It’s the second week of the Sin City Swing as the CJ Cup moves to Las Vegas this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s a stellar field at Shadow Creek – where Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson met in the first edition of The Match. Justin Thomas defends the title he won in South Korea last year, Rory McIlroy makes his first appearance of the 2021 season, and there’s a return to action for Brooks Koepka.
CJ Cup: The details
Venue: Shadow Creek Golf Course, Nevada, USA
Date: October 15-18, 2020
Course stats: Par 72; 7,560 yards
Course summary: A second consecutive event in Las Vegas, but with a distinct difference. Shadow Creek is a monster of a track, tipping over 7,500 yards. Driving distance will surely be a key measure for success here as players look to navigate this flat, tree-lined parkland venue, which uses its length as its main defence. Fast greens, averaging around 14 on the stimpmeter, need serious attention at an event that tests all aspects of the game.
Purse: $9.75 million
Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-20)
The CJ Cup TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf (Red Button – Featured Groups) from 5.45pm, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 10pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf (Red Button – Featured Groups) from 5.45pm, Sky Sports Golf from 10pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf (Red Button – Featured Groups) from 5.45pm, Sky Sports Golf from 10pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf (Red Button – Featured Groups) from 5.45pm, Sky Sports Golf from 10pm
The CJ Cup Betting: Staking Plan
Harris English – 1.5pt e/w @ 45/1 with bet365
English impressed everyone when finishing 4th at the US Open recently, which is why I am very interested in backing him at this price. This week’s venue requires consistently excellent tee shots, creative scrambling, and strong putting. English is a consistent player with very few weaknesses in his game when playing his best stuff, and that is why he suits this test. With only two starts this season so far, it is worth looking at English’s 2019-2020 stats, where he ranked 18th for SG: Tee-to-Green, 6th for Scrambling, and 18th for SG: Putting. English is playing some of his best golf to date, with eight top-25 finishes in his last 10 events, and at this price he is worth backing to post another good score.
Cameron Champ – 0.75pt e/w @ 125/1 with bet 365
Although his form recently is rather uninspiring, I cannot ignore Champ at a price like this. His appeal increases further when you consider his length off the tee, ranking 2nd on tour for Driving Distance. That could be invaluable this week on a course that measures over 7,500 yards, but a lot will depend on whether he can improve in other aspects of his game. Last season Champ finished with five top-25 finishes in nine events, and despite two missed cuts to start this campaign he will feel encouraged by an improved performance in Vegas last week. At a huge price, Champ is worth siding with to rediscover his form from last season and contend at a course that should suit him.
Joaquin Niemann – 1.25pt e/w @ 66/1 with bet365
After narrowly missing out on a place last week, I am sticking with Niemann to produce another bold effort. It is no secret that Niemann likes bentgrass greens, having won previously on this surface, and this was evidenced further by ranking 28th for SG: Putting at Summerlin. Niemann also excelled off the tee last week, ranking 3rd for Driving Distance. In contrast to his stats last season, Niemann ranked 4th in the field for Scrambling and that creativity will certainly give him the edge when out of position. Based on the evidence of last week, and the experience he will have gained from that performance, Niemann represents excellent value here.
Ryan Palmer – 0.5pt e/w @ 150/1 with bet365
It may appear that a T34 finish for Palmer at the Shriners was somewhat underwhelming, but when you dig deeper into his performance you realise it may have set him up perfectly for this week’s event. Palmer ranked 9th for Driving Distance and 20th for Scrambling at Summerlin, suggesting he could take advantage of this week’s venue. The opportunity to remain in Vegas, albeit on a slightly different track, will assist in transferring form into this event. A fast start to last season, with six consecutive top-25 finishes, including in this event, further increases his appeal and I can see him going well this week at an astronomical price.
For more prices, visit bet365.