The CJ Cup marks a new opportunity for the PGA Tour. The American based tour has visited Asia for many years now but this is the first time that a PGA Tour event has been held in South Korea as the organisation looks to expand its global reach.
Those in charge at the PGA will be understandably nervous about this new venture but they’ll be delighted with the calibre of players that have made the trip to Jeju Island and Nine Bridges Golf Club. The club is no stranger to professional golf having hosted four events on the LPGA Tour but it’s great to see some of the top names in the men’s game get on board with a new venue.
Names like Justin Thomas, Jason Day and Patrick Reed are included in the field of 78, all of whom will play four rounds due to the absence of a halfway cut. There is also plenty of talent from less far flung parts of the globe with Asian and Korean Tour stars getting the chance to shine in front of a new television audience.
Approach Play the Key at Nine Bridges
Nine Bridges is a new test for the majority of the players in the field this week. New courses always provide challenges but Nine Bridges could prove to be especially difficult for the players and their caddies. It is some 3,500 feet above sea level which will usually make the ball fly further but those effects will be somewhat mitigated by the humid air in the area. Add in some challenging winds and plenty of hazards and you’ve got a headache in terms of course management.
There’s also the challenge of putting on unfamiliar greens. Few in the field will know where to put their foot down and where to be more defensive but with damp conditions leading to receptive putting surfaces, expect most to answer the challenge of Nine Bridges with aggressive golf. Therefore, world class approach from the fairway will be what separates those who are challenging on Sunday from the rest.
Poulter’s Aggression Could be Key
This time a year ago, Ian Poulter was facing the prospect of losing his job. Thankfully for the Englishman and his fans, he was given a reprise with the return of his PGA Tour playing privileges and he’s not looked back since. The last nine months have seen many more highs than lows for Poulter but he was unable to claim the win that’s alluded him since 2012. At a course that will suit his ball striking and aggression, Poulter could finally claim the victory he so desperately craves at 70/1 with Betfred.
Ball Strikers Worthy of Each Way Support
It’s always tougher predicting the outcomes of events with no previous statistics to rely on but the importance of ball striking and approach play at Nine Bridges provides some very exciting each way options. First up is Kyle Stanley who ranked sixth for average proximity to the hole with his approach shots last season and is 70/1 with Bet365. Chez Reavie is another who outperformed his fellow PGA Tour players approaching the green last year, he’s 50/1 with Coral. Finally, take the 60/1 that Bet365 are quoting on the excellent Byeong Hun An, who is keen to impress on home turf.