THE CJ CUP 2022 First-Round Leader Odds, Expert Picks: Jason Day & Russell Henley Among Value Plays

THE CJ CUP 2022 First-Round Leader Odds, Expert Picks: Jason Day & Russell Henley Among Value Plays article feature image

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jason Day

The PGA TOUR's fall swing heads to South Carolina for THE CJ CUP. While THE CJ CUP has never been hosted by Congaree Golf Club, we did see this course on TOUR at last year's Palmetto Championship. 

This week features the strongest field thus far of the 2022-2023 PGA TOUR season, with 15 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Rankings playing the Tom Fazio designed Congaree. The golf course features plenty of bunkers around the green and waste areas off of the fairways, so tee to green precision will be at a premium.

Considering we've only seen this course on the PGA TOUR once before, and the top of the round one leaderboard was mixed with both AM and PM starters, there isn't much to gain from choosing exclusively one or the other. Additionally, with a 78-man field, the tee times will be bunched much closer together than we're used to. 

This is a week where we are just looking to see who we think could get off to a fast start, regardless of tee time or weather.

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The CJ CUP First-Round Leader Picks

Jason Day +5500 (DraftKings)

First-Round Tee Time: 9:39 a.m. ET

Jason Day ended his Shriners Children's Open scorching hot in his most recent start two weeks ago. He shot 63 and finished the week with an eighth place finish in what could be a resurgent season for the 34-year-old. 

Day led the field in Ball Striking at TPC Summerlin, which is a great sign for the former No. 1 player in the world. He gained 3.4 strokes on approach on Sunday alone, which speaks to his potential at having some momentum going into this week's start. 

If he's healthy, and all indications show that he is, the Tom Fazio design should be an ideal fit for Day. He's been dominant at Tom Fazio designed tracks throughout his career, and I expect him to play well this week.

Russell Henley +6600 (BetMGM)

First-Round Tee Time: 11:20 a.m. ET

I absolutely love Russell Henley's chances at contending this week at Congaree. His familiarity with the region, ability to keep the ball in play and past success at Tom Fazio designed courses are all aspects of his game that make him the ideal fit for THE CJ CUP.

As positive as I feel about Henley this week, it's always a risky proposition that he will close the tournament strong if he finds himself in the mix on Sunday. However, he's shown that he can get off to a fast start in great fields throughout his career, including the 2021 U.S. Open.

While it makes sense to target longer hitters at Congaree, Russell Henley shouldn't be overlooked.

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