Historically in South Korea, The CJ Cup will make its US debut at Shadow Creek. It looks like this trip to Vegas will be turning into a two week bender and if it is anything like last week, it should be one hell of a time.
Like any journey to Vegas, there are a lot of unknowns. Shadow Creek is one of the most exclusive golf courses in the United States and has seen little air time. Most will remember the snooze-fest that was “The Match” between Tiger and Phil, but that’s about it.
Shadow Creek sits just outside Las Vegas and plays to a par 72 with the ability to stretch over 7,500 yards. I’m not sure what kind of scoring to expect. With a course record of only 6-under, 66, it has the potential to play more difficult than the shootouts that we have been seeing. Then again, those tournaments didn’t host 78 of the top players in the world, so it’s a real toss up, and I’d guesstimate a winning score of around 20-under par.
With a limited field, no cut event, the handicapping changes slightly. Having four rounds guaranteed gives someone who would normally miss the cut a chance to claw back over the weekend. We were spot on last week at the Shriners with this article, so let’s keep the momentum going with this week’s edition of Hot or Not for The CJ Cup.
Hot: Xander Schauffele (+1400)
Remember how I said that handicapping changes slightly for a limited field, no cut event? Enter Xander Schauffele. X gon’ give it to ya has been the model of consistency, having finished inside the top-25 in every one of his starts since the end of June. This streak of golf includes four top-10’s at the four biggest events played – the WGC St. Jude, the PGA Championship, the Tour Championship, and the U.S. Open. All in all, Xander is a big game hunter (you’ll hear that a lot this weekend). There really isn’t a flaw in his game and Player X has been known to make a name for himself at these high stake games.
Hot: Matthew Wolff (+2200)
I’m going back to the well on this one. Wolff could have easily won this past weekend at the Shriners and made me look like a genius, but I guess we’ll have to wait a week. As previously stated, Wolff has been one of the best tee-to-green over the past few months and his performance at the Shriners – specifically the 3rd round – only solidified my feelings towards him. The CJ Cup could suit bombers and long iron players and there are few better than Wolff in those categories. Having settled around +2500 last week, I’m hoping to pounce on a longer number as the week progresses as there are some bigger names in the field that should help inflate his odds.
Not: Brooks Koepka (+2200)
This one seems like a bit of a cop out, but just trust me on this. I’m going to be playing the long con with Brooks in regards to betting on him. As we all know, we haven’t seen the Twitter troll in a couple months due to a nagging injury. How will he fare this week? Will Bryson’s recent success light a fire under him or will he be too cool for golf and disappear amongst the names? There are just too many questions around Brooks to lay some money on him this week, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely bearish on him. If you take a look at the Masters futures market, Brooks is all the way down to +2000 – originally opened around +700 – and if we continue to see that sort of drift, that is the week to pull the trigger on him, not this week at the CJ Cup.
Not: Tommy Fleetwood (+3500)
Fleetwood Mac has enjoyed a spike in internet searches over the past couple of weeks due to the “Dreams Challenge.” In those searches, what some may have accidentally stumbled upon are Tommy Fleetwood’s recent results. Over in Europe, he’s been playing quite nicely. A playoff loss at the Scottish Open and some decent play at the BMW PGA Championship. However, as I watched the BMW this past week, I was concerned about him. He was sluggish out of the gates, got himself all the way back into contention, and then pissed it away on Sunday. This isn’t new for Fleetwood, he just can’t piece together four consecutive rounds and in a field of this caliber, that’s not going to slide.
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