hoffman (+6000, $7,200) and Kevin Na (+5500, $7,800).
Fazio also notes that this course isn’t going to play too tricky for the pros, and as a stock 72, the course will feature four par 5s, three of which are reachable in two for the majority of the field. The par 5 18th is a three-shot hole for most golfers and should bring fireworks if the tournament comes down to it this week.
With a no-cut event, it’s always prudent to chase golfers who’ve done well in similar events. The top five golfers over the previous 24 rounds in no-cut events are (starting from first) Dustin Johnson (+1000, $11,300), Russell Henley (+6000, $7,100), Justin Thomas (+1200, $11,100), Jason Kokrak (+5000, $8,500) and Xander Schauffele (+1200, $10,600)
Xander Schauffele (+1200 to Win, $10,600 on DraftKings)
Xander entered 2021 as the eighth-ranked player in the world and heads into THE CJ CUP as the fifth in the world. Yes, he won the Gold Medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo this summer, but a player of his caliber is too good to go this long without a victory on TOUR (2019 Tournament of Champions). Since his last win, he has had eight runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes, some of which came at the majors. At similar desert tracks like Shadow Creek, TPC Summerlin and The Stadium Course in Palm Springs, Schauffele ranks ninth in SG: Total over the previous 24 rounds across the courses mentioned above. He’s one of the best at no-cut events, and he calls Las Vegas his home.
Viktor Hovland (+2800 to Win, $9,900 on DraftKings)
Let’s consider going back to the well with Hovland this week, especially when he gained over 10 strokes ball-striking but lost almost as much around the greens (ARG) last week. This type of ball-striking is too good to ignore, and the -8.9 strokes he lost ARG last week is his worst performance by five strokes since he’s been on TOUR — we call that an outlier. On the other hand, his ball-striking numbers were some of his best on TOUR. Brooks Koepka (+2800, $9,700) may soak up a lot of attention in the outright and DFS markets, potentially keeping Hovland’s projected roster percentage lower than it should be this week.
Russell Henley (+6000 to Win, $7,100 on DraftKings)
Like Hovland, Henley had one of his best ball-striking events last week and couldn’t get his short game in order. Henley ranked sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green last week and finished T21 in his first tournament since the BMW Championship back in late August. We know Henley’s approach is elite, but his game goes to another level at no-cut events. Over the previous 24 rounds in no-cut events, Henley ranks second in SG: Ball-Striking, SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Total. As for his approach game in these events, he ranks first over the same timeframe.
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