The PGA Tour continues its three-week Asian swing with a second visit to the South Korean resort of Jeju Island for the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. The par 72, 7,200 layout is built on rolling pineland beneath a dormant volcano. It’s the only Korean course to be ranked among the world’s top 100. A creek meanders through the course, which was designed to be reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. Although its perfectly manicured grounds make it feel more like an American venue. Justin Thomas won the inaugural edition last year, beating Marc Leishman, the winner of last week’s CIMB Classic, in a play-off.
CJ Cup Favourites
Defending champion Thomas was fifth in Kuala Lumpur last week – his sixth top 10 finish in his last nine starts – and the world number four heads the betting for this event at best odds of just 6/1* with Ladbrokes and Coral. PGA Player of the Year Brooks Koepka is at 10/1* with Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred. Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama and Leishman can all be backed at 14/1*. Paul Casey finished 13th last week on his first outing since helping Europe to win the Ryder Cup and he is a 22/1* chance across the board, with Billy Horschel at 28/1* with Bet365.
CJ Cup Tips
Cameron Smith was just one shot off the pace when he finished third behind Thomas and Leishman here last year. There’s nothing in the New Zealander’s recent form to suggest he can’t go close again this year. The world number 32 placed just outside the top 20 last week in Malaysia. He finished third at both the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship in recent months. Bet365 are offering best odds of 30/1*.
Byeong Hun An returned to the world’s top 50 when he was second at the Canadian Open at the end of July. He has remained there since thanks to a run of consistently good results. He hasn’t missed a cut since the St Jude Classic in June. There, he finished eighth at a minor event in Korea he was 13th in Malaysia last week. The world number 48 shared 11th place here last year and looks a solid bet at 40/1* with Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral or Betfred.
It’s been another positive year for Kyle Stanley, who has played consistently well and finished twice on a couple of occasions, mixing two further top 10s with only a handful of mixed cuts. Given his ranking of 27 he probably doesn’t get into contention as often as he should. But he won the Quicken Loans National last year. He was 13th in Malaysia last week and produced one of his many top 20 finishes here 12 months ago. Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power are all offering odds of 50/1*.
*all odds subject to change