Culp’s Corner: CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Preview

http://rotoworld.com/articles/gol/82942/519/cj-cup–nine-bridges-preview

After a week in Malaysia the PGA TOUR will head to Jeju Island, South Korea, for leg two of the Asian Swing.

It’s THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. 

Even though we remain in Asia, it’s still about a six-hour flight from KL to Jeju.

Identical to last week, we have another limited field (78 golfers) and it’s also a no-cut event with all of the golfers guaranteed 72 holes of action. 

 

Editor’s Note: With over 15,000 reviews, DRAFT is the highest rated fantasy sports app. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here’s the link.

 


The Course

The course is The Club at Nine Bridges. This mountain course is located about 2,000 feet above sea level, similar to The Old White TPC which hosts The Greenbrier. Nine Bridges made its debut last year and proved to be quite the test for these golfers. It was the fourth-hardest course on TOUR last year. 

Diving deeper, I start to wonder if the course is really that tough or if the weather was that much of a nuisance last year.

First thing we can look at is the scorecard. It’s a par 72 to plays just under 7,200 yards. Slightly on the short side but not extremely short, by any means.

Next, we notice some generous fairways. Despite the windy conditions last year, the field still managed to find about 72 percent of fairways. The same could be said about the approach shots (not difficult) as roughly 70 percent of golfers found greens in regulation, again on the easy side.

Things aren’t quite adding up because, despite the easy-to-hit fairways and easy-to-hit greens, this course yielded a scoring average of 73.187 (+1.187 RTP). That ranked as the fourth-hardest course on TOUR last season.

What it comes down to is the difficulty of putting here. Last year, the field swallowed a three-putt on 6.9 percent of the holes, MORE THAN DOUBLE THE PGA TOUR AVERAGE. Gavin Green led the way with a whopping 12 three-jacks while four others were right behind him with 10+ 3-putts on the week.

The wind blew at 17 MPH+ for three of the four rounds last year so what we need to decide is whether the difficulty putting was due to the weather or whether these greens are really that tough to navigate.

I would lean toward weather but it’s probably a bit of both. Justin Thomas called for a winning score of 8-to-12 under if there was wind last year (it turned out to be -9 winning score) but said it could reach 16-to-20 under in calmer conditions. At the same time, K.J. Choi was correct when he declared that play around the green would be the deciding factor at Nine Bridges, saying the greens can be tricky to read because the natural surroundings can be deceptive (‘Halla break’ as the locals call it).

Last thing to look at is the scoring average by round last year. The opening round saw average winds and the field averaged 70.949 that day. It would have been the 14th-easiest course on TOUR last year, if the tournament ended after Thursday. The final three rounds were played in heavy winds and the field averaged 73+ for each of those rounds. Don’t be fooled by last year’s leaderboard. If the wind is calm or somewhat calm this year, we should see a BIRDIEFEST

For grass types, the players will be dealing with bentgrass this week.

Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes over at the Fantasy Golfanac, let’s try to break down the course to see how they will play…

 

Justin Thomas: “Yeah the greens have a lot of slope on them. The greens are very big as well, so the slope can play a big factor and a big role in how you are going to play the course. If you want to use some of the slopes to get close to the holes, or if you want use some to get into the spot where you want to putt from, but the hardest part is that you just have to play smart. You can’t be too aggressive and short sight yourself or have the putt above the hole. You want to try to leave it below the hole and have as many makeable putts with as little break as possible that you can out there.”

 

K.J. Choi: “I think, generally, the players will not feel much burden or pressure to really nail their tee shots. However, iron shots will be imperative – the players will feel the pressure to hit the right spots on the green. If I had to rate this course in terms of difficulty among other PGA courses, I would rate this course towards the more difficult end. Definitely, there are some holes, where the long hitters will have an advantage, but the play around the green will be the deciding factor. It can be tricky to read the greens because, the natural surroundings can be rather deceptive and be misleading.”

Jason Day:
 “When you have an elevation change of about 2000 feet from sea level, you probably have 0-to-5 yards in distance change and in how much further you will hit it. That’s one thing that we have to tackle this week. There’s a lot of elevation change from tee to green, or second shot into the green, with that you will have to be wary of as well.”

Marc Leishman: “I love playing in different places with different styles of golf. This is a fairly American style course, with all the run offs around the greens and with interesting lies around there. It takes your imagination. I enjoy that. It’s a nice course, the conditions are to my liking.”

Marc Leishman: “The course is very good. It’s different to a lot of other Korean courses I’ve played. It’s a lot more generous off the tee, a lot wider. Greens are very good, it’s important to get it on the right section of the green. It’s a beautiful golf course, I think it’s going to hold up really well for the tournament.”

 

Overview: Players talk about elevation and windy conditions. They talk about the generous fairways but big and tough, slopey greens. 

