The 2022 PGA season is underway with the second leg of the Las Vegas swing continuing at The Summit Club for The CJ Cup. Here's a breakdown of the event with all odds from BetMGM.
Summit is a par-72, Tom Fazio-designed course that measures over 7,400 yards. It's playing host to a PGA event for the first time since opening in 2017.
Filled with huge bunkers and undulated bentgrass greens, this course is right in the middle of the desert with views of the Red Rock mountains and the Las Vegas strip.
Only 60 players will take to the greens, all from the prior season’s FedExCup points list in a no-cut event. Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Xander Schauffele are all +1200, while Collin Morikawa (+1600) and Rory McIlroy (+1800) round out the top five.
All eyes will be on Morikawa, a five-time PGA winner, who is a member of this course and has shot a 62 here.
Players to consider/stats to use
With no course history and being early in a new season, there’s limited data. I looked at recent form (as recent as can be), how players performed on bentgrass greens, and how players performed in no-cut events.
Stats that can be helpful: driving distance, strokes gained off the tee, approach, and par-5 scoring.
With a strong field, picking a winner can be tough. Instead, I’ll turn to full tournament head-to-head matchups. Here are three I like for this week.
Aaron Wise -135 over Max Homa
Homa won the Fortinet Championship in mid-September but hasn’t played since. Prior to that win, Homa had only one top 20 in his last 10 events and missed four cuts. Wise, on the other hand, is coming into this event with rhythm after playing back-to-back events this month, including a T8 in last week’s Shriners Children’s Open, where he gained strokes in every category.
On bentgrass greens, Wise has also been improving, placing T21 at The Northern Trust and then a T17 at the BMW Championship before the Shriners Children’s Open, gaining strokes in both ball striking and putting. Homa, in his last five events on bentgrass greens, has finished no better than 40th.
Sergio Garcia -130 over Justin Rose
This course sets up nicely for a bomber like Garcia. He ranked top 20 for driving distance last season, which could really be useful. He is coming off a missed cut at Sanderson Farms two weeks ago but did get some reps in at the Ryder Cup. Rose hasn’t played either in the states or on the European Tour since the BMW Championship in late August. Garcia leads in strokes gained total when playing on courses with bentgrass greens, so hopefully that — in addition to staying active — comes into play.
Shane Lowry -135 over Tommy Fleetwood
Lowry is trending up, while Fleetwood is trending down.
I look for consistency, and Lowry wrapped up the 2021 season in consistent form with six top-20 finishes or better in his last eight events played, gaining strokes in all events with his irons and ball striking. Fleetwood, on the other hand, bleeds red. He gains then loses in every category, including losing strokes in putting and around the green in his last few events. Both were Ryder Cup participants, but Lowry has the better bentgrass stats and tournament finishes.
Betting the outright market
I typically don’t like to bet outright winners but if I had to pick one, I’d roll with Sam Burns. His odds for The CJ Cup are:
Top 20: +100
Top 10: +225
Top 5: +500
To win: +2800
Burns consistently gains strokes off the tee and with his irons. And for not being a strong putter, he putts well on bentgrass greens. He’s gained strokes putting in four of his last five bentgrass events and took eighth at the BMW Championship in August followed by T14 last week at the Shriners Open.
Since August, Burns has played in six events. Five of those are top-20 finishes, including three top 10s and a win in the Sanderson Championship earlier this month.
Coming into this event with great form, good bentgrass history, and plus-money odds for a top 20? Yes, please. Placing a top-20 wager plus an outright is how I would play Burns this week.