Gdula's Golf Simulations: THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES

Which golfers are the most likely to win at Nine Bridges this week?

Volatility is the name of the game in golf, and picking winners isn't easy. With fields of 150-plus golfers sometimes being separated by how a putt or two falls each week, predicting golf can be absurdly tough.

We'll never be able to capture everything that goes into a golfer's expectations for a week, but we can try to account for that by simulating out the weekend and seeing what happens.

The Process

I'll keep it simple: I track weekly results from the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour.

Using a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers, I adjust each golfer's score relative to the field. The ultimate goal is to place a score from the Waste Management Open, the BMW International Open, and the Knoxville Open on level playing fields. This adjusted strokes metric lets me see how golfers are performing across all tours.

Their adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing the event out thousands of times.

Here are the results for THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES.

Top Win Odds

Golfer Wins FanDuel
Golfer Wins FanDuel
Justin Thomas 8.4% +650 Brooks Koepka 5.6% 850+
Hideki Matsuyama 4.1% +1400 Tommy Fleetwood 3.3% +2000
Gary Woodland 3.1% +2200 Billy Horschel 2.9% +2700
Marc Leishman 2.6% +3300 Viktor Hovland 2.5% +2000
Sungjae Im 2.5% +2200 Chez Reavie 2.5% +5000
Rory Sabbatini 2.4% +6000 Collin Morikawa 2.1% +2000
Kevin Na 2.1% +4200 Jordan Spieth 2.1% +2000
Jason Day 2.0% +2200 Ryan Moore 1.9% +6500
Rafa Cabrera Bello 1.9% +2700 Ian Poulter 1.8% +5500
Corey Conners 1.7% +5000 Joaquin Niemann 1.7% +3300
Jhonattan Vegas 1.7% +15000 Sergio Garcia 1.7% +3100
Charles Howell III 1.6% +6000 Joel Dahmen 1.6% +7000
Byeong Hun An 1.6% +4500 Andrew Putnam 1.6% +4800
Cameron Smith 1.5% +3300 Lucas Glover 1.4% +5000
Danny Willett 1.4% +3300 Scott Piercy 1.3% +7000
Phil Mickelson 1.3% +6000 Max Homa 1.2% +19000
Tyrrell Hatton 1.2% +5000 Matthew Wolff 1.2% +4000
Vaughn Taylor 1.2% +13000 Kevin Streelman 1.2% +9000

Justin Thomas (+650 on FanDuel Sportsbook) is the dude this week. He's +650 on FanDuel, an implied implied win probability of 13.3%. Even with a field-best 8.4% win probability in my simulations, he's overpriced from a betting perspective. Brooks Koepka (+850) is next on the list but is also overpriced from a strict expected value standpoint.

Tommy Fleetwood (+2000) is worth a look, as he ranks fourth in adjusted stroke average in 2019 and is ninth in strokes gained: around the green over the past 50 rounds, according to FantasyNational, a stat that can help him avoid disaster and use his ball-striking to separate. He's flat out been one of the world's best golfers, statistically, over the past season, but has not won.

Gary Woodland (+2200), Billy Horschel (+2700), and Marc Leishman (+3300) all are interesting mid-range plays.

If you're looking for positive expected value (aren't we all always?), check out Chez Reavie (+5000) and Rory Sabbatini (+6000). Reavie was one of the best tee-to-green golfers in the world last year, and Sabbatini generated positive strokes gained in all four areas in the 2019 season after adjusting for field strength, via datagolf.