Correlated Courses

Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week: 

Muirfield Village GC
Augusta National
TPC Kuala Lumpur
Sheshan International
Plantation Course at Kapalua
Waialae CC

TPC KL and Sheshan are both in Asia, and both at the same time of year. The same can almost be said about Kapalua and Waialae since they are in the Pacific and played before the regular season kicks into overdrive. Even if they aren’t similar courses, you will often see some similarities just based on region and time of year.

Nine Bridges is in pristine condition and features easy-to-hit fairways, is a par 72, and has bentgrass greens, so that gives us the link to Augusta National. The same goes for Muirfield Village which has generous landing areas but gets trickier as you get closer to the hole. 

 


The Weather

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 65 degrees. Winds at 8 to 15 MPH.

Friday: Sunny with a high of 65 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH. 

Weekend: Mostly sunny with temps remaining in the mid-60s. 

It was a near-miracle to avoid all the forecasted rain last week in KL but the small window for tee times certainly helps move things along. 

This week it looks like a great week for golf. Mostly sunny with temps in the mid-60s and very little chance of precipitation. 

Winds look nowhere near as tough as last year so that should change how the course plays. DRASTICALLY. 

After a week in Malaysia the PGA TOUR will head to Jeju Island, South Korea, for leg two of the Asian Swing.

It’s THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. 

Even though we remain in Asia, it’s still about a six-hour flight from KL to Jeju.

Identical to last week, we have another limited field (78 golfers) and it’s also a no-cut event with all of the golfers guaranteed 72 holes of action. 

 

Editor’s Note: With over 15,000 reviews, DRAFT is the highest rated fantasy sports app. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here’s the link.

 


The Course

The course is The Club at Nine Bridges. This mountain course is located about 2,000 feet above sea level, similar to The Old White TPC which hosts The Greenbrier. Nine Bridges made its debut last year and proved to be quite the test for these golfers. It was the fourth-hardest course on TOUR last year. 

Diving deeper, I start to wonder if the course is really that tough or if the weather was that much of a nuisance last year.

First thing we can look at is the scorecard. It’s a par 72 to plays just under 7,200 yards. Slightly on the short side but not extremely short, by any means.

Next, we notice some generous fairways. Despite the windy conditions last year, the field still managed to find about 72 percent of fairways. The same could be said about the approach shots (not difficult) as roughly 70 percent of golfers found greens in regulation, again on the easy side.

Things aren’t quite adding up because, despite the easy-to-hit fairways and easy-to-hit greens, this course yielded a scoring average of 73.187 (+1.187 RTP). That ranked as the fourth-hardest course on TOUR last season.

What it comes down to is the difficulty of putting here. Last year, the field swallowed a three-putt on 6.9 percent of the holes, MORE THAN DOUBLE THE PGA TOUR AVERAGE. Gavin Green led the way with a whopping 12 three-jacks while four others were right behind him with 10+ 3-putts on the week.

The wind blew at 17 MPH+ for three of the four rounds last year so what we need to decide is whether the difficulty putting was due to the weather or whether these greens are really that tough to navigate.

I would lean toward weather but it’s probably a bit of both. Justin Thomas called for a winning score of 8-to-12 under if there was wind last year (it turned out to be -9 winning score) but said it could reach 16-to-20 under in calmer conditions. At the same time, K.J. Choi was correct when he declared that play around the green would be the deciding factor at Nine Bridges, saying the greens can be tricky to read because the natural surroundings can be deceptive (‘Halla break’ as the locals call it).

Last thing to look at is the scoring average by round last year. The opening round saw average winds and the field averaged 70.949 that day. It would have been the 14th-easiest course on TOUR last year, if the tournament ended after Thursday. The final three rounds were played in heavy winds and the field averaged 73+ for each of those rounds. Don’t be fooled by last year’s leaderboard. If the wind is calm or somewhat calm this year, we should see a BIRDIEFEST

For grass types, the players will be dealing with bentgrass this week.

Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes over at the Fantasy Golfanac, let’s try to break down the course to see how they will play…

 

Justin Thomas: “Yeah the greens have a lot of slope on them. The greens are very big as well, so the slope can play a big factor and a big role in how you are going to play the course. If you want to use some of the slopes to get close to the holes, or if you want use some to get into the spot where you want to putt from, but the hardest part is that you just have to play smart. You can’t be too aggressive and short sight yourself or have the putt above the hole. You want to try to leave it below the hole and have as many makeable putts with as little break as possible that you can out there.”

 

K.J. Choi: “I think, generally, the players will not feel much burden or pressure to really nail their tee shots. However, iron shots will be imperative – the players will feel the pressure to hit the right spots on the green. If I had to rate this course in terms of difficulty among other PGA courses, I would rate this course towards the more difficult end. Definitely, there are some holes, where the long hitters will have an advantage, but the play around the green will be the deciding factor. It can be tricky to read the greens because, the natural surroundings can be rather deceptive and be misleading.”

Jason Day:
 “When you have an elevation change of about 2000 feet from sea level, you probably have 0-to-5 yards in distance change and in how much further you will hit it. That’s one thing that we have to tackle this week. There’s a lot of elevation change from tee to green, or second shot into the green, with that you will have to be wary of as well.”

Marc Leishman: “I love playing in different places with different styles of golf. This is a fairly American style course, with all the run offs around the greens and with interesting lies around there. It takes your imagination. I enjoy that. It’s a nice course, the conditions are to my liking.”

Marc Leishman: “The course is very good. It’s different to a lot of other Korean courses I’ve played. It’s a lot more generous off the tee, a lot wider. Greens are very good, it’s important to get it on the right section of the green. It’s a beautiful golf course, I think it’s going to hold up really well for the tournament.”

 

Overview: Players talk about elevation and windy conditions. They talk about the generous fairways but big and tough, slopey greens. 

Correlated Courses

Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week: 

Muirfield Village GC
Augusta National
TPC Kuala Lumpur
Sheshan International
Plantation Course at Kapalua
Waialae CC

TPC KL and Sheshan are both in Asia, and both at the same time of year. The same can almost be said about Kapalua and Waialae since they are in the Pacific and played before the regular season kicks into overdrive. Even if they aren’t similar courses, you will often see some similarities just based on region and time of year.

Nine Bridges is in pristine condition and features easy-to-hit fairways, is a par 72, and has bentgrass greens, so that gives us the link to Augusta National. The same goes for Muirfield Village which has generous landing areas but gets trickier as you get closer to the hole. 

 


The Weather

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 65 degrees. Winds at 8 to 15 MPH.

Friday: Sunny with a high of 65 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH. 

Weekend: Mostly sunny with temps remaining in the mid-60s. 

It was a near-miracle to avoid all the forecasted rain last week in KL but the small window for tee times certainly helps move things along. 

This week it looks like a great week for golf. Mostly sunny with temps in the mid-60s and very little chance of precipitation. 

Winds look nowhere near as tough as last year so that should change how the course plays. DRASTICALLY. 

~

Golfers to Watch

Justin Thomas
Won here in a playoff last year over Marc Leishman. Arrives off a top 5 at the CIMB last week where he looked less-than-stellar but still managed to keep his name near the top. Easily considered the man to beat or at the very least one of the top 3. 

Hideki Matsuyama
Skipped last week with an apparent injury. How severe? We’re not sure. Was it only an “injury” once he saw the weather forecast for the week in KL? Again, not sure. However, Matsuyama played his way back into form at the end of the season with five straight top 15s. If he’s healthy, I like his chances to hoist the trophy this week. The Japanese star is scheduled for a Wednesday interview at 3:00 pm local time. Hopefully, we will get some clarity at that time, whether this injury is anything to worry about. 

Brooks Koepka
Has the chance to become World No. 1 this week (as does Justin Thomas). BK didn’t make the trip to Jeju Island last year so he may be a little behind the curve when it comes to course knowledge. I don’t think that’s a big deal, considering the conditions Mother Nature threw at them last year. 

Sungjae Im
The 20-year-old rookie cracks this field as one of the top-3 Koreans in the OWGR. He would have surely received a sponsor’s invite if he didn’t get in on merit, consider this is his listed home course that he grew up playing. According to his Media Guide profile, he also just goes by SJ which is good to know. Opened his rookie campaign with a T4 at the Safeway Open and should be able to his use local knowledge to post another strong finish here on Jeju Island. 

Sung Kang
Also a native of Jeju but Kang didn’t call this his home course growing up. Finished T54 here last year after a T3 at last year’s CIMB. This time around he arrives with six straight finishes outside the top 50. Should be considered a long shot but this would be a good spot for him to find his game. 

Joaquin Niemann
Was ready to bucket him under “Jon Rahm status” after he opened his pro career with five top 20s (four of them top 10s) over his first eight starts. He’s slowed his pace since with five straight finishes outside the top 20. Still an elite talent and plenty useful in DFS lineups when you consider his scoring profile. He was first off the board when it came to ranking my top 25.  

C.T. Pan
Playing with his brother on the bag last week, was T3 after the opening round. He’s now been T20 or better after R1 in four of his last five starts. That all kicked off at the Wyndham which is where he had his wife caddy for him. Not sure who will be caddying for him this week but it seems like the carousel is working wonders for his game right now. He also ranks just outside my top 25 but I’ll certainly have some ownership across DFS lineups.


Ranking the Field

Head over to Dave Tindall’s
Valderrama Masters Preview. Check back on Tuesday afternoon for our Expert Picks and Wednesday for the DFS Dish. 

continue story »

Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter
@futureoffantasy.

Email :
Josh Culp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *