PGA Tour Picks: The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges Odds and Betting Predictions
OK, I'll be honest in that I really didn't know much about Sunday's winner at the Houston Open, Lanto Griffin. He shot a final-round 3-under 69 to win his first PGA Tour event in his 33rd all-time start. I'll definitely be paying more attention to him now as Griffin is the only player to finish in the Top 20 in every PGA Tour event since the new season began last month. He played on the Korn Ferry Tour last year to earn his PGA Tour card back. Griffin has now made 13 straight cuts on the PGA Tour, the third longest active streak. This was his first Top 10, though.
The 31-year-old Griffin, who now leads the FedExCup standings, was already leading the Tour with 70 birdies when he got to the Houston Open. He led the field in birdies there too with 24. The top three finishers in Houston - Griffin, Scott Harrington and Mark Hubbard - all earned their Tour cards via the Korn Ferry Tour last season.
Obviously, I didn't touch on Griffin to win. Daniel Berger was my winning pick, but he missed the cut after rounds of 77-75.
This week, the PGA Tour makes its first international stop of the new season -- the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Korea -- and in fact won't return to the United States until the RSM Classic on Nov. 21 from South Carolina, which is the final "official" event of 2019, although there's still Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge and the Presidents Cup in December.
The CJ Cup is the first-ever PGA Tour event in Korea and starts a three-week Asian swing. That's a market the PGA Tour is really trying to get invested in, for obvious reasons. There are a handful of openings this week to members of both the Korean and Asian Tours. One guy who won't be playing: Korean Tour money leader Bio Kim. You may have read recently that Kim was suspended for three years for making an obscene gesture during the final round of a tournament. Oddly, he's not even appealing.
The field is limited to 78 players, so there will be no cut. In an effort to lure big names, the CJ Cup has a purse of $9.5 million compared to $7.5 million for the Houston Open. It appears to have worked with guys like Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia in the field. Mickelson is playing much more in the fall than usual because he's making a push to be a captain's pick of Tiger's for the Presidents Cup. Mickelson has played on 24 consecutive Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, qualifying for 20 of them.
This event has only been around since 2017, and Americans have won both. There technically are only eight bridges on the course and the ninth is metaphorical. The Club at Nine Bridges is easily considered the top course in Korea and is its only Top-100 rated in the world. It's located on Jeju Island south of the Korean mainland and is a par 72 measuring about 7,200 yards. It opened in 2001 and hosted an LPGA event the next year.
Golf Odds: CJ Cup at Nine Bridges Favorites
While Koepka is ranked first in the world, he's the +900 second-favorite at Bovada behind Thomas. JT shot 9-under 279 to beat Aussie Marc Leishman in a playoff in the inaugural version of this tournament two years ago. Thomas was T36 last year. Koepka finished at 21-under 267 last year to win by four over Gary Woodland.
Hideki Matsuyama is +1600 with Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland at +2000. Collin Morikawa, Jason Day, Spieth, Sergio and Rafa Cabrera Bello are all +2500. Hideki was T18 here last year. Day was fifth and Cabrera Bello third.
Golf Odds: CJ Cup at Nine Bridges Picks
For a Top 10, we like Thomas (-110) and Day (+275). Our winning pick, though, is relative unknown Cameron Smith at +3300. He was third two years ago and seventh last year. Also finished T13 in his most recent Tour start.
Three of our top experts, Doc's Sports , Indian Cowboy and Raphael Esparza offer their expert golf picks every week of the season. Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews