Venue: Nine Bridges Golf Club, Jeju Island, South Korea
Date: October 18-21, 2018
Course stats: Par 72, 7,196 yards
Purse: $9.5 million (£7.2m)
Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-9)
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CJ Cup preview
The PGA Tour heads to Jeju Island in South Korea for the second edition of the CJ Cup, a limited 78-man field with a monster $9.5 million prize fund up for grabs.
Played at the Nine Bridges Golf Club, it is the only golf course in Korea that is ranked among the world’s top 100. The course rolls through forestland and while the fairways are fairly generous, scoring is often tricky given the usual strong winds and the undulating nature of the layout.
Justin Thomas opened with a 63 last year on his way to the title, yet he still needed a playoff against Marc Leishman – last week’s CIMB Classic winner – to secure the win in what was the inaugural event.
Thomas is back to defend his title, while Brooks Koepka also makes the trip to Korea, with the two headlining what looks to be a fairly decent field. European Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren and Ian Poulter are all present.
CJ Cup betting tips
The top two last year – Thomas and Leishman – finished the week with the best putting stats, but of course predicting a good putting week from any player is almost impossible. Instead, focus on players that excel with iron in hand given that the fairways are easier to hit than usual.
Justin Thomas is statistically the best approach player in this field, but I’ll give him a swerve at the short price available.
Chesson Hadley (66/1, 7 places) finished runner-up last week in Malaysia and, while he’ll be playing here at Nine Bridges for the first time this week, he ticks a lot of boxes at an appealing price.
Hadley ranked ninth in strokes gained: approach last season, so if we go off of that, he ranks as the fifth best approach player in this field.
The world No. 60’s sole PGA Tour win came in Puerto Rico, perhaps one of the windiest destinations that the players play each year, so there should be no problems if the wind does get up – which it more than likely will do on Jeju Island, situated just off the south coast of mainland Korea.
The lanky American loves this time of year. Last year, he started the wraparound season with three consecutive top-four finishes. Hadley missed the cut at the Safeway Open – the season opener – but given that he finished runner-up last week, history tells us that he is capable of stringing strong performances together at this time of year.
That’s our betting expert’s top tip to win the CJ Cup, but where does he think you make some real profit? Find out his outsiders on the next page…