Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES
The PGA Tour heads to Asia for the next stop on the fall swing, as some of the world's best tee it up at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. After a few full-field events to start the season and new cut rules wreaking havoc on golfers' pocket books and DFS lineups, just 78 contestants will tee it up this week with all four rounds guaranteed. Defending champion Brooks Koepka and 2017-18 champ Justin Thomas are back in the field.
Nine Bridges Golf Club on Jeju Island, South Korea is our venue, a 7,196-yard par 72 that plays much shorter due to the elevation on the island. Nine Bridges sits over 2,000 feet above sea level with some peaks throughout the course even higher, as the golf is situated at the base of a mountain that peaks at over 6,000 feet. Short par 4s allow golfers to pick and choose how they want to attack each hole, and rolling hole designs that are heavily sloped mean they will face different elevations throughout the course.
Depending on where a specific hole is situated relative to Mount Halla, golfers will need to use their brains as well as brawn when it comes to club selection. Golfers with history here have a big advantage, though most of the field will have had plenty of practice opportunities.
Nine Bridges features imported bentgrass greens that are well maintained but not native to this part of the world, and time will tell how the turf holds up. There are over 110 bunkers to contend with, a part of the Scottish influence on the layout.
Conditions look fine with a spotty shower on Friday being the only potential blemish on otherwise beautiful weather all week.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Nine Bridges
Distance: 7,196 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bentgrass on both with some native prairie grass in the rough
|Year||Par||Yardage||Avg Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
After a difficult debut, Nine Bridges was much more forgiving in its second year on the schedule, with an average score of more than two strokes difference. With a top heavy field and a not insignificant portion made up of sponsor's exemptions who otherwise might not get a shot at a PGA Tour event, the average scores can be skewed one way or the other pretty easily. For example, in 2018 four golfers ended the week more than 20-over par, including an astounding +37 by Gyu Min Lee. That's not to say world class golfers roll the place over -- Xander Schauffele shot three rounds of 76 or worse and finished 17-over that year.
Golfers found the fairway and greens at among the highest rates on Tour last year, turning this event into either a ball-striking track meet or a putting contest. Without strokes gained data, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the leaders lapped the competition, but based on the two winners being current or former world number-one golfers, suffice it to say a well rounded game serves you well here.
For comparison courses, we can look to other elevated locales such as the Plantation Course at Kapalua and Waialae CC, as well as other venues in Asia including Sheshan International GC and TPC Kuala Lumpur. Sheshan is the only one that consistently plays difficult, and like Kapaula and TPC Kuala Lumpur it hosts a short field without a cut.
These stats will be key to success in THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES.
|Key Stats for the CJ Cup at The Club at Nine Bridges|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s (350-450 yards)|
As mentioned, we are looking for overall solid players, and this mix of stats can point us in that direction. Tee-to-green excellence with an emphasis on approach is the tried and true combo, and both Koepka and Thomas have finished inside the top 20 in strokes gained: tee to green each of the last two seasons.
Whether the course goes back to being difficult or stays on the friendly side, birdie-makers are the prime target for no cut events where everyone will get all six golfers in their DFS lineups through the cut. Racking up birdies and streak bonuses in your lineups is key, and outright bettors will spend all week trying to figure out who they can project to make the most birdies.
The par 5s here are no pushovers, ranking 2nd and 13th in highest scoring average in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Each measures between 550 and 600 yards, with the 568-yard 18th yielding by far the most eagles. That hole has allowed more eagles than the other three par 5s combined in each iteration of the event.
Nine Bridges has one of the shortest collections of par 4s on Tour, with the longest measuring just 471 yards. Bombers can go full throttle here, while grinders can strategize themselves into their preferred yardage on the majority of holes. Isolating golfers who do well on shorter par 4s will point to both these groups.
Course History Studs
Thomas and Koepka are easy picking here, as both won in their debut. Thomas defended his title with a T36 last year.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.