The PGA Tour is about to embark on its latest Asia swing and the CJ Cup is first up in the schedule. Who does our tipster fancy?
It’s the first event of the PGA Tour’s Asia swing and Brooks Koepka is returning among a strong field to defend the title which he won last year. Justin Thomas heads the betting but there is plenty of value elsewhere. My CJ Cup betting tips are below, but first…
Venue: The Club at Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea
Date: October 17-20, 2019
Course stats: Par 72, 7,241 yards
Course summary: The weather can have a big bearing on his tough this course plays and with the decent forecast the scoring could be low. Water is in play on four of the holes and while the fairways are wide in places some of the rough is punishing.
2018 champion: Brooks Koepka (-21)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 3am (live)
Friday: Sky Sports Golf, 3am (live), Main Event, 5am (live)
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 3am (live)
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf & Main Event, 3am (live)
CJ Cup betting tips: Players to follow
Rafa Cabrera Bello (25/1) is a nice price and should appeal to both each-way and outright backers.
The Spaniard has good form around here having finished 11th in the tournament’s first staging in 2017 and in a tie for 3rd last year.
Cabrera Bello seems to be enjoying his golf at the moment and in his last three starts has finished in a tie for 6th at the BMW PGA and solo 2nd at the Open de Espana.
A missed cut at the Alfred Dunhill Links wasn’t ideal but a return to his home nation and a strong performance proved there wasn’t any lasting struggles.
He’s regularly one of the best performers in this stage of the season and his worse finish between this event last year and the end of the 2018 calendar year was tied 18th.
Another good prospect with a similar price is Australian Cameron Smith (30/1).
The 26-year-old has played in both previous CJ Cups with finishes of tied 7th last year and solo 3rd the year before so this course clearly suits his game.
Smith has had a quiet few weeks and has only teed it up once in the last three – he finished in a tie for 13th at the Sanderson Farms.
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This result built on his opening two starts of the PGA Tour season where he finished tied for 24th and with a missed cut so I’m confident that over this layout he can put in another big performance.
Despite starting just three of the opening five events on the PGA Tour calendar, he ranks 10th in the average birdie statistics and this could be important if the scores are to be low as expected.
The only other player in the field to have finished inside the top 10 here on both occasions is Pat Perez (50/1).
There’s a lot going for the popular American right now having recovered from injury and returned to form in his last outing.
After a missed cut in the Safeway Open he bounced back with a solo 3rd finish at the Shriners Open with his game looking good.
He was due to play in the Houston Open last week but withdrew at the last minute and it was revealed that the reason for this was that he’d received a late invite for the CJ Cup.
It’s not surprising that he took this decision as with finishes of tied 7th and tied 5th here he’s got a very feasible chance of going close or even winning this title.
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