After Marc Leishman ran away with the CIMB Classic last week in Malaysia, Round Two of the early Asian swing of the PGA Tour stops in the mountains of South Korea for the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges.
Last year was the first occurrence of this event, which takes place on a highish-altitude Par 72 course that measures 7,196 yards. Most thought it would be an easy birdie-fest before some unbelievable winds whipped through the course, putting most of the small, co-cut field over par during the four day event. Making matters even more challenging is the amount of water hazards at play, making for some very colorful scorecards.
In selecting my golfers this week, going for the regular SG: Approach, power driver aspects are only one part of the equation: I am also targeting guys who played last week in Malaysia (meaning they have acclimated themselves to the time zone differences) and also guys who have played this course before (considering it is somewhat unique amongst the other PGA courses on tour).
Justin Thomas ($11,600 – DraftKings, $13,100 – FanDuel)
Who checks all those boxes? Why, the guy I should have drafted last week – JT! Seriously, if you have the salary, he finished great last week (5th), he did well here last year, and he’s the best overall golfer here. All signs for another great performance, and a guy, if you have the salary, to cram in your lineups.
Paul Casey ($9,900 – DraftKings, $11,300 – FanDuel)
It was tempting to take Leishman here, but instead I will take a tiny discount and take the Englishman, who has the same last year/played last week bonus as JT and Leish but also is a very good wind player as well. Leish is still an excellent option, but if you can’t pay up and get Leishman, Casey is an excellent choice that could easily end up the winner here as well.
Byeong-Hun An ($8,700 – DraftKings, $9,700 – FanDuel)
I love him even more than JT, Leish and Casey. The Korean has been on the brink of breaking through and finally winning a PGA Tournament, and the stars could be aligned for him to finally win one in his home country at a course he navigated far better than most of the rest of the field.
Kyle Stanley ($8,200 – DraftKings, $9,500 – FanDuel)
A fantasy favorite thanks to his aggressive, streaky style, Stanley was sneaky-good last week at the CIMB Classic after a rough first round and was also sneaky good here last year, striking the ball excellently. At this price I’ll have plenty.
Ian Poulter ($7,600 – DraftKings, $9,600 – FanDuel)
Fresh off his hero performance in the Ryder Cup a month ago, Poulter did not compete last week but he’s played terrifically here last season and he’s exactly the type of wind player that could end up going low here and challenge for the top spot again.
Ryan Armour ($6,400 – DraftKings, $7,500 – FanDuel)
He doesn’t fit the bill in terms of course history, but where he does check some boxes is that he’s played last week with a respectable finish (T33) and this is the type of driver’s course that this accurate ball-striker should be able to play fairly effectively. At his bargain price, he’s worth a flier to see if he can sneak into the T10, and if he does, that’s a good portion of the way towards a winning lineup.