We saw another first-time winner hoist the trophy last week, as Lanto Griffin (60/1) won his first career PGA Tour title. Griffin came into the Houston Open in phenomenal form, finishing top-20 in his first four starts of the 2019-20 season. Predicting outright winners in the PGA is extremely difficult, but this is a prime example of how recent form is key to zero in on. Golf is a fickle game, so when golfers have found something clicking in their swing, they tend to go on mini hot-streaks.
The PGA Tour will now head to South Korea for the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Featuring the top-60 FedEx ranked golfers in the world from last season, the field is loaded with talent. It is a no-cut event, so every one of the 78 golfers will be guaranteed four rounds. Justin Thomas (+775), Brooks Koepka (+950), and Hideki Matsuyama (+1500) are the betting favorites this week. This is a relatively new tournament, as it was introduced in 2017 to the PGA Schedule. Koepka won this event last year, while Thomas took home the hardware in 2017.
The Club at Nine Bridges is located on Jeju Island in South Korea. The course is nearly 3,500 feet above sea level, so the wind can be a major factor due to the altitude. Not overly long, the course will play at 7,196 yards, and it is a par 72 track. As of right now, the tournament is not expecting windy conditions, so there could be plenty of birdies being made. There are some drivable par 4s and four par 5s that measure below 600 yards. Par 5 scoring will be a key stat to focus on, as well as birdie-or-better. The course does not present much trouble off of the tee, and we have seen elite ball-strikers go very low here.
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
- Par-5 Scoring
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green
Best Bets to Win
Justin Thomas (+775 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Justin Thomas checks all the boxes for the prototypical golfer that suits this course. A prior winner of the tournament in 2017, Thomas knows the course well and has played it under some extreme weather conditions. First in par-5 scoring and birdie-or-better last year, he will be able to put his elite off-the-tee game to use here.
Thomas is the betting favorite for good reason. Currently the No.-4 ranked golfer in the world, his recent form has been incredible. In his last six appearances on Tour, he has finished no worse than 12th place. This includes a win at the BMW Championship in August, and a third-place finish at the Tour Championship a week later. He has only placed once this year but was quoted saying he is focused on this first big tournament in Asia and will be ready to roll.
Gary Woodland (+3000 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Woodland is one of the PGA’s best ball-strikers and should be able to take advantage of his distance off the tee. He proved that this course sets up well for him, as he shot a nine-under 63 here last year. With weather conditions being favorable again this time around, there is no reason why Woodland can’t put four solid rounds together and take home the trophy.
Woodland pops in several key statistical categories as well. He was fourth in par-5 scoring last year, and third in birdie-or-better. With four very obtainable par 5s on the course, Woodland should be able to give himself plenty of birdie looks. Coming off a season where he won the prestigious U.S. Open, Woodland can perform in strong field events with the best of them.