PGA Tour Picks: CJ Cup at Nine Bridges Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Americans are now 8-for-8 in winning the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur after Pat Perez took the PGA Tour event on Sunday by finishing at 24-under 264 and beating out fellow American Keegan Bradley by four shots - the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's short history.
The 41-year-old Perez is a nice story as he looked washed up not long ago as his last win entering last year had been in 2009. He only got into the field of the 2016 CIMB Classic on a sponsor invite and played solidly, finishing T-33. It was his first start since surgery that March to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. It emboldened him and just two starts later, he won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba to spark a career season that was capped by his first-ever trip to the Tour Championship and career-best 15 th-place finish in the FedExCup standings.
Perez took the 36-hole lead at TPC Kuala Lumpur following rounds of 66-65 and never relinquished it - he was up by four entering Sunday. Perez, who has been on the PGA Tour since 2002, now has two victories in his past 25 starts after winning once in his first 378. He's also guaranteed a spot in the 2018 Masters. Two-time defending champion Justin Thomas finished tied for 17th place at 11 under; I had liked him for a Top 10. Ditto Kevin Na, but he was T44. My winner was Scott Piercy, but he was T63. Frankly, not much right last week so let's move on.
The Tour stays in Asia this week with the inaugural CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, held on Jeju Island in Korea (South Korea obviously). The Club at Nine Bridges is a par 72 measuring 7,196 yards and it looks like a gorgeous layout. It opened 16 years ago and is the only Korean course ranked among the world's 100 best. The LPGA used to hold an event here. It's a limited field of 78, with 60 PGA Tour pros from the FedExCup points list and the rest from all over the place but many from Asia/Korea.
Korea is a burgeoning golf market, and there were 12 Koreans who were full-time Tour members last year. The only country with more was Australia with 15. There are numerous star LPGA Tour players from Korea. The best men's player from there has to be K.J. Choi with his eight career Tour wins. He's in the field. South Korea's biggest splash made on the PGA Tour was when Y.E. Yang outdueled Tiger Woods in the final round in the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota to become the only Asian male to win a major title.Two years ago, the Presidents Cup was played in front of big crowds in South Korea.
Golf Odds: CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges Favorites
Thomas is the +700 favorite at Bovada . Not a huge surprise, I suppose, that he wasn't in contention last week as it's been a whirlwind few weeks for him in winning the FedExCup and PGA Tour Player of the Year in addition to competing in the Presidents Cup.
Paul Casey is +1000 and Jason Day +1200. Casey shot a first-round 77 last week but then was brilliant in finishing T17 at 14 under. Day's last Tour event was a T17 in the Tour Championship.
Xander Schauffele (+1800), Marc Leishman (+2000) and Tony Finau (+2000) round out the favorites. Schauffele, the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, is really rolling as he followed a win at the Tour Championship with a T3 last week. Neither Leishman nor Finau played in Kuala Lumpur.
Golf Odds: CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges Picks
Mostly flying blind here because there's no course history to go on. It's a bit short of a layout for a par 72. There is an island green on No. 18 and water will be in play in a handful of holes. For a Top 10, go with Thomas (-165), Casey (-120) and Bradley (+200). Like Thomas Pieters (+110) as top continental European, Branden Grace (+120) as top South African, Casey (+100) as top European, and Adam Scott (+300) as top Aussie.
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