The PGA TOUR travels to South Korea for the third installment of The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. The tournament was first introduced to the PGA TOUR’s schedule two years ago and will again host the top-60 ranked Fedex Cup golfers from last season along with a handful of Korean golfers making up the 78-player field this week. The CJ Cup will be a no-cut event meaning fantasy managers will undoubtedly need the winner on their rosters in order to claim the first place in their contest.
Nine Bridges will play as a par 72, be putt on bentgrass greens and measure 7,196 yards this week. Like most coastal or island courses, Nine Bridges can be susceptible to volatile weather conditions. This was the case back in 2017, when the tournament experienced extremely windy conditions and scores suffered resulting as the fourth toughest course in scoring relative to par that season. The following tournament (last season) had better weather conditions and subsequently improved average scores over the weekend, which decreased by 3.5 strokes.
The course can be challenging with tree-lined fairways and undulating greens, but with little to no wind, Nine Bridges has the chance to be a birdie fest; the top-5 gained an average of over 7.5 strokes in birdies gained over the field last season. The course isn’t long and with four par-5s, we should again look to golfers who are elite in par-5 scoring average; the top-3 in this stat category from last season who are in the field are Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland and Sungjae Im. We should also focus on players who’ve shown ability around the greens as well as scrambling from the sand with over 100 bunkers throughout the course.
Tommy FleetwoodFleetwood has the pedigree and the game to win on the biggest stage, but hasn’t been able to put four rounds together for a win in his short career on the PGA TOUR. He’s been close however, finishing runner-up in major tournaments and other tough no-cut events like the World Golf Championship’s (WGCs), no worse than a 19th place over his last three in 2018. Fleetwood’s current form is top-notch ranking 17th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last three tournaments on the PGA TOUR and has played well on the European Tour ranking sixth in stroke average and third in par-5 scoring this season.
Hideki MatsuyamaMatsuyama is another golfer who does well in no-cut events with his most recent victory at the WGC-Bridgestone back in 2017 as well as three top-5s at the Tournament of Champions (runner-up in 2017). Matsuyama has leaned on his ball-striking to mitigate his poor putting throughout his career, but shouldn’t need to as much here ranking top-15 in Strokes Gained: Putting on bentgrass greens over his last 50 rounds. Hideki should be feeling good about his game heading to Jeju Island gaining eight strokes tee-to-green at The Shriners Hospital for Children Open (SHCO) earlier this month.
Chez ReavieReavie is gaining an average of five strokes tee-to-green in his last three tournaments and ranks 22nd in birdie or better gained over the same timeframe. Reavie could be a golfer most fantasy managers overlook missing the cut at SHCO, but shouldn’t be with a top-7 in 2018 and top-15 the year previous at this tournament.
Rory SabbataniSabbatini continued his solid golf from last season shooting three rounds under par at The Italian Open resulting in a top-10. Rory has gained an average of three strokes tee-to-green over his last 10 tournaments, ranks inside the top-15 in both Par-5 scoring average and sand saves over his last three tournaments on the PGA TOUR. Sabbatini also hits the ball extremely well when the conditions become windy and difficult ranking just outside the top-30 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 tournaments which recorded extremely windy conditions.
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