2021 CJ CUP Odds & Picks: Which Key Metrics Matter Most at The Summit Club in Las Vegas?
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama
- THE CJ CUP presents The Summit Club its first ever PGA TOUR event this week.
- The tournament is usually held in Korea but has been moved stateside due to the pandemic.
- Matt Vincenzi breaks down what to expect from the course and which players are good fits below.
The PGA TOUR will stay in Las Vegas for another week to play the 2021 CJ CUP. The first three editions of THE CJ CUP were played in South Korea, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was forced to move to Las Vegas in 2020. The event will stay in Las Vegas in 2021 but will be moved to Summit Club, which is a brand new course for the PGA TOUR.
Summit Club is a par 72 measuring 7,431 yards and features bentgrass greens. The course is a Tom Fazio design. Although we are in Las Vegas, Summit Club doesn’t appear to be a typical desert track. We will see lush fairways and more of a parkland style with a desert backdrop.
THE CJ CUP is a no-cut event and will feature 78 of the world’s best players. The field is very strong this week, with three of the top five golfers in the world teeing it up in addition to many other stars on TOUR. Those golfers include Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson.
Click here to see the full odds board, courtesy of DraftKings.
|Harold Varner III||+6500|
|Si Woo Kim||+6500|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+13000|
|Kyoung Hoon Lee||+15000|
|Byeong Hun An||+30000|
|Han Byeol Kim||+40000|
|Seong Hyeon Kim||+50000|
Past Winners at THE CJ CUP
- 2020: Jason Kokrak (-20 at Shadow Creek)
- 2019: Justin Thomas (-20 at Nine Bridges)
- 2018: Brooks Koepka (-21 at Nine Bridges)
- 2017: Justin Thomas (-9 at Nine Bridges)
Let’s take a look at several key metrics for Summit Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Approach is always going to be an important measure of current form and feels like the best place to start at a brand new course. You can never go wrong targeting golfers who are locked in with their irons.
Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:
- Paul Casey (+23.6) (+4500)
- Viktor Hovland (+22.8) (+2800)
- Russell Henley (+22.2) (+6000)
- Xander Schauffele (+21.3) (+1200)
- Louis Oosthuizen (+20.9) (+2200)
Tom Fazio designs typically give a major advantage to the longer drivers on TOUR. Distance off the tee allows golfers to cut doglegs and fairway bunkers that will be in play for many others in the field.
Total Driving Distance in past 24 rounds:
- Rory McIlroy (+18.4) (+1600)
- Jhonattan Vegas (+15.5) (+8000)
- Brooks Koepka (+13.7) (+2800)
- Dustin Johnson (+11.0) (+1000)
- Jason Kokrak (+9.6) (+5000)
SG: Tom Fazio Designs
Early indications seem to be that this course will be a typical Tom Fazio design. It has wider fairways and distance will be important. Recent courses we have seen such as Shadow Creek, Kasumigaseki Country Club, and Caves Valley look to have a similar layout to Summit Club.
SG: Tom Fazio Designs past 36 rounds:
- Rory McIlroy (+52.4) (+1600)
- Dustin Johnson (+52.3) (+1000)
- Jason Day (+44.0) (+13000)
- Patrick Reed (+42.0) (+6500)
- Aaron Wise (+40.1) (+6000)
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bentgrass Greens)
Jason Kokrak won THE CJ CUP last year in part by gaining 10.3 strokes putting. Although we are at a different venue this year, I expect the greens to be very similar. Shadow Creek is also a Tom Fazio design and the green complexes should be relatively similar.
Total SG: Putting (Bentgrass greens+Fast) in past 24 rounds:
- Alex Noren (+27.0) (+6000)
- Jason Kokrak (+23.1) (+5000)
- Ian Poulter (+20.8) (+8000)
- Adam Scott (+17.6) (+5000)
- Abraham Ancer (+17.4) (+3500)
Birdie or Better: Gained
Summit Club was designed as a course that would be a visual marvel and attract wealthy customers on trips to Las Vegas. Many celebrities and public figures are either members or have played the course. While the course will absolutely be toughened up for the TOUR players, I don’t anticipate it being very difficult for professionals. We will likely get another winner north of -20 this week.
Total Birdie or Better: Gained in past 24 rounds:
- Cameron Smith (+24.5)(+2800)
- Sam Burns (+24.4)(+2200)
- Rory McIlroy (+24.3)(+1600)
- Dustin Johnson (+21.5)(+1000)
- Webb Simpson (+20.8)(+4000)
Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.
These rankings are comprised of SG:APP (25%) Driving Distance: (22%), Birdie or Better Gained (22%), SG: Fazio Designs (16%), SG: Putting (Bentgrass) (15%).
- Rory McIlroy (+1600)
- Jhonattan Vegas (+8000)
- Dustin Johnson (+1000)
- Sam Burns (+2200)
- Jason Kokrak (+5000)
- Viktor Hovland (+2800)
- Justin Thomas (+1200)
- Harold Varner III (+6500)
- Xander Schauffele (+1200)
- Sergio Garcia (+6000)
THE CJ CUP Best Bets
Viktor Hovland (+2800, DraftKings): When analyzing the leader board from last week’s event, it would be easy to say that Viktor Hovland didn’t play very well by his standards as he finished in a tie for 44th place. However, his finish doesn’t tell the whole story.
Hovland ranked first in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (+5.4) and eighth in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (+5.3). His undoing was how many strokes he bled around the greens all week (-8.9). Vik’s around the green game has been consistently poor throughout his career but even for him this performance had to be an outlier. His 8.9 strokes lost on the green is more than double his previous worst showing of -3.9 strokes lost. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now and expect his chipping and bunker play will improve this week.
In addition to his superb ball striking statistics last week, I think Summit Club should be a much better fit for the Norwegian than TPC Summerlin was. Hovland has played pretty well of late of Tom Fazio designs. He finished 17th at the BMW Championship (Caves Valley), tied for 14th at the Japan Olympics, and 3rd at last year’s Wells Fargo Championship (Quail Hollow).
At just 24 years old, Hovland is mega talented and I believe a major breakthrough to superstardom is at the forefront. A major crticism to this point in his career is his lack of ability to win an event with a strong field. A win at THE CJ CUP with many of the best players in the world in the field would go a long way in silencing the doubters.
Brooks Koepka (+3000, Bet365): Looking at the stats for Brooks Koepka last week would lead you to believe that he played terribly, which isn’t necessarily the case. He opened the tournament by shooting 66-67 and looked pretty solid overall.
Once the weekend rolled around he really fell off a cliff with his play and shot himself out of it. It is very fair to question whether or not Brooks’ heart was in the event. He was seen Saturday night at the Tyson Fury Deontay Wilder fight, and seemed to be enjoying himself until the late hours of the night. When Sunday morning came around, Koepka was +4 through his first four holes played.
With last week’s performance in the rear-view, I feel confident that THE CJ CUP is an event that Brooks may care a bit more about winning. He is a player who is motivated by beating the best golfers in the world, many of which will be in attendance this week at Summit Club. Being a former winner at THE CJ CUP at Nine Bridges in 2018, it is fair to assume that the no cut strong field event will suit his eye once again in 2021.
There are certain players where recent form isn’t necessarily a requirement to win; Brooks Koepka is one of those players. His most recent win at TPC Scottsdale last season was after a stretch of three consecutive missed cuts. We are getting excellent value on a super elite golfer this week and I am jumping at the bit to pounce on it.
Hideki Matsuyama (+4000, DraftKings): Hideki Matsuyama was a very popular bet last week at TPC Summerlin and it didn’t turn out very well. He had a very strong opening round on Thursday but failed to play very well the following three rounds and finished in 67th place. With that being said, I have no problem going right back to him this week at a discounted price.
Similar to Koepka, Matsuyama doesn’t necessarily have to be in the best current form to win. He finished with a missed cut and a 30th prior to his Masters victory, and certainly wasn’t thought of as one of golfers playing really well going into the week. While last week’s effort was a bit concerning, there is reason to believe he may turn it around at Summit Club.
A substantial factor in why ‘Deki requires consideration this week is his excellent track record on Tom Fazio designed courses. In 2017, Matsuyama won at Firestone Country Club at WGC-Bridgestone which is a similar no cut style event with a class field. He went on to finish 5th the following week at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow which is another Fazio design.
With two wins already in the desert in his career (TPC Scottsdale) and five of his six career TOUR wins coming on some type of bentgrass green, I think it is worth going back to Hideki for one more week at a discounted price.
Adam Scott (+6000, Bet365): Throughout his exceptional PGA TOUR career, Adam Scott’s preeminent skill has been his superb iron play. Having taken a fairly long break from competitive golf at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March-August 2020), that incredible skill set seemed to diminish. Finally, we are starting to see some signs of that returning. The 41 year old is gaining an average of 3.9 strokes on approach over his last three starts including 4.5 last week in Las Vegas.
One aspect of Scott’s game that has drastically improved over the past few years is his putting. Once considered a below average putter, Scott has become one of the most reliable putters on TOUR over the past few years. Additionally, in his past 24 rounds on bentgrass greens the Australian ranks fourth in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. A hot putter can be tough to predict but a consistent putter isn’t and Scott has gained strokes putting in twelve of his past fourteen starts.
Although he is most definitely on the back nine of his career, I think the former Masters champ has a few years of elite play left in him if he plays on a regular basis